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Publisher's Summary

The first novel in Isaac Asimov’s classic science-fiction masterpiece, the Foundation series

SOON TO BE AN APPLE TV+ SERIES, COMING 9/24/21 • Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

For 12,000 years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future - to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save humankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire - both scientists and scholars - and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation. 

The Foundation novels of Isaac Asimov are among the most influential in the history of science fiction, celebrated for their unique blend of breathtaking action, daring ideas, and extensive worldbuilding. In Foundation, Asimov has written a timely and timeless novel of the best - and worst - that lies in humanity, and the power of even a few courageous souls to shine a light in a universe of darkness.

Please note: The text of this book includes some passages that begin or end in mid-sentence. This is intentional by the author. 

Listen to all of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, including (in chronological order):

Prelude to FoundationForward the FoundationFoundationFoundation and Empire Second FoundationFoundation's EdgeFoundation and Earth

©1982 Isaac Asimov (P)2010 Random House

Featured Article: All the Best Literary Screen Adaptations to Stream in 2021


There is so much to look forward to in film and TV this year—and so much audio to make you the ultimate insider. You may be surprised by how many movies and TV shows were adapted from excellent audiobooks. Get ready to dig in, because this covers just about every great adaptation for 2021, and then some. Find something great in this guide whether you listen before you watch or take a deep dive after the credits roll.

What listeners say about Foundation (Apple Series Tie-in Edition)

Average Customer Ratings
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Don’t bother unless you’re a sci-fi history buff

This was my first Isaac Asimov. It seemed to be one of his most acclaimed works which is why I wanted to hear it. Listened at 1.6x speed.

I guess that it’s generally true most sci-fi ages badly and this is a good example. Set 12000 years in the future where civilization has spread throughout the galaxy yet they are writing a book on paper and the kind of money most people care about is gold coins.

They’re supposed to be writing an encyclopedia about the entire history of mankind but they’ve forgotten the human race started on earth. They have atomic power plants that explode like atomic bombs, atomic spaceships, atomic shields and atomic ray guns. Technology has not advanced much since the 1950s.

The plot about a collapsing empire is nothing extraordinary nor even interesting in 2020, given current world events. Time in the book passes so fast that new characters appear and then die of old age a couple of chapters later. You don’t even have a chance to get emotionally attached to them.

Maybe this was the first of its kind when it first came out, but unless you have some special appreciation for this fact, there’s nothing for you in this book if you’ve read any modern sci-fi.

54 people found this helpful

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Couldn't get through the narration.

Could not stand the narrator. Unfortunate - I've heard good things about this book, but I couldn't get through it.

38 people found this helpful

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In spite of its flaws, I couldn't put it down.

This is a work of creative genius. The plot is intricate and compelling, breath-taking in its scope, and wildy imaginative. The characters aren't terribly well-developed, and the dialogue is sometimes cheesy, but that almost doesn't matter because my focus was drawn, again and again, to the "big picture". As soon as I think I've lost interest, Asimov drops a bombshell plot twist, and I'm back. Fantastic.

53 people found this helpful

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An old friend revisited

I first read Asimov's original Foundation Triology Back in the early 60's. Later, as he added volumes to the Foundation series, I would grab up every Foundation book as they came out, ending with Foundation and Earth in 1986. I have always recommended Asimov to friends and acquaintances as a "classic" to be be read by all Sci-Fi fans.
A few months ago, I noticed "Prelude to Foundation" when browsing through Audible to find my next "listen." I also decided to download the rest of the series so I could go through it all again in sequential order.
Quite obviously, I had no doubt about Asimov as I've have been a reader of his for over 50 years now. I was quite impressed with the reader and also very impressed that he seems to be the reader for all books in the series so we gain the continuity of the presentation.
I just cannot recommend the Foundation stories highly enough. Again, a classic and so very well performed by Scott Brick.
One word of caution to readers/listeners to Asimove's style. There are times it seems, in all his writing that he begins to edge into a tangent of over description whether it be a personality, an event, or just a segment of the story. DO NOT let this cause dismay and do not allow yourself to drift, waiting for the dialog to pick up. It is all so important to end up with a genuine undersstanding of the story. All will come true to your expectations.
I know this review is on the first book written (Foundation) but I cannot help but speak of the entire works. Asimov is timeless. The reader, superb. Do yourself a favor and commit to the entire works of Foundation. When you're done, you'll want to pursue the Robot books as well as the Empire books. Asimove wrote much and in the end you'll wish he wrote more.

75 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Foundation Trilogy is a True Classic

Asimov is superb, particularly when one considers that he started writing this series in the early 1950s. As a result it reads and sounds like the period. For all that, this is a great classic and Scott Brick is an excellent reader. The story and cast of characters is much more complex than the average novel. I found that a 2nd listen not only made everything clearer, but was even more enjoyable than the first.

