Thursday, 4 December 2008


So I first read this book when I was eighteen. The date is actually written inside the front cover. I thought all of Asimov's books were great. I don't know whether I thought they were high art, but I really enjoyed the feeling that somehow you were being given a glimpse into the future.

But now it is the future! Well, except not quite the future of Foundation, which is set thousands of years from today; at a point where a galactic empire begins to wane in power, and smaller, marginal post-colonial states take up the slack. 

Here's the funny thing though. It's six thousand years in the future, and there are many intriguing predictions that may or may not come true by that date (psychohistory: it can predict what will happen in the the future!) but one thing alone makes the book seem curiously c.1960ish in outlook. The book paints a broad canvas, but amongst all the politicians, traders, members of the military, priests and academics we meet in the book, not one is a woman. 

In fact the only female character in this entire century-spanning book is an evil queen who is distracted with extraordinary rapidity by some nice shiny jewelery.

Ahhh. 1960. What an innocent world, that he wrote this book, trying so hard to predict how the world would be, and he missed such a big thing completely out. Girls. Actually in charge of things. Who would have thought?

PS Also, there are also in Foundation mail spaceships, presumably carrying good old-fashioned "letters", as we used to call them. 


Blogger Benjamin Vogt said...

I remember devouring this series when I was in high school. Wow. First literature I ever liked, and I hated reading (which is why I'm a writer now I suppose). I do remmebr women int he later books, but yes, a sign of the times. Perhaps all the women left for other planets to create a functional society?

7 December 2008 at 09:13  
Blogger emmat said...

Ho ho ho.
Well I don't know whether I am going to be re-reading the later titles... I don't own them, for one thing! I guess I borrowed them from someone else?
I did really enjoy the mail spaceships. They have hyperdrives, they have all the futuristic technology... but mobile 3g internet is nowhere to be seen...

9 December 2008 at 07:46  

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