Foundation by Isaac Asimov
July 5, 2011, 7 pm
After ruling the galaxy for 12,000 years, the Galactic Empire is failing; and the galaxy is set to plunge into 30,000 years of Dark Ages. A brilliant scientist sets up the Foundation, a scientific community that uses a series of crises to subvert the Dark Ages. As the Foundation flourishes, other forces in the galaxy begin to take note and formulate plans to take over the resources of the Foundation. If they succeed, the Dark Ages will reign for millennia to come!
(courtesy of barnesandnoble.com,bookrags.com)
1. Foundation opens with the perspective of Gaal Dornick, “a country boy who had never seen Trantor before.” What is the effect of opening the novel with Gaal’s observations? Why did Hari Seldon extend such an invitation to Gaal?
2. In the trial portrayed in chapter 6, the Commission’s Advocate repeatedly rejects Hari’s deductions regarding the future. What has made Hari a target for exile? Why are his projections—supported by seemingly irrefutable logic and mathematics—so easily dismissed by his accusers?
3. Part 3 of Foundation begins with an entry from the Encyclopedia Galactica that reads, “Undoubtedly the most interesting aspect of the history of the four Kingdoms involves the strange society forced temporarily upon it during the administration of Salvor Hardin.” In what ways does Hardin distinguish himself from the other rulers described in the novel? What conditions fostered his rise to power?
4. The Foundation is intended in some ways as a kind of religious center. What are its doctrines? Can a religion of science fail?
5. Discuss the novel’s references to energy—in this case, nuclear power—in relation to political and economic supremacy. What other forces drive the novel’s hierarchies of dominance? How does the role of the Traders evolve in the novel’s closing chapters?
6. How do you think the Foundation sets itself up to cope with Seldon's crises?
7. Why does it matter that Mallow is not a native of the Foundation? Why does his rise mark a big turning point for the Foundation?
For more information on the life and writings of Isaac Asimov, please visit: www.asimovonline.com