Monday, August 07, 2006

Asimov's Foundation

Ok. I tried. I really did. The first book of the trilogy was interesting. The second, boring and increasing difficult to follow. I never reached the third.

There are a few problems with the books. Each chapter follows key characters. The following chapter skips hundreds of years, introducing new characters. To keep track of everything, you really need a map or outline. Asimov himself couldn't keep track of his story and let it wander. Inconsistencies aside, it is hard to read. If you are familar with the rise and fall of civilations (try Rome or Greece), then you can predict the outcomes. Each succeeding generation builds to the apex of civilation until it begins to decline.

Asimov is a good writer, especially when he can stay on track. I was also amazed at how well he described future tecnology - this book was written in the 1950's. He mis-named some of the futuristic gadgets as atomics. Just fill in laser pistol or shield for atomic gizmos. But still, the general function and description of the devices is interesting.

The book is out of print, but can still be found used.

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