Forward the Foundation

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Forward the Foundation
Forward the Foundation cover.jpg
First edition
Author Asimov, Isaac
Cover artist Bob Larkin[1]
Country United States
Language English
Series The Foundation Series
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
April 1993
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 417 pp
ISBN 0-385-24793-1
OCLC 29849055
Preceded by Foundation's Fear
Followed by Foundation and Chaos

Forward the Foundation is a novel written by Isaac Asimov, published by the author in 1993. It is the second of two prequels to the Foundation Series. It is written in much the same style as the original novel Foundation, a novel composed of chapters with long intervals in between. Both books were first published as independent short stories in science fiction magazines.

The parallels between Hari Seldon and Isaac Asimov found in this book— the last one written by Asimov before this death— and the focus on Hari Seldon as he grows old and dies, strengthen the idea that Asimov considered Seldon his literary alter ego. Critics such as Josh Wimmer and Alasdair Wilkins have regarded many of the opinions and viewpoints expressed by Seldon in this book as autobiographical. Thus, a detailed reading of Forward the Foundation can shed light on Asimov's inner thoughts at the end of his life.[2]

Like other previous science fiction works by Asimov, the book was a commercial success, becoming a New York Times bestselling work.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

In Forward the Foundation, Isaac Asimov continues the chronicles of the life of Hari Seldon, first begun in Prelude to Foundation.

The story takes place on Trantor, and begins eight years after the events of Prelude to Foundation. It depicts how Seldon developed his theory of psychohistory from hypothetical concept to practical application in galactic events.

Beginning during the latter years of the reign of Emperor Cleon I, Seldon's work brings him into the world of galactic politics, and takes him to the height of Imperial power as Cleon's First Minister, after the mysterious disappearance of his previous First Minister, Eto Demerzel (whom Seldon knows as R. Daneel Olivaw). Seldon becomes First Minister to the Emperor, but loses the position ten years later after the Emperor is assassinated.

Gradually, Seldon loses all those who are close to him. Seldon's wife Dors is killed saving his life from an assassin. His adopted son Raych is killed in the Rebellion in Santanni; his daughter-in-law and second granddaughter are missing and never found. Yugo Amaryl dies early, brought on by the strain of his work. Except for his granddaughter Wanda, Seldon is alone. He eventually sends her off to start the Second Foundation.

The Galactic Empire's decline accelerates during the later chapters, as does the decline of Seldon's physical health. At the same time, Seldon finally begins to unravel the secrets of psychohistory; he initiates a grand plan that will come to be known as the Seldon Plan, the road map for mankind's post-Imperial survival.[3]


Preceded by: Series:
Followed by:
Foundation's Fear
by Gregory Benford
Foundation series Foundation and Chaos
by Greg Bear