Foundation by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Okay, I admit it. This series starts slowly. Very slowly. Impossibly slowly. As in: you don't really start to get the scope of the Foundation series until after you've read the first three books. But believe me when I say it is worth it.
The Foundation series starts with this novel, and you'd be a fool to start anywhere else -- though you might want to read the "I, Robot" series by Asimov to get an idea of how the author writes his fiction first. (Yes, really.) As the story progresses, you will start to appreciate the scale of the epic tale Asimov weaves before you. Skipping from generation to generation a la War and Peace, you may be tempted to think that each new character you encounter can't possibly be as important in later books, but you'll be wrong. Never before have I read any science fiction series keep my rapt attention over successive story arcs that entangle with each other over vast spans of time.
Note that if I were rating this book by itself, I'd probably give it three stars. But knowing what comes afterward really does a lot to help one appreciate what comes before, and the things you learn in later books truly does enhance the story in this one. If you're pressed for time, don't bother reading just this book. But if you have a lot of time to waste, I highly recommend reading the entire Foundation series, starting right here. You definitely won't regret it if you do.
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