An Empire has begun to decline and one man had produced a plan to shorten the resulting Dark Age and found a Second Empire. Isaac Asimov based his “Hugo Best All-Time Series” on this premise, one man setting up a Foundation for the future of mankind but not telling his successors about how to bring the plan to fruition.
Foundation is not one story, but several connected together because of the grand plan by Hari Seldon who mathematically deduced the decline of the Galactic Empire and its future fall then came up with a plan to reduce the resulting Dark Age to only a 1000 years. Three of the five stories featured the two standout characters of the volume: Salvor Hardin, the point-of-view character in “The Encyclopedists” and “The Mayors”, and Hober Mallow, the point-of-view character of “The Merchant Princes”. It is through these two characters the reader gets an understanding of the political and social situations going on as the Empire declines and the Seldon’s Foundation politically evolve to meet the conditions known as Seldon Crisis.
Although Foundation is an interconnected collection of short stories, combined they create a history of a far off future of a declining Empire and an outpost meant to build up a future Second Empire for the betterment of all men. While some might think space science fiction is all lasers and space battles, Isaac Asimov showed that it could be political, religious, and economic forces on a large scale used by individuals to pave the way for a better future. It is because of this that many consider this a classic and frankly I can’t disagree.