Review: The Foundation (Steve P. Vincent)

The Foundation

Not to be confused with Asimov’s sci-fi classics, Steve P. Vincent’s The Foundation is a cloak-and-dagger story. In it, journalist protagonist Jack Emery battles the super-conspiracy known as the Foundation for A New America. The Foundation thus takes its place alongside the Patriots, Those Who Slither In The Dark, “Valhalla”, the Kataru, the Delphi, the X Syndicate, the Y Syndicate, the Socrates Club, the Council of Ten, the “Wise Men”, and even more super-conspiracies I’ve forgotten about.

(Look, I read a lot of cheap thrillers with super-conspiracies in them, all right?)

This is very much a 51% book through and through. There’s a super-conspiracy, there’s a conventional war between nuclear states in the background where no one seems particularly concerned with it going nuclear (did the zombie sorceresses come in?), and, slightly unusual for the genre, the main antagonist is a woman. Otherwise it’s just middling cloak and dagger fiction.

Review: Foundation

Foundation

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Now I can add Isaac Asimov to the list of famous authors reviewed on Fuldapocalypse, and what better book than his masterpiece, Foundation?

I’m somewhat leery of reviewing massively successful books by famous authors. A part of me has this guarded “it can’t possibly be as good as they say” feeling, and I like giving more obscure stories a platform. But I felt I had to.

The story of the decaying empire and genuis Hari Seldon’s plan is very Shakespearean. By which I mean it’s a well-done story that nonetheless has gotten retroactively treated as something a lot more highbrow than it was upon first release. This isn’t a mere spacesuit commando book, but it’s still much closer to Ken Bulmer than it is to Stephen Baxter.

And while this isn’t Asimov’s fault, a lot of this is dated. There’s the obvious, like treating “nuclear power” as some kind of super-technology. There’s the historical conceits, like taking Edward Gibbon’s view of ancient Rome too closely. Then there’s the central premise of a triumphant technocratic process, the sort of thing embodied most by… Robert McNamara.

Yet I don’t want to come across as too negative. This is very readable, and it’s been so influential for science fiction that seeing where a lot of the tropes became popularized is also fun. This is a “classic” I do recommend.