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Isaac Asimov's
Robot & Foundation Story Chronology

Posted by Galen Strickland
January 6, 2001

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In response to readers' requests, Asimov provided a suggested reading order to properly understand the chronology of his Robot and Foundation stories. Please note that even the order of some of the earlier works is not necessarily the same as the order they were written.

With a few minor revisions, here is that list:

1. The Complete Robot (1982). This is a collection of thirty-one robot short stories published between 1940 and 1976 and includes every story in the earlier collection, I, Robot (1950).

2. The Caves of Steel (1954). This is the first of the robot novels.

3. The Naked Sun (1957). The second robot novel.

4. The Robots of Dawn (1983). The third robot novel.

5. Robots and Empire (1985). The fourth robot novel.

6. The Currents of Space (1952). This is the first Empire novel.

7. The Stars, Like Dust-- (1951). The second Empire novel.

8. Pebble in the Sky (1950). The third Empire novel.

9. Prelude to Foundation (1988). This is the "first" Foundation novel (although it is the next-to-last written by Asimov).

9a. Forward the Foundation (1993).

[9b. Foundation's Fear (1997). The first novel in the Second Foundation Trilogy, it was written by Gregory Benford. Takes place after the first chapter of Forward the Foundation.]

[9c. Foundation and Chaos (1998). The second novel in the Second Foundation Trilogy, written by Greg Bear. Takes place at the approximate time of Hari Seldon's trial.]

[9d. Foundation's Triumph (1999) By David Brin]

10. Foundation (1951). The second Foundation novel, even though it was the first. Actually, it is a collection of four stories, originally published between 1942 and 1944, plus an introductory section written for the book in 1949.

11. Foundation and Empire (1952). The third Foundation novel, made up of two stories, originally published in 1945.

12. Second Foundation (1953). The fourth Foundation novel, made up of two stories, originally published in 1948 and 1949.

13. Foundation's Edge (1982). The fifth Foundation novel, although at the time of its publication it was billed as the fourth.

14. Foundation and Earth (1983). The sixth Foundation novel.

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Another suggestion would be to read them in the order they were written, and some might say to ignore the later works and just concentrate on the originals. Asimov had problems with plot consistency in his attempts to connect the stories, mainly because there had not been any intent for them to be consistent in the first place.


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