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Hari Seldon

Hari Seldon
(From cover of Foundation)

Hari Seldon is the intellectual hero of Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Series. In his capacity as mathematics professor at Streeling University on Trantor, he developed Psychohistory, allowing him to predict the future in probabilistic terms.

In the first five books of the Foundation Series, Hari Seldon made only one in-the-flesh-appearance, in the first chapter of the first book (Foundation), although he did make others in the form of pre-recorded messages. After writing five books in chronological order, Asimov went back with two books to better describe the initial process. The two prequels, Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation describe his life in considerable detail.

Table of contents
1 Foundation
2 Prelude to Foundation
3 Forward the Foundation


Using psychohistory, he found the right time and place to set up a new society, that would replace the collapsing Galactic Empire by sheer force of social pressure, in a 1,000 year time span.

Prelude to Foundation

While in his 20's, he visits Trantor from his native Helicon to deliver to the decennial mathematics convention his initial proposal for creating psychohistory. In doing so, he becomes a lightning rod for political forces who want to use psychohistory for their own purposes. The rest of the novel tells of his eponymous flight, which would last for approximately a year and which would eventually see him become first minister to the Emperor. It is in this novel that he meets his future wife Dors Venabili, future adopted son Raych Seldon. We also find out that the former first minister, Eto Demerzel, is in fact R Daneel Olivaw.

Forward the Foundation

This novel is actually told in vignettes which were the norm at the beginning of the series. They take place at intervals a decade or more apart, and tell the story of Hari's life, starting about ten years after Prelude to Foundation and ending with his death. In his capacity as first minister, he gains the nickname Raven for his dire predictions of the future.