Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.
On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.
While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became a father. As such these stories became imprinted on my memory as the soundtrack to the happiest period in my life (so far).
Foundation’s Edge won the Locus Sci-Fi award in 1983, finishing ahead of The Golden Torc (sequel to the previous year’s winner), 2010 (the sequel to Arthur C Clarke’s classic 2001) and The Crystal Singer (the first in what, my wife and Mother assure me, is a fine Ann McCaffrey trilogy) to name just three.
I’ve read the Foundation series twice in my life, and Foundation’s Edge was one of the six winning books I had previously read before I began my Locus Quest.
The first time I read the Foundation series as an awe-struck pre-teen, I’d have instantly given the whole series a 5-star review: it was a story that became a foundation stone (excuse the pun) of my love for sci-fi.
Let's get this our the way: Asimov's Foundation series is required reading for anyone with more than a passing interest in science fiction. If you've not read it yet, put it on your list!
Returning to Asimov in my mid twenties I was expecting to be disappointed. Some issues are unavoidable – much of the characterisation is shallow and doesn’t develop far and there series as a whole tends to repeat plot devices with surface variations – but overall I was pleasantly surprised.
Asimov tends to remind me H.G. Wells. That may sound extreme considering The Time Machine was written in the 1890s while Foundation’s Edge was released in the 1980s, but the Foundation series was conceived back in the 50s. Wells and Asimov may represent the best of pre-WW1 and post-WW2 sci-fi, but their formative cultures have more in common with each other than post-2012 audiences.
To me, their stories are now are charming combination of dated ideals and visionary speculation.
This is one of the few Foundation novels which can stand alone, so I can heartily recommend it to all - not just fans of the series.
I’m no longer blown away as I once was, but it’s still a very enjoyable read!