Forward the Foundation

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Hari Seldon’s first public appearance on the imperial planet of Trantor almost cost him his life. Still, he survived the experience, and, as PRELUDE TO FOUNDATION related, he was able to secure the protection of the Emperor’s First Minister. Thus, Seldon was free to develop the necessary theorems in association with psychohistory—that discipline which allows the course of human events to be altered so as to produce predictable, beneficial consequences in the future.

Unfortunately, the development of psychohistory was difficult, and there were those who sought to destroy Seldon or pervert his creation to promote their own selfish ends. Still, Seldon was an exceptionally talented and lucky individual who could call upon the assistance of friends in the great task to which he dedicated his life.

The publication of the Foundation Trilogy between 1951 and 1953 brought about a revolution in the science fiction genre. In FOUNDATION, FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE and SECOND FOUNDATION, Asimov unified scientific speculation and human historical development so as to create literary opportunities previously unsuspected by traditional practitioners of science fiction. With the publication of SECOND FOUNDATION, however, Asimov abandoned the Foundation tale for some three decades until the publication of the concluding volume in the series, FOUNDATION AND EARTH. While providing the chronological end of the series, however, FOUNDATION AND EARTH left far too many questions unanswered in the minds of Foundation fans. In consequence, Asimov returned to the beginning of the beginning, thereby devoted himself to life and times of the man who started it all. PRELUDE TO FOUNDATION and FORWARD THE FOUNDATION represent what might be called “Foundation: the Hari Seldon Years.” The posthumously published FORWARD THE FOUNDATION is a worthy end to a lifetime of achievement.


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Nearly all the action takes place on the planet Trantor. This planet is near the center of the Milky Way galaxy; it is as close to the black...

(The entire section is 523 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

In the late 1940s, Asimov began a series of novellas about the Foundation, a far future project intended to save humanity from thirty...

(The entire section is 325 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Forward the Foundation is a finely textured work. It is composed of four novellas, but these novellas are unified by a main plot,...

(The entire section is 196 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Asimov's best fiction is full of ideas; he seems to have been devoted to writing because it gave him the opportunity to play with ideas, to...

(The entire section is 605 words.)

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. In Forward the Foundation, psychohistory is a branch of mathematics. According to Asimov, how much of the world can mathematics...

(The entire section is 282 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Critics such as Joseph F. Patrouch believe that Asimov supports the supremacy of reason over emotionalism in his fiction. Is this true of...

(The entire section is 274 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Asimov's Galactic Empire is based on the Roman Empire as described in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward...

(The entire section is 304 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The original Foundation novellas were published the 1940s. In the first ones, the creation of the Foundation on the planet Terminus is...

(The entire section is 213 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Asimov, Isaac. In Memory Yet Green: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1920-1954. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1979. Presents an...

(The entire section is 1789 words.)