For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire had ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future--a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that would last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge... read more
The first story is set on Trantor, the capital planet of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire. Whilst the empire gives the appearance of stability, beneath this facade it is suffering a slow decay. The main character, Hari Seldon, a mathematician, has developed... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The first story is set on Trantor, the capital planet of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire. Whilst the empire gives the appearance of stability, beneath this facade it is suffering a slow decay. The main character, Hari Seldon, a mathematician, has developed psychohistory(a statistical technique) which equates all possibilities in large societies to mathematics, allowing predictable long term outcomes.
Seldon discovers a horrifying truth to the Empire's decay, but his results are considered treasonable and attract attention from the Commission of Public Safety — the effective rulers of the Empire. This leads to his arrest. A young mathematician Gaal Dornick, who has just arrived on Trantor, is also arrested. On trial, Hari shares the discoveries made through psychohistory, such as the collapse of the Empire within 500 years, followed by a 30,000-year period of barbarism.
Hari proposes an alternative to this future; one that would not avert the collapse but shorten the interregnum period to a mere 1000 years. But this plan would require a large group of people to develop a compendium of all human knowledge, titled the Encyclopedia Galactica.
A still skeptical commission, worried of making Seldon a martyr, offer him the choice of execution for treason or acceptance of exile with his group of 'Encyclopedists' to a remote planet Terminus. There, they will carry out the Plan under an imperial decree, while Hari would remain, barred from returning to Trantor.
The second story; "The Encyclopedists", takes place 50 years after the events of "The Psychohistorians". Terminus faces the first of many "Seldon Crises". With no mineral wealth of their own, the people of the Foundation become cut off from the rest of the Empire, as a result of the breakdown of law and order in the outer regions of the Galaxy and their neighboring planets' declaration of independence.
Terminus is caught in a feud between four planetary systems which have degenerated to a barbaric state and find Terminus's location a strategic advantage. The Board of Trustees of the 'Encyclopedia Galactica Foundation', composed of scientists with no political or military training, find themselves incompetent to handle the situation as they are distracted by their work on the Encyclopedia. But the Mayor of Terminus City Salvor Hardin perceives the threat and quickly finds a solution; to play the four kingdoms off each other.
Hardin's plan is a success and then the image of Seldon appears in the "Time Vault", where he acknowledges that the "Seldon Crisis" was averted. Seldon makes it clear that the choice made was the intended one and that the Encyclopedia was just a distraction to further the overall plan.
Hardin uses this revelation to engineer a bloodless coup, taking power from the Board of Trustees and placing it in his own hands.
The third story; "The Mayors", occurs three decades after "The Encyclopedists", The Foundation's scientific understanding has given it unusual leverage over nearby planetary systems, and its control is exercised through an artificial religion referred to as Scientism. This concept allows the Foundation to share the benefits of its advanced technology, while keeping its scientific secrets. Maintenance technicians known as priests are trained on Terminus and given basic operational understanding of the technology, while being kept ignorant of the underlying scientific knowledge. Thus, the Foundation is able to quell the anti-scientific rebellions and delocalisation of knowledge which have reduced the rest of the galactic periphery to barbarism.
Mayor Salvor Hardin, as Mayor of Terminus, is the effective ruler of the Foundation. Prince Regent Wienis of Anacreon plans to overthrow the Foundation's power, and his plans are encouraged when he obtains an abandoned Imperial cruiser that he demands the Foundation repair.
Hardin foresees Wienis's plans and arranges for the ship to be repaired his own way, incorporating some modifications. Hardin then broadcasts Wienis's attempt to the people of Anacreon under the ruse of blasphemy, leading to a revolt which results in direct control over the Four Kingdoms.
Hari Seldon again confirms the actions by appearing in the "Time Vault", while also warning them that Scientism, while adequate to defend the Foundation from the immediate threat, will not be sufficient to expand its influence beyond its barbarous near-neighbors.
