The Anacreonians were landing their first spaceships tomorrow, but that was all right, too. In six months, they would be giving orders no longer.

In fact, as Hari Seldon had said, and as Salvor Hardin had guessed since the day that Anselm haut Rodric had first revealed to him Anacreon’s lack of nuclear power – the solution to this first crisis was obvious.

Obvious as all hell!

The first story in Foundation ends with an assertion that the solution is obvious. What is this obvious solution?

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    It is, clearly, not obvious to me. – Sean McMillan Jan 7 '13 at 16:31
  • Keep reading; he re-caps in each subsequent story, as I recall. :) – K-H-W Jan 7 '13 at 16:34
  • Ergh. I read the trilogy a while back and found this particularly frustrating. It seemed like they got out from under the thumb of their barbarian overlords somehow -- possible by playing different groups against each other (?), but it's really not clear (to me) how or what happened. And the next story takes place 50 (100?) Years later. – Sean McMillan Jan 7 '13 at 16:45

Well, it's explained in the later novels (characters basically do recaps on previous Seldon Crisis situations, as well as their solutions), so I don't want to spoil it too much for you. In each case, as per Seldon's design, the answer is almost inevitable.

I haven't read them in a few years, but as I recall, the first few crisis points:

(Headers to remind you without showing the spoiler, if that's enough -- don't want to ruin the fun, if you re-read :) )

Balance Of Power

Basically, they didn't try to fight them, but they made sure the enemies of the Anacreonians knew what was happening; their enemies couldn't risk one group having access to nuclear power, so a stalemate forced them all to leave the Foundation alone. I believe this is the 'obvious' one you reference.


Next they instituted a 'Religion' behind technology and used that to make fighting the foundation a 'Sin' with demonstrable results; the trained techs on other planets didn't really understand things, just know how to use them. The foundation retained the ability to put them under Interdict, at which point all of their foundation technology ceased working.


The third one was simple; dependence via commerce. The Religious angle had played itself mostly out, as worlds were aware of it. But Hober Mallow stuck to the idea of trade alone protecting them. They provided a product that couldn't be had anywhere else, was better than what was available elsewhere, and forced the enemies into dependence on their product. A little 'planned obsolescence' and they had enemies that couldn't afford to make war against the Foundation, as they needed Foundation supplied tools to do so with.

Oh, I should mention -- these are the EXTERNAL crisis points. There were internal ones, too, at each Seldon Crisis, but I don't think you were asking about them.

  • I will have to re-read, since the balance of power solution was not really obvious to me the last time I read. (Which means I'm going to have to get access to a copy of Foundation. <sigh>.) – Sean McMillan Jan 9 '13 at 14:49
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    Well, it's not so obvious to the reader... But it is meant to be / should be to characters -- the situation was engineered to PUT them in that position, all they had to do was look around and realize it.. That was kind of the point of a Seldon Crisis -- Historical Inevitability forced the situation and the solution.. or at least, that's Seldon's plan... But, from a literary point of view, if it were that obvious to the reader, he wouldn't have ended it that way. But Asimov did like to make readers try and figure things out some times... Heck, he wrote some mysteries, too. – K-H-W Jan 9 '13 at 15:07

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