I have to ask...What is the big deal with this series???
I have read Foundation, and honestly, it left me flat. I have geared myself up for an epic SciFi novel, and found myself reading something resembling an instruction manual instead. The novel revolves around psychohistorians who successfully apply mathematics to social studies with an end result of detailed prediction of the future. The concept is very interesting I admit. However, Asimov's writing is not that ingenious and leaves much to be desired.
His characters are presented as dehumanized logic obsessed calculators, witch is a fact that doesn't help the story. I understand that these people are supposed to be extremely intelligent and can quickly apply a mathematical formula to any living situation, but if you don't allow a human factor into the equation you have successfully produced a novel in witch you describe how a computer computes. An incredibly boring read. The points that the psychohistorians made throughout the novel were not too groundbreaking, rather than common sense. What goes up, must come down. Everything has its birth, life and death. That includes an enormous Empire. Politicians lie. Religion can be used as a method of control of the masses. The more information you possess, the better chances you may have. Honestly, comparing to some other SciFi authors out there this isn't all that good.
Also lacking was the general plot. After twelve thousand years the Empire is predicted to fall apart and force humanity into something akin a dark age. The fall on it's own cannot be avoided, but its recovery can be sped up if the knowledge of the current Empire is preserved. So a bunch of scientists inhabit a planet on the outer edge of the galaxy and begin their work. Close to the publication of the first edition of the Encyclopedia the planet becomes strategically important to the fractions that arise from what is the beginning of the end of the Empire.
It could have been so much more, I expected so much more....but I was left disappointed.