updated 28 March 2007     back to home page

Advice for Reading Isaac Asimov's
Foundation Series and Related Books
foundation series etc. suggested reading order
After reading the foundation series and related books a few times I finally sat down and wrote these comments.  

I think that newcomers to this classic series -- or should I say these classic series -- will find this helpful.  Not everyone will agree with this reading order, but it might be helpful for those "getting started"

Note that there are two different reading orders suggested.  One if you like reading and another if you just like reading a little bit!

The first  includes all the books and is shown by the numbers.  This starts with the original foundation series, written in the early 50s, backtracks to the robot serious which was also started in the early 50s.  Then I suggest going back to the remainder of the foundation series, then filling in with the Empire series, and finishing off with the "new" foundation series.

The second approach,  called "only a view" starts with the two later books in the robot series and includes only two of what would be considered the foundation series -- also books written later in the production of this amazing series.  This is labeled with the small a and b.  Of course, after you read these, you will want to read the rest!

What about style ?

Many newcomers to the series are disappointed when they start reading Asimov.  Admittedly, for the most part, the style of the writing -- especially the earlier books -- is okay, but not inspiring.  

What is inspiring are the ideas, and how those ideas are interlinked among the books.  We can see the evolution of these ideas over time as well.  The main attraction of the series is that the books are intriguing.  There are interesting concepts that have important reflections in the real world: the three laws of robotics,  the zeroth law -- the most important of all, and the field of psychohistory.

The List

The Complete Robot (a compilation) 1982

Robot Series

The Caves of Steel 1954
The Naked Sun 1957
The Robots of Dawn 1983
Robots and Empire 1985

Empire Series

The Currents of Space 1952
The Stars, Like Dust 1951
Pebble in the Sky 1950

Foundation Series

Prelude to Foundation 1988
Forward the Foundation 1993
Foundation 1951
Foundation and Empire 1952
Second Foundation 1953
Foundation's Edge 1982
Foundation and Earth 1983

New Foundation Series

(not by Isaac Asimov)

Foundation’s Fear 1997  (by Gregory Benford)
Foundation and Chaos 1998 (by Greg Bear)
Foundation’s Triumph 1999 (by David Brin)