Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov

This is my first book from the Foundation series by the prolific Asimov. I’m reading the entire collection chronologically in terms of future history and not of publication date which a lot of Asimov fanboys might frown upon (whatevs). I know I’m missing the excitement by not reading the entire trilogy first but I think I already missed it by default for being born decades after the publication date of Foundation (1951).

Reading this book first also means I’ve skipped the entire Robot series (gasp) apart from the short stories collection, I, Robot, which served as my introduction to this world. I don’t think this hampered my reading though as I was still thrilled when the Three Laws of Robotics were mentioned and I still very much enjoyed not knowing anything about Trantor and of the Galaxy and its history prior to Prelude.

I’m not a very good critic of books apart from saying this one’s awesome and that one’s not, but I’d like to sincerely share how impressive Asimov’s world-building skillz are. Mycogen and Dahl are very memorable sectors and would probably translate well into film. The fight scenes in Prelude, though sparse, were also entertaining (knife fights!) and it’s always a delight to be pleasantly surprised with twists and unexpected revelations. All in all, this one’s a great introduction to a massive series and I can’t wait to read more.

Below are some of my favorite texts which I highlighted off my Kindle copy and not from the actual book. I don’t do that. 😛

Notes and Highlights:

“I would love to, Hummin, but the desire to do so doesn’t automatically manufacture the ability to do so.” – Hari Seldon

“Can’t you try? However useless the effort may seem to you to be, have you anything better to do with your life? Have you some worthier goal? Have you a purpose that will justify you in your own eyes to some greater extent?” – Chetter Hummin

“How harmful overspecialization is. It cuts knowledge at a million points and leaves it bleeding.” – Dors Venabili

“Anything you make forbidden gains sexual attractiveness. Would you be particularly interested in women’s breasts if you lived in a society in which they were displayed at all times?” – Dors Venabili

Why, he wondered, did so many people spend their lives not trying to find answers to questions – not even thinking of questions to begin with? Was there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers?”

The recording said, “This is a view, recently constructed, of the establishment of the famous Wendome estate of the third century. The robot you see near the center was, according to tradition, named Bendar and served twenty-two years, according to the ancient records, before being replaced. – Ugh sorry. But a robot named Bendar? I CANNOT HELP MYSELF.

Amaryl said, “Saying something is ‘too bad’ is easy. You say you disapprove, which makes you a nice person, and then you can go about your own business and not be interested anymore. It’s a lot worse than ‘too bad’. It’s against everything decent and natural. We’re all of us the same, yellow-hairs and black-hairs, tall and short, Easterners, Westerners, Southerners, and Outworlders. We’re all of us, you and I and even the Emperor, descended from the people of Earth, aren’t we?” – Yugo Amaryl

“If we are always to draw back from change with the thought that the change may be for the worse, then there is no hope at all of ever escaping injustice.” – Davan

“Emotions, my dear Seldon, are a powerful engine of human action, far more powerful than human beings themselves realize, and you cannot know how much can be done with the merest touch and how reluctant I am to do it.” – Chetter Hummin

Favorite cover:

This one’s simple and beautiful. I own the book with a more classic-looking cover which is still cool but Trantor looks glorious in that one above.