Well, it was definitely much better than I remember. I first tried reading Foundation when I was in middle school, but couldn’t really get into it because I kept getting really attached to the characters that only lasted for a single part in the book. I’ll admit that it happened this time again too (I love Hari Seldon’s character) but I was able to disconnect enough to glean the bigger picture that Asimov was trying to hint at. Connecting the little pieces and understanding the changes that the Foundation territory goes through over 150ish years is wonderful. I think most novels are strongly focused on giving a story with a small scale; we’re focused on the individual attributes to form a personal connection with the reader, and we focus on a single character over a key period of development. Foundation is pretty different; I think the key idea here is really to understand the change and crises that the civilization itself goes through while developing around this period. In that sense, I guess it’s a novel where the civilization / empire itself is a character, and we track it as it progresses.
Something I didn’t like about the novel was how parts of it definitely felt like deus ex machina in disguise. Case in point: Salvor Hardin on Anacreon somehow gets the entire populace to rebel against their own kingdom basically instantaneously. I get that it’s trying to send a message about the power science-based religion, though it felt pretty fake while reading it.
I love the idea of using a futuristic religion to fuel conquest and exploration in an empire. It’s undeniable that religion was a prime motivation in conquest like 2000 years ago, but molding it with science to fuel it in the future is an exciting idea I didn’t think of. I think people are inherently more likely to follow religion in lieu of science when given the option due to religion giving them more control over their lie through faith. I’m unsure exactly how this played out in Foundation (it seemed as if the priests knew it was a sham, but then why would they continue?).
I’m definitely going to read the next two in the series and see where that takes me. I hope Seldon makes more appearances, and I’m kinda curious to see what the rumored Foundation on the other side of the galaxy is like.