Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Being perfectly thrilled by the re-imagining of the Foundation series on TV, being one that flatters and holds the spirit of the original stories, I was utterly compelled to re-read the entire series, including the Second Foundation trilogy by other authors, in chronological order.
This was, fortunately, an easy decision. I loved the series when I first read them, years ago. Indeed, the original trilogy of Foundation was one of the cornerstones of my love of SF. So jumping in like this just required that one tiny push.
First of all, I should mention that Prelude to Foundation is an easygoing adventure-type novel that is utter candy. It gives us the earliest foundation of Hari Seldon's Psychohistory.
Is it truly important to read in order to enjoy the original trilogy? Nope. Does it help fill in tons of gaps and expand a grand story in a useful and entertaining prequel? Yes. And it also serves as a pretty awesome bridge to Asimov's other novels, from the Robot stories, including the Robot Novels, Empire novels, and various short stories. It is a lynchpin for anyone interested in enjoying the broad, broad future history.
But is it necessary? No. After all, it was the sixth book written in the Foundation universe. If you know the secrets of the Foundation, this will merely broaden your enjoyment. If you have never read the original classics, I don't know if this would be the truly proper place to begin them.
But what do I know? Chronological DOES have its place in the universe. Just check the math.
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