A few reviewers comment on dropped sentences. It helps to have access to the printed version. Chapters are frequently introduced with excerpts of the fictitious Encyclopedia Galactica, and these excerpts are - in both the print and Audible version - often dropped mid-sentence. This is Asimov.

Highly recommended for any SciFi fan.

147 people found this helpful

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Audio Skips Mid-Sentence

Like a couple others reviews, I noticed two distinct mid-sentence skips in the first two minutes of the book. I was really looking forward to this series but guess I'll have to find it elsewhere since Audible only has this one version available and I'm not OK with all the skipping.

20 people found this helpful

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not the edition I ordered

what a shady way to advertise Apple+
in place of one I previously paid for, i found this edition swapped into my library after-the-fact

19 people found this helpful

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Changed the version back

I don't want the TV show tie-in version! I want the version written by the the author!

17 people found this helpful

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Not unabridged

What did you love best about Foundation?

It is a story that has many elements we could learn from today.

What did you like best about this story?

The Characters

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Scott Brick?

no comment

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no

Any additional comments?

the background music was distracting, the narrative was ABRIDGED as I have read the book itself many times and a lot was left out of the narrative.

49 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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An unabridged classic but "Psychologist?!!"

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I enjoyed listening to this. It was one of the first major works of SciFi that I ever read.

Any additional comments?

Why on earth did the word "psychohistory" (and all derivatives thereof) become "psychology?" Where in the book they talk about psychohistorians, they talk about psychologists in the audiobook. What happened? Did the word get globally replaced by a spellchecker in the final copy of the script?

278 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter
  • 03-01-11

On Audible at last!

A brilliantly thought out book that was a pleasure to listen to. The story is ambitious in scale to say the least but Asimov is more than up to the task and creates a fascinating world in which to immerse the reader. The format is that of short stories encapsulated within the broader Galactic history. These stories drive the prophecy of Hari Sheldon with glacial inevitability - they are clever and the characters engaging and sharp in their depiction. I will definitely be finishing the trilogy. As always, Scott Brick does a great job of narrating this epic series.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 01-31-11

A great interpretation of Foundation

Foundation is clearly one of the best science fiction books ever written. Any audiobook interpretation of a good story can be compromised both by choice of reader and the addition of background music or sound effects. I have listened to both versions of Foundation offered by Audible narrated by Scott Brick and Jim Gallant. The Scott Brick interpretation completely outclasses the Jim Gallant version. To be fair, Scott Brick has the advantage of working with the unabridged book and he does a wonderful job - his narration is clear and his phrasing is good whereas Jim Gallant had to work with an abridged version padded by long periods of awful music. Anyone listening to this version of Asomov's greatest stories will, I am sure, not be disappointed.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 07-08-13

I wasn't sure when I chose it....

Where does Foundation rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Foundation is one of the best audiobooks I have purchased, its right at the top of the pile.

What did you like best about this story?

I have always been a fan of sci fi but I really enjoyed the low fantasy element. This led to a more plot and character driven story.

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

I wasn't sure about Scott Brick to start with although after a while I found his performance to be pleasant and clear.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I think its a lot of story to listen to in one go and found it better to break the story into parts to let me think about the plot.

Any additional comments?

Great book.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt Carter
  • 09-29-16

Hugely frustrating, for such an epic book

I love this book. I read it as a child. So every glitch in the story telling is so frustrating! Scott Brick is great. His performance is brilliant. The characterization is gently and well delivered. So what is the problem?
Edit faults? Glitches? Splicing errors? I don't know what they are but they are there. The first is at 58 seconds. The second at 1:24. Third at 1:41 and I stopped counting at chapter 5, 45 seconds in.
If you can not let that effect your enjoyment, this will be a great listen.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • J. D. Burnell
  • 01-26-16

I know this is heresy but...

Any additional comments?

...this really got boring very fast. I know that Foundation appears on everyone's list of must-read sci-fi, and usually near the top, and I can sort of see why, in that it set the gold standard for so much grand-scale Space Opera in the way The Lord Of The Rings did for high fantasy.

However, the years have not been kind...

Honestly, it might as well be a collection of meeting minutes - every chapter consists solely of long conversations between barely-distinguished or developed characters in which the progress of the story since the last chapter is discussed in laboured exposition. The characters might raise their voices or storm out once in a while but that's the limit of the action.

