Foundation is the first novel in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy (later expanded into The Foundation Series). Foundation is a collection of five short stories, which were first published together as a book by Gnome Press in 1951 which, together, form a single plot. Foundation saw multiple publications—it also appeared in 1955 as part of Ace Double D-110 under the title "The 1,000-Year Plan". Four of the stories were originally published inAstounding Magazine (with different titles) between 1942 and 1944, and the fifth was added when they first appeared in book form. A further two books of short stories were published shortly after, and decades later, Asimov wrote two further sequel novels and two prequels. Later writers have added authorized tales to the series. The Foundation Series is often regarded as one of Isaac Asimov's best works, along with his Robot series.
Foundation tells the story of a group of scientists who seek to preserve knowledge as the civilizations around them begin to regress. The Psychohistorians
(0 F.E.) (First published as the book edition in 1951)
Set in the year 0 F.E., The Psychohistorians opens on Trantor, the capital of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire. Though the empire appears stable and powerful, it is slowly decaying in ways that parallel the decline of the Western Roman Empire. Hari Seldon, a mathematician and psychologist, has developed psychohistory, a new field of science and psychology that equates all possibilities in large societies to mathematics, allowing for the prediction of future events. Using psychohistory, Seldon has discovered the declining nature of the Empire, angering the aristocratic members of the Committee of Public Safety, the de facto rulers of the Empire. The Committee considers Seldon's views and statements treasonous, and he is arrested along with young mathematician Gaal Dornick, who has arrived on Trantor to meet Seldon. Seldon is tried by the Committee and defends his beliefs, explaining his theories and predictions, including his belief that the Empire will collapse in 500 years and enter a 30,000-year dark age, to the Committee's members. He informs the Committee that an alternative to this future is attainable, and explains to them that creating a compendium of all human knowledge, the Encyclopedia Galactica, would not avert the inevitable fall of the Empire but would reduce the dark age to one millennium. The skeptical Committee, not wanting to make Seldon a martyr, offers him exile to a remote world, Terminus, with others who could help him create the Encyclopedia. He accepts their offer, prepares for the departure of the "Encyclopedists" and receives an imperial decree officially acknowledging his actions. The Encyclopedists
(50 F.E.) (published May 1942 as "Foundation")
Set in 50 F.E., The Encyclopedists begins on Terminus, which has no mineral resources but one region suitable for the development of large city, named Terminus City. The colony of professionals, devoted to the creation of the Encyclopedia, is managed by the Board of Trustees of the Encyclopedia Galactica Foundation, composed solely of scientists. The affairs of Terminus City itself are handled by the city's mayor, Salvor Hardin, who is virtually powerless due to the influence of the Board of Trustees. However, Hardin does not accept the status quo, which he believes puts Terminus in danger of political exploitation by the neighboring prefects of the Empire, which have declared independence and severed contact with Trantor. Hardin, recognizing the imminent downfall of imperial power due to the loss of the Empire's outermost region, decides that the only way to ensure Terminus's continued survival is to pit the four neighboring "kingdoms" against one another. Hardin manages to avoid an attempt by the Kingdom of Anacreon to establish military bases on Terminus and to take advantage of nuclear power, which Terminus retains but which the Four...