I needed to keep reminding myself that Isaac Asimov wrote the first three “Foundation” books in the 60s. Whenever they said “computer,” it meant a person, not a device. It helped that a large basis for the story was the uses of nuclear power for everyday technology. Yeah, that sounds like an idea spawned from the Cold War.
As interesting as the technological advances are, the main pull through the story is not the understanding of technology, but the understanding of societies and worlds of people. The premises: using a high form of sociology, one man has predicted the fate of humanity throughout the galaxy for the next 1,000 years. He foresees calamity and creates the Foundation to help humanity survive the decline of society. With a timeline of 3 generations, the first book of “the Foundation Series” doesn’t focus on characters/plot/setting, but instead on the growth of thought (if that makes any sense). It doesn’t have one big climax at the end, but a climax for each generation, as they face issues of society and fight to out-think their problems by analyzing their opponents and thinking ahead. It’s like a 300 year game of chess involving technology, religion, and trade. There are some key characters, but they’re mostly set apart from the others by the way they think.
Not even Mr. Asimov is sure how, but it was voted “Best Series Ever,” back in 1966. It’s not one of my personal favorites, but it definitely makes you think about society, its different problems and solutions, and the path to corruption. I’ll give it ****4 stars****