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Publisher's Summary

The first novel in Isaac Asimov’s classic science-fiction masterpiece, the Foundation series

SOON TO BE AN APPLE TV+ SERIES, COMING 9/24/21 • Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

For 12,000 years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future - to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save humankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire - both scientists and scholars - and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation. 

The Foundation novels of Isaac Asimov are among the most influential in the history of science fiction, celebrated for their unique blend of breathtaking action, daring ideas, and extensive worldbuilding. In Foundation, Asimov has written a timely and timeless novel of the best - and worst - that lies in humanity, and the power of even a few courageous souls to shine a light in a universe of darkness.

Please note: The text of this book includes some passages that begin or end in mid-sentence. This is intentional by the author. 

©1982 Isaac Asimov (P)2010 Random House

What listeners say about Foundation (Apple Series Tie-in Edition)

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Timeless politics

As much or more of a political commentary than science fiction. Timeless, though. So many of the ‘classics’ from this era have cringeworthy passages, melodrama, and a writing style that takes serious getting used to. Not with Foundation, which has remained relevant, clever, and carries social messages that are decades ahead of its time. A good read for those who value intellect over ignorance, and nuance over force.

5 people found this helpful

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Interesting Concept, No Depth

This was highly recommended by at least one friend, so I may be the odd one to dislike this. But I saw no real character development at all. The book is 99% dialogue, and it's between 2 or 3 characters, and all the interactions feel the same, across each set of new characters.
There main plot was one of a grand impending doom, but I never once felt any tension. Even the characters didn't have a sense of tension or doom.
Overall, I just didn't care about anything in the book.
Narration was decent. Clear and Easy to understand, and the occasional change in voice to convey a different character is speaking, but I've heard better. But that could just be that the book didn't provide any emotion to go on.

4 people found this helpful

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Header is optional, right?

The story surprisingly relevant even in 2020, but smoking on space ships, really? What a weird times we used to live in :)
Sometimes Mr Brick is too dramatic, and skips in epigraph sections are way too abrupt. Some narrated punctuation would be nicer there.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great voice for one classic an amazing scifi story

I've read it many times, and now I can listen to it. what a great novel.

2 people found this helpful

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Foundation ... A Book of it’s Time

I will say that these books are classics. Asimov crafted a story where civilization is more the protagonist than any of the moving human parts that drive the story along. As a modern reader (re-reader really as I read these 30 years ago when I was a teen), it’s uncomfortable to read a book with women reduced to mere mentions of domesticity. One minor female character in the entire book, occupying a couple paragraphs and is not even named, just referenced by her association to her husband. But a book written in 1951, even a work of futuristic fiction, can be mired in the politics and moral restrictions.

1 person found this helpful

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Classic Sci Fi, but super annoying narration

I gave Scott Brick 2 stars because there are narrators worse than him. But I could barely finish the book, even though I love the story.

He’s just a bit over the top all the time, and it’s like the effect is cumulative. At the beginning, I hardly noticed it. But, by the end, every over-inflection grated on me. That’s 3 to 5 grates per sentence. To me, his narration comes across as condescending and pretentious.

I’m listening to the last few minutes right now, and his narration just inspired an audible “ugh” from me. I know some ppl love Brick’s performances but I’m definitely NOT one of them.

I’m not sure if I can keep listening to this series, even though I love Asimov.

1 person found this helpful

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worth the listen

Narrator was really great. the story was engaging and interesting. the difference in narrative from the TV series actually feels more realistic.

Sad that Empire wasn't a genetic dynasty. I bought the book hoping for a more nuanced and detailed touch on that character set.

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A Struggle

Struggled through it all. Question whether there was something written before this that would help.

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Brilliance, humour and creative philosophy

I bought this because I wanted to read it before I watched the new TV series and I have to say, having read only the first book and watched the first episode, the book towers over its visual counterpart. The language is beautiful and precise, the scope of the story statuesque and the characters are sharp witted, calm and complex. It reads more like a work of linked short fiction, each section introducing a new time period and main character and although it is a little jarring to move through time that fast, I came to love all his characters. The only thing missing really was half of humanity. In the whole book, there is only one female character, a bit-player and nasty and scheming to boot. Not sure why Asimov was reluctant to include the feminine, but there it is. Now I have to read all the others!

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it's ok.

it's ok, very political. It held my interest but I think theres better stories out there.

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  • chip worden
  • 2021-09-24

Changed the version back

I don't want the TV show tie-in version! I want the version written by the the author!

82 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-09-08

not the edition I ordered

what a shady way to advertise Apple+
in place of one I previously paid for, i found this edition swapped into my library after-the-fact

69 people found this helpful

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  • Phil
  • 2020-08-08

Don’t bother unless you’re a sci-fi history buff

This was my first Isaac Asimov. It seemed to be one of his most acclaimed works which is why I wanted to hear it. Listened at 1.6x speed.

I guess that it’s generally true most sci-fi ages badly and this is a good example. Set 12000 years in the future where civilization has spread throughout the galaxy yet they are writing a book on paper and the kind of money most people care about is gold coins.

They’re supposed to be writing an encyclopedia about the entire history of mankind but they’ve forgotten the human race started on earth. They have atomic power plants that explode like atomic bombs, atomic spaceships, atomic shields and atomic ray guns. Technology has not advanced much since the 1950s.

The plot about a collapsing empire is nothing extraordinary nor even interesting in 2020, given current world events. Time in the book passes so fast that new characters appear and then die of old age a couple of chapters later. You don’t even have a chance to get emotionally attached to them.

