The blessed and cursed century we've just left behind has given us unpresendented knowledge about material side of our universe. Humanity has finally obtained the obility to fly and has made first steps on its way to stars. Even more - we FINALLY have power to destroy ourselves as a species. So, as you can see, we've really 'got the power'. But what about ourselves? We still know very little laws of psychological and social development and we sure can't conrol them. But what if we could?
First Galactic Empire had lasted for millenias and had spread its borders all over the Galaxy, uniting countless people and bringing them peace and order. But strict laws of social develoment ensured it would fall, sooner or later. During the last years of peace and prosperity of the Empire, there lived a great scientist, named Hari Seldon, who has created special science 'psychohistory'. With the help of this science, he has forseen inevitable fall of the Empire and times of mutiny and barbarity, that would follow. He knew that its impossible to prevent the fall of the Empire, so he desided to do his best to reduce the Dark Age as much as it is possible. To achieve this goal, he has created a Foundation of Encyclopedia Galactica, to store all the knowledge, accumulated by humanity. Or at least, that's what he said...
Now THAT's just a prehistory of classical Isaak Asimov's novell 'Foundation', first novell of probably the best SF series ever: legendary 'Foundation Trilogy'. The story itself would let you know about the real purpose of Foundation and its struggle for survival and power, you would see the crumble of old Empire and the dawn of new era. And I assure you, you won't be bored while reading this book. Asimov was probably one of the most educated SF writers ever, and he has collected much of his knowledge and philosophy in this book, thus making it just incredibly interesting. Asimov has gathered most interesting and powerful archetypes from the whole human history and placed them as heroes of his book. Plus he added his unique concept of 'psychohistory': a science that can predict future development of the whole human society! Than he mixed all this stuff with interesting plot, added some minor characters and, Voila! Now we've got this wonderful book!
Now here's some reasons for you to read this book. First, its just a great book with cool story and beautilful literal langualge. Secondly, its Asimov, and he's one of the most important authors not only in Sf, but in whole modern English literature. And finally, its just a unique book, which helps to understand many things in our history and gives you another chance to forsee our history, and THAT's just what this whole 'SF' thingy is about...