Foundation by Isaac Asimov (Avon, 1966)

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov is one of the essential names in the field of science fiction, and the Foundation trilogy is one of his most important works. In fact, in 1966 it won a Hugo Award for the best science fiction series of all time. The trilogy includes the novels Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation, though many of Asimov’s other works were rolled up into the Foundation universe (including The Currents of Space).

Foundation was originally published in 1951, but the edition we’re showing here is Avon’s 1966 reprinting. Oddly enough, Avon actually reprinted the third book in the trilogy, Second Foundation, first in 1964 (with a completely different cover than the one we show at the bottom of this article). The reprintings of Foundation and Foundation and Empire didn’t happen until 1966, at which time Avon released another reprinting of Second Foundation with a cover that matched the other two.

When the image from the front cover is duplicated, as it is on the back, the shapes almost resemble the links in a chain. Was this intentional? Perhaps.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

The mind-bending cover art is by Don Ivan Punchatz. Punchatz did a lot of magazine work, having done covers for Heavy Metal, Playboy, National Geographic, and TIME. He also create the cover (and logo) for the hyper-violent 1993 video game Doom. In 2012, video game site GameSpy called the box art for Doom the second best video game box art of all time. Punchatz was clearly an illustrator with an immense amount of talent.

Also, the whole Foundation trilogy looks great together. If you have the whole set, don’t be cruel and break them up!

Foundation by Isaac Asimov
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Bob L.
Bob L.
2 years ago

Very cool website. I loved the Foundation books! Thanks for the extra cover art info. I received this exact version of the trilogy as a boxed set while in high school in the 1970s. At the time, I thought it was the best SF story ever. I’m re-reading the books now ahead of the upcoming Apple+ TV series. They’re still a great read, but some of Asimov’s vision for the future now feels humorously outdated. Of course, that’s not surprising for something written in the late 1940s/early 50s. I hope the TV series is good.

(BTW, second paragraph above: the title of the third book should be “Second Foundation”, not “Second Empire”.)

Josh Wirtanen
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob L.

You are correct that the title of the book is “Second Foundation” and not “Second Empire.” I’ve updated the article.

Thanks for the comment!

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