group read led by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings is going on right now and it's probably not too late to join in if you're interested. This is a short, interesting, and easy book to read. What more could you ask for in January? (Especially if you've over-committed on readalongs this month as I have.)
Here are the questions posed for the first half of the book:
For the purpose of satisfying curiosity, is this your first time reading Foundation or have you read it before?
This is my first time reading. I've checked it out from the library before without getting to it.
For those reading Foundation for the first time, what expectations did you have going in and has it met them or surprised you in any way?
I came into this with a pretty blank state. I know that Asimov is a renowned sci-fi writer, so I do have high expectations because of that.
What are your thoughts about the structure of the novel thus far? (I am referring to the brief glimpses of different parts of the history of the Foundation with big time gaps between events in the novel)
For those who have read Dune, I'm just finding it refreshing that the excerpts from the Encyclopedia Galactica are much less ambiguous than Princess Irulan's work that begins each chapter. I'm usually not a fan of books that cover huge spans of time--I prefer works where the author delves really deep into a shorter time period--but it's not bothering me in a major way. I don't really feel like I know any of the characters, but then I don't think that's the purpose of the book, thus far anyway. I feel like we're getting to know mankind as a whole in a broad sociological sense.
What are your initial thoughts on the field of psychohistory?
I find it interesting as a form of prophecy based on mathematical science, inevitably coupled with questions that the people will have: What if he was wrong or made a mistake in his calculations? Did he have any hidden agenda in sharing this information? Even if it is true, what do we care what happens to the empire after we're dead?
What, if anything, is holding your interest thus far, what are you enjoying about Foundation?
The story is interesting, and the ease of reading it is admittedly a bonus!
What, if anything, are you not enjoying about Foundation?
I had a hard time with the guy who didn't pronounce his "r"s. It's not Asimov's fault that I'm reading this post Princess Bride, but I couldn't keep myself from hearing the priest who performs the "mahwage" and talks about "twu wuv."
You may have covered this in answering the other questions, but if not, what are your thoughts/feelings about the Galactic Empire. Is it a practical thing to have a galaxy spanning government? Can you imagine such a thing and do you think it would work?
I just think it would be impossible. It's mind-boggling to think of the size of the galaxy and how the government could keep tabs on everyone and prevent some sort of secession or rebellion. You just can't keep that many people happy. Which of course is what is slated to occur and we are seeing the beginning of that unraveling.
What are your thoughts on Hardin's creation of a religious system in which to house scientific ideas and technology while keeping the users of that science and technology in the dark?
I hate the idea of manipulating the people even though I see his purpose in doing so. I'm also kind of disappointed in the people for not seeing through it, or for not being capable of accepting the scientific ideas disguised as mysticism. There's got to be at least one freethinker among them! Also, the whole concept kind of twists our modern way of thinking--these days you more often see religion being explained in scientific ways, like the science of prayer, or trying to prove ways that the Red Sea could have been parted, etc. in order for religion to be more accepted. All very thought-provoking stuff. I can't wait to see where he goes with it.