Foundation series  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Foundation Series is a science fiction series by Isaac Asimov which covers a span of about 500 years. It consists of seven volumes that are closely linked to each other, although they can be read separately. The term "Foundation Series" is often used more generally to include the Robot Series and Empire Series, which are set in the same fictional universe, but in earlier time periods. In total, there are fifteen novels and dozens of short stories written by Asimov, and six novels written by other authors after his death, expanding the time spanned by more than twenty thousand years. The series is highly acclaimed, winning the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966.

The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology (analogous to mathematical physics) devised by Asimov and his editor John W. Campbell. Using the law of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone on a small scale. It works on the principle that the behaviour of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy, which has a population of quadrillions of humans, inhabiting millions of star systems). The larger the number, the more predictable is the future.

Using these techniques, Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting thirty thousand years before a second great empire arises. To shorten the period of barbarism, he creates two Foundations, small, secluded havens of all human knowledge, at "opposite ends of the galaxy".

The focus of the trilogy is on the First Foundation, that of the planet Terminus, in the extreme periphery of the galaxy. The people living there are working on an all-encompassing Encyclopedia, and are unaware of Seldon's real intentions (for if they were, the variables would become too uncontrolled). The Encyclopedia serves to preserve knowledge of the physical sciences after the collapse.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Foundation series" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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