This isn't helped by Scott Brick's narration which does little to differentiate between the individual voices in the story, to the extent that it's sometimes difficult to work out who is speaking. I've heard Brick narrating other books, and doing it very well, but this one wasn't for him.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mark
  • 07-14-13

A classic from a different age

Foundation is from a different age and it it feels it.
It is no doubt a true classic and it is vasty influential, but I did find it difficult to like.
One of the problems is that the story is all about the idea of a 1000 year plan to save civilisation, there are characters in the story, but they are difficult to tell apart.
This is a basic problem with the story and nothing to do with the performance of the work, Scott Brick does a good job with material, but it is difficult to make such a work, interesting .
The attitude towards technology and notably women also feels very dated.
Having said all of this, I probably will try the next book in the series, since this was written as a single story, rather than as a series of linked short stories maybe that will work better?

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • the drumer
  • 06-24-13

asimov at his best

What made the experience of listening to Foundation the most enjoyable?

For me the narrator seemed just to fit the part and his voice (Unlike many others) did not intrude into the story line

What was one of the most memorable moments of Foundation?

Just griping from start to finish

Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not yet

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This question seemes to paraphrase the question before last "What was one of the most memorable moments of Foundation"? so I refer to that answer

Any additional comments?

Asimovs depth of story line and characters have such relevance and a great understanding of our own society. The Foundation Trilogy could be said to almost explain some of the theories of Karl Marxy. Any one who reads the Foundation should without doubt get the rest of the Trilogy

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-16-17

Thoroughly Enjoyable

There is no book like this that I have ever read, utterly fascinating! The narrator for the most part was excellent although it was occasionally hard to make out which character was speaking as the voices he gave them were sometimes fairly similar. Would still recommend this version though!

1 person found this helpful

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  • A. Winkworth
  • 02-11-17

Foundation

Brilliant - can't wait to get to vol 2.
I couldn't help but notice several resonances to todays situation. I know it's supposed to be based on Gibbon's Decline & Fall and i spent a quite enjoyable time working out the connections! However just a few days listening to the news and the rhetoric from some of our world leaders (sic) convinced me that there is nothing new under the sun.
Perhaps we are heading for a 'Seldon crisis'!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexander
  • 11-16-16

Superb

great book and story. ends a bit abruptly. but I think that is a result of being half of a collection of existing storys. great narration. big fan of Scott Brick.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • mcfrood
  • 06-23-16

Great narration but Asimov feels dated/Hubris

Great narration of a classic Sci-Fi novel. I read it at University, but I now feel it is dated and Asimov's intellectual hubris shines through. All his exposition is through dialogue (often unrealistic stilted dialogue) and all his main characters smug, over-confident and channeling the writer's own arrogance. I found it hard going from about a third of the way into the novel and only finished due to some obligation I felt to my youth. Compared to the political edifice of Frank Herbert's first 3 Dune novels this is lightweight for a Sci-Fi political novel.

2 people found this helpful

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  • naomi
  • 11-27-16

Don't stop listening...

Great book but requires regular listening or you might get lost in all the names. Once your in, your in...

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Frost
  • 09-21-19

A good idea but boring execution

I really looked forward to this book. The idea of a group of people using logic and probability to anticipate the future, building a science-based civilisation to stave off the apocalypse - genius! Such a fun idea! But then I started reading.

The book plays out with a focus on key points in The Foundation’s history, along with some key men. The style is world-driven rather than character-driven, trying to build a picture of what it might be like to be such a civilisation. Unfortunately, Asimov didn’t do a great job here in making the reader feel engaged with the characters or the world they live in. I found myself drifting off and losing focus often. The narrator didn’t help. He did a passable job but the way the story is written would require a narrator to signify somehow when a different character is speaking. This narrator didn’t do that. So I found myself even further cast adrift.

I’ll take the idea of The Foundation with me from here, but I would like to see another author take a shot at it. Asimov was more a visionary than he was an accomplished writer.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Janet
  • 07-02-19

History examined in the future

Good story but the language of the author is very dated now. The narration was good

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-18

Deeply flawed yet intruiging

This reflection of the dark ages moving into the medieval era, in space form, was indeed fascinating. I felt it missed emotion, credibility and more than one single female character. But it did get at the heart of an interesting concept of depreciating ideas and cycles of empire

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Reza
  • 10-20-18

very good and exciting first half.

very good and exciting first half. Too complex and boring second half. Performance was mostly monotonous and it was hard to distinguish different characters. I had to rewind whole chapters to figure out who is who.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Renee
  • 07-31-18

An imperfect classic

This is classic, old school sci fi. That said, whilst some parts are great, other sections just aren't very interesting. Overall the concept of psycho history is a winner and sets the stage for a great series that gets better.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eloise
  • 03-28-18

good book

great book. although character voices were confusing sometimes. Sci Fi in its fullness. will want to listen to the rest of the series

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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