November 30, 2021

From Gerald R. Lucas

Asimov’s Foundation covid-19: day 607 | US: GA | info | act

Whew! What a slog. What a sausagefest! I read Foundation back in high school, and I remember liking it, but I can’t see the 16-year-old me really liking this thing. In fact, I don’t remember much past “The Psychohistorians,” so maybe I never even finished it. Now, I can see why. It was a struggle to get through it this time. And I have read many difficult and slow novels. Really.

Almost everything about this novel—and I use that term with loosely—is dated. Other than the first section, it doesn’t even feel like science fiction, but maybe a dialog on political science or sociology. Yet, you know it’s important and weighty because the men involved decide everything in small room; they smoke cigars; they take (sniff? snort?) snuff; they talk. A lot. There are no women at all. (OK, there are two: one is a shrew that might have caused a war, and one is a simpleton who is awed by gewgaws.) Most of the dialog—and most of the “novel” is dialog—is ridiculous and only seems to be there for Asimov to expound his ideas on politics, religion, and the free market. He uses words like “nucleics”—yes those are technologies built on nuclear power—something that seems to be integral 10,000 years from now.

. . .