Maybe this was the first of its kind when it first came out, but unless you have some special appreciation for this fact, there’s nothing for you in this book if you’ve read any modern sci-fi.

59 people found this helpful

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  • Jeffrey Ochoa
  • 2018-11-05

Couldn't get through the narration.

Could not stand the narrator. Unfortunate - I've heard good things about this book, but I couldn't get through it.

53 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kristopher
  • 2020-01-28

Audio Skips Mid-Sentence

Like a couple others reviews, I noticed two distinct mid-sentence skips in the first two minutes of the book. I was really looking forward to this series but guess I'll have to find it elsewhere since Audible only has this one version available and I'm not OK with all the skipping.

38 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J. Scotty Parker
  • 2011-11-29

An old friend revisited

I first read Asimov's original Foundation Triology Back in the early 60's. Later, as he added volumes to the Foundation series, I would grab up every Foundation book as they came out, ending with Foundation and Earth in 1986. I have always recommended Asimov to friends and acquaintances as a "classic" to be be read by all Sci-Fi fans.
A few months ago, I noticed "Prelude to Foundation" when browsing through Audible to find my next "listen." I also decided to download the rest of the series so I could go through it all again in sequential order.
Quite obviously, I had no doubt about Asimov as I've have been a reader of his for over 50 years now. I was quite impressed with the reader and also very impressed that he seems to be the reader for all books in the series so we gain the continuity of the presentation.
I just cannot recommend the Foundation stories highly enough. Again, a classic and so very well performed by Scott Brick.
One word of caution to readers/listeners to Asimove's style. There are times it seems, in all his writing that he begins to edge into a tangent of over description whether it be a personality, an event, or just a segment of the story. DO NOT let this cause dismay and do not allow yourself to drift, waiting for the dialog to pick up. It is all so important to end up with a genuine undersstanding of the story. All will come true to your expectations.
I know this review is on the first book written (Foundation) but I cannot help but speak of the entire works. Asimov is timeless. The reader, superb. Do yourself a favor and commit to the entire works of Foundation. When you're done, you'll want to pursue the Robot books as well as the Empire books. Asimove wrote much and in the end you'll wish he wrote more.

89 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 2011-07-11

In spite of its flaws, I couldn't put it down.

This is a work of creative genius. The plot is intricate and compelling, breath-taking in its scope, and wildy imaginative. The characters aren't terribly well-developed, and the dialogue is sometimes cheesy, but that almost doesn't matter because my focus was drawn, again and again, to the "big picture". As soon as I think I've lost interest, Asimov drops a bombshell plot twist, and I'm back. Fantastic.

56 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sandy McMahon
  • 2010-08-17

The Foundation Trilogy is a True Classic

Asimov is superb, particularly when one considers that he started writing this series in the early 1950s. As a result it reads and sounds like the period. For all that, this is a great classic and Scott Brick is an excellent reader. The story and cast of characters is much more complex than the average novel. I found that a 2nd listen not only made everything clearer, but was even more enjoyable than the first.

A few reviewers comment on dropped sentences. It helps to have access to the printed version. Chapters are frequently introduced with excerpts of the fictitious Encyclopedia Galactica, and these excerpts are - in both the print and Audible version - often dropped mid-sentence. This is Asimov.

Highly recommended for any SciFi fan.

151 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jerry D. Miller
  • 2013-03-17

Not unabridged

What did you love best about Foundation?

It is a story that has many elements we could learn from today.

What did you like best about this story?

The Characters

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Scott Brick?

no comment

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no

Any additional comments?

the background music was distracting, the narrative was ABRIDGED as I have read the book itself many times and a lot was left out of the narrative.

53 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Roger Lee
  • 2013-04-07

An unabridged classic but "Psychologist?!!"

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I enjoyed listening to this. It was one of the first major works of SciFi that I ever read.

Any additional comments?

Why on earth did the word "psychohistory" (and all derivatives thereof) become "psychology?" Where in the book they talk about psychohistorians, they talk about psychologists in the audiobook. What happened? Did the word get globally replaced by a spellchecker in the final copy of the script?

289 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Arienrhod
  • 2021-08-29

What is built upon this Foundation ?

While centuries go by, people’s mentality and cultural references stand still, except for an overly simple increase in religious feeling. Only technology develops, and The Market solves everything… hum…
Beats Tolkien in female representation !

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  • Marc Vignal
  • 2021-03-16

My first Asimov

... but certainly not my last. The story is compelling, the writing is clear and engaging, but given the phenomenal leaps in time to describe the rise and fall of humanity over 30000 years, it is tough to start to fall in love with the characters only to leapfrog thousands of years into the future and start the process again... am certain there are worlds of stories in there to enjoy.

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  • Marcos Lima
  • 2019-07-11

Good narrator, but too even in dialogues

I wish Scott Brick would use his dramatic talent to differentiate characters during dialogues to make clearer when there is a transition.

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  • Antonio Esteve
  • 2019-01-02

Very good performance and excellent book

The book is a very good one, the only thing that could improve the performance is to find a way to make more obvious the character that is currently speaking in a conversation, I would sometimes(1-2 times during the entire book) get confused and misunderstand the plot. Thanks Scott Brick.

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2018-04-27

Very simple unimpressive story

Maybe I'm too picky but this was a rather dull book. I still finished it easily because it kept me interested but I was disappointed at the end because I did not really felt like getting somewhere.

I was expecting to be amazed by this classic. I think the hype is due to the popularity at the time it was published but not for it's value today.

Not bad but not good either.