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crotchetyoldfan said in April 29th, 2010 at 4:03 am

Nice to find someone else out there who doesn’t immediately resort to statements about how awful and old Asimov’s works are.
Also strange that you’re re-reading exactly what I chose to re-read, though I’m on to the Mule and his adventures at this point (had to take a break for review work – Ander’s comic hero anthology With Great Power, a good read btw).
I agree entirely with your analysis regarding Asimov’s outlining of detail. He comes from the era of writers who rely on the active imagination and participation of his readers. Most modern reviewers seem to find this to be detrimental, but then they didn’t grow up listening to radio plays for entertainment.
I also think that the charge of lack of characterization, at least insofar as Foundation is concerned, is deliberate and not a failing. The entire concept of the series is that the actions of human beings in the aggregate can be predicted and manipulated. This means, therefore, that the individual is (from the grand scale of things) unimportant. What better way to illustrate this throughout the stories than to have characters who could be anyone? Any trader, mathematician, scientist, etc. could be stand ins for the characters actually chosen.
And finally: I once read at least somewhere, if not several somewheres, that no female characters appear in the series. I’ve so far run into two, one of whom is extremely influential (and more of a character than most).
(As an aside: anyone who thinks that Asimov can’t do characterization did not grow up in a Jewish household….)

Rusty said in April 29th, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Hey Crotchety Old Fan,

Yep, Asimov is one of my all time favorite authors, and Foundation is my favorite of his stories. I’m not sure why I like his stuff so much, maybe because he was the first SF author I really read. To be sure there are plenty of other “classic” authors whose work I don’t like, but I have liked everything I’ve read from Mr. Isaac.

I am glad to hear that you are also re-reading Foundation! I really am enjoying it more than I thought I would, which is nice. I can’t wait to get to the Mule stories – those are awesome.

Yeah, maybe Asimov was relying on readers to fill in some of the details. As I read Foundation this time I find myself imagining a much more futuristic world that what little he describes, and that works really well for me. Maybe that is part of the reason I am enjoying it so much!

Anyway, I look forward to finding out what I think of Foundation this time and how Asimov handles the characterization. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts anytime – I really enjoyed hearing from you.