I’ve been taking my time with Asimov’s Foundation books. The writing can be infuriatingly difficult to appreciate, on the grounds that Asimov clearly did not make learning how to engage the reader one of his priorities. Everything is basically conversation. The progression from era to era leaves a huge disconnect and often makes it difficult to care about new characters, unless they’re particularly vivid. Fortunately I’ve run across a few vivid characters today and my interest is revitalized. Plus, now that the concept is centuries established, the lived-in quality helps make it more enjoyable, too. He seems increasingly comfortable. I was bored to tears trying to read The Silmarillion, which I gave up on years ago. Tolkien just trying to explain Middle Earth history is like Asimov just trying to explain Foundation history. Clearly it was epidemic among genre writers in these formative days. Clarke similarly had no idea that the most interesting thing about 2001 was the mystery of it, not continued human experiences coming up against it. In the interest of creating something authentic, these guys lost sight of making their work readable, too.