Foundation by Isaac Asimov
FoundationTrantor is the central planet of the Galactic Empire. Hari Seldon, mathematician and psychohistorian, says the Empire is dying. As all civilizations rise and fall, the Empire is on the decline. Of course that is blasphemous.
He proposes that a Foundation planet be founded to write a Galactic Encyclopedia for the Empire. His real intent is to start another civilization. He is hoping that he can cut 30,000 years of intergalactic chaos between great civilizations down to 1,000 years. He can prove mathematically that masses of people will react in a certain fashion. He wants to use that to help rebuild humanity without too much chaos and war in between its fallings and risings.
The powers that be agree to his Foundation planet. They position it at the far reaches of the Empire controlled galaxy so it can be ignored and Seldon’s prophecies forgotten. This is what Seldon hoped would happen. Now mankind can start again and hopefully cut down the time of chaos.
About 50 years after his death the outer planets have rebelled against the Empire. It is time for the scientists writing the new Encyclopedia to make some governmental decisions. Some of the local planetary systems are threatening their position. Can they get the help from the Empire they need? Or are they supposed to take a different direction?
This is a classic science fiction novel that studies humankind. Asimov (through Seldon) proposes that while individual actions cannot be predicted, group actions of great masses of people can be predicted. It gives us an enjoyable story as we watch the Foundation struggle to take root and grow. It proves man’s faith in himself (or herself). This is excellent. I appreciate it more each time I reread it. If you haven’t read it, you are in for a treat. If you have, you’ll be glad to read it again.