Foundation was originally a series of eight short stories published in
Astounding Magazine between May 1942 and January 1950. According to Asimov, the premise was based on ideas set forth in
Asimov wrote the three books Foundation, Foundation and Empire and the Second Foundation in 1950–1952. They dealt with a remarkable two-part idea. The Foundation was a research project, run by advanced social forecasting and social planning. It is based on the ideas of the character called Hari Seldon. Seldon developed "psychohistory". This method predicts the future, but only on a large scale. Seldon foresees the fall of the Galactic Empire, which includes the entire
Foundation and Empire tells how the Empire was destroyed, and what followed.
The Foundation takes over what remains of the Empire, and applies its social science methods. The now peaceful galaxy is disrupted by an unpredictable event. A mysterious person arises. He is known only as the Mule. The Mule is a
Second Foundation is about the Mule's search for the Second Foundation, which has been tucked away in a hard-to-find part of the galaxy. As the Mule comes closer to finding it, the mysterious Second Foundation comes out of hiding to face him. It is a collection of the most intelligent humans in the galaxy. Using its strongest minds, the Second Foundation wears down the Mule. His destructive attitude is adjusted to a benevolent one. He returns to rule over his kingdom peacefully for the rest of his life, without any further thought of conquering the Second Foundation.