The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
If you read science fiction, chances are you’ve read the Foundation series. A long-time fan favorite, the series has been in print for over 50 years. The series is written as a historical novel, chronicling the fall of the first galactic empire. The first book, Foundation, follows Hari Seldon, the psychohistorian who realized that the Empire was destined to fall, as he established the Foundation in an attempt to shorten the period of suffering that will inevitably follow before the rise of the second galactic empire from thirty thousand years to a single millennium. As the Empire begins to lose power at the fringes of the galaxy, the Foundation finds itself an island of civilization in the midst of neighboring kingdoms which are sinking into barbarity. In Foundation and Empire, the Foundation has come to the attention of the still-powerful Empire under its last strong emperor. Later, they face the first threat that Seldon could not anticipate, a force that even the Foundation’s advanced science cannot stand against. Finally, in Second Foundation, we see the two Foundations, set “at opposite ends of the Galaxy”, finally come into conflict, in a battle to determine the eventual rulers of the second galactic empire. Fan outcry eventually forced Asimov to expand the ‘trilogy’ to include four more books, including two prequels. With seven novels covering a thousand years, this series is the very definition of epic, and a must-read for any serious fan of science fiction.