(CCLaP publishes mini-reviews of both books and movies on a regular basis, none lasting more than a few hundred words. Click here for the full list.)
Foundation (book; 1951)
By Isaac Asimov
Considered by many to be the best science-fiction series of all time, an opinion I agree with, this is the first of what would eventually become a multi-book storyline written throughout the adult life of Isaac Asimov. Ultimately it's the tale of "psychohistory," a branch of science in the future that says that the future can be predicted, given a large enough population sample (an entire planet at a minimum), and that these people don't know they're being studied. The founder of psychohistory, in fact, has come to realize that the galaxy-wide Empire holding things together is just about to meet its downfall, followed by tens of thousands of years of chaos and a new Dark Age; he has decided to shrink the interregnum to a mere thousand years, by establishing two "foundations" at the opposite ends of the universe, dedicated to preserving all of human knowledge. And thus does this remarkable series begin; and you won't believe where you get to by the end of it all, hundreds upon hundreds of years later in the story. A must-read for any science-fiction fan, even if it's just the first three books of this series (with the storyline admittedly going somewhat downhill from there).
Out of 10: 9.5, or 10 if I had reviewed it when it first came out