Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Future society molded with with psychohistory.

The first book in Asimov's seven book Foundation series (with two preludes). The main character 'Sheldon' places two distinct groups to separately preserve science and civilization, and places them at two separate corners of the galaxy. Will their predicted behavior, which is meant to thwart an extended dark age, somehow make them unpredictable?

The future is bright, and there are numerous concepts and technologies that are real in that future, such as time travel and interstellar space travel. People and enthusiasts of space travel believe that in the future, the world will be more advanced in technologies, artificial intelligence will be in play, and automation will be all pervasive.

However, in the midst of this bright outlook, darkness seems to have arisen and it traverses into the future. And people have no idea about it. In the process, Sheldon, who can be thought of as a genius extraordinaire, develops the field of psychohistory, which he uses to determine and predict social evolution, mathematically. He hatches a plan that will protect humanity from dark ages that he had initially predicted to last 30,000 years and reduce it to a mere thousand years. The book takes the reader on a ride as the people of the future successfully navigate through the challenges that had been initially predicted, the outcome of which could be the collapse and death of civilization.

In the book, based on the fact that it is from the future, Asimov tries to bring into perspective all the modern technologies and some which are seemingly beyond believable, such as the use of force fields. In his book, the downside of the future is that even with the increasing advancement and use of technology, the knowledge of how and why is slowly diminishing. Why is this happening? Could it be because of a series of crisis unfolding, and for each of these crises, a new generation of intellects is crucial, to come up with a solution.

Foundation is a great first book in a series of seven (which includes two preludes) that pushes people to think hard about the way we perceive our universe and challenge our understanding of it.

Other Books in this series