"THAT GASP OF WONDER THAT WAS THE ASIMOVIAN GRAIL": FIRST EDITIONS OF ASIMOV'S ORIGINAL FOUNDATION TRILOGY, WITH HIS SIGNATURE
ASIMOV, Isaac. Foundation. WITH: Foundation and Empire. WITH: Second Foundation. New York: Gnome Press, (1951-53). Three volumes. Octavo, original blue, red and green cloths, original dust jackets. $10,500.
First editions, first issues, preceding the first collected edition by over a decade, of "one of the most influential works of modern science fiction" (Chronology of American Literature), with a bookplate signed by Asimov laid into the first volume.
Winner of a special 1966 Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series"—an award even Asimov believed had been created solely to honor Tolkien's Lord of the Rings—this epic saga transposes Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire into a futuristic key. Critic and fellow science fiction writer Thomas M. Disch praised these novels for powerfully evoking the "gasp of wonder [that] was the Asimovian grail." The trilogy, based on stories originally published in Astounding Science Fiction between 1942-50, not only set the standard for all "future histories" to follow but also helped secure Asimov's status as a genre giant: "for five decades his was the voice to which science fiction came down in the end" (Clute & Nicholls, 58). First edition of Foundation, binding variant A (cloth), with correct page dimensions. First state dust jacket, with rear panel advertising three books and 1952 fantasy calendar. First edition, first issue, of Foundation and Empire, with sheets bulking 1.8 cm across, binding A (red boards lettered in black, publisher's spine imprint measuring 2.2 cm), with dust jacket variant A (printed in four colors, with 26 titles on rear panel). First edition of Second Foundation, binding in State A (blue boards lettered in brown). Currey, 12, 13, 15. Anatomy of Wonder II-46.
Books fine, dust jackets bright and beautiful, with only minor wear to spine head of Foundation and Empire, tape repair to verso of Second Foundation. A beautiful set.