The fourth story; "The Traders" follows 55 years after "The Mayors". The story describes the events of Limmar Ponyets, a Trader, who is sent to retrieve Eskel Gorov from the planet Askone. Askone has refused commerce with the Foundation in fear of control through Scientism. Eskel Gorov is awaiting execution for violation of a trade law by attempting to set up trade with Foundation technology.
The leaders of Askone are adamant in not accepting any Foundation technology, but when offered gold in exchange for the prisoner, they gladly accept. During Ponyets' presentation of the offered gold, he convinces Pherl—an aspiring leader in Askone's government—to accept technology that can transmute iron into gold. Unknown to Pherl, his transaction with Foundation technology was recorded and later used as blackmail, allowing Ponyet to exchange his cargo of Foundation technology for tin, a resource needed by the Foundation.
Pherl is now forced into accepting Foundation technology, and so will strive to make it acceptable among Askone's people.
The fifth story; "The Merchant Princes" occurs only twenty years after "The Traders".
The Foundation has expanded through the use of Scientism and economics. Three Foundation vessels have vanished near the Republic of Korell, a nation suspected of technological development. Trader Hober Mallow is sent to uncover information on their technology and hopefully find the missing ships. While at Korell, Mallow convinces Korell's leader Commdor Asper Argo to purchase Foundation technology. Mallow also discovers that Korell still maintains some relics of the Empire such as atomic hand guns. But he also notes the Republic's decrepit condition and lack of modern technology.
On return to Terminus, he is considered a traitor for not spreading Scientism to Korell, although an unlikely development clears Mallow allowing him to win an election for Mayor.
When Korell goes to war against The Foundation, Mallow does not act against the Korellians and waits until dissent from the shortage of goods supplied by the Foundation allows the Foundation to virtually win.
“La verdad cientifica esta mas alla de toda lealtad y deslealtad (38)”Dr. Seldon
“La suma del saber humano esta por encima de cualquier hombre; de cualquier numero de hombres (43)”Dr. Seldon
“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”Salvor Hardin
“Your taste in epigrams is amusing, but out of place.”
“I don't deny that it was anything but a stupid idea from the standpoint of deductive logic alone.”
“Lord Dorwin thought the way to be a good archaeologist was to read all the books on the subject - written by men who were dead for centuries. He thought that the way to solve archaeological puzzles was to weigh the opposing authorities. And Pirenne listened and made no objections. Don't you see that there's something wrong with that?”
“It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.”
“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”Salvor Hardin
“To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well.”Salvor Hardin
“A nuclear blaster is a good weapon, but it can point both ways.”Salvor Hardin
“-You're what they call a man of peace, aren't you?-I suppose I am. At least, I consider violence an uneconomical way of attaining an end.”Wienis, Hardin
“Violence,” came the retort, “is the last refuge of the incompetent.Highlighted by 459 Kindle customers
“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right!”Highlighted by 426 Kindle customers
“It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.”Highlighted by 399 Kindle customers
‘To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well.’Highlighted by 369 Kindle customers
The fall of Empire, gentlemen, is a massive thing, however, and not easily fought. It is dictated by a rising bureaucracy, a receding initiative, a freezing of caste, a damming of curiosity—a hundred other factors. It has been going on, as I have said, for centuries, and it is too majestic and massive a movement to stop.Highlighted by 244 Kindle customers
It was childish to feel disappointed, but childishness comes almost as naturally to a man as to a child,Highlighted by 211 Kindle customers
“Now any dogma, primarily based on faith and emotionalism, is a dangerous weapon to use on others, since it is almost impossible to guarantee that the weapon will never be turned on the user.Highlighted by 205 Kindle customers
There’s no merit in discipline under ideal circumstances. I’ll have it in the face of death, or it’s useless.Highlighted by 202 Kindle customers
It is the most potent device known with which to control men and worlds.Highlighted by 165 Kindle customers
“The whole war is a battle between those two systems; between the Empire and the Foundation; between the big and the little. To seize control of a world, they bribe with immense ships that can make war, but lack all economic significance. We, on the other hand, bribe with little things, useless in war, but vital to prosperity and profits.Highlighted by 123 Kindle customers
Followed by Foundation and Empire.
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