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as with the entire series there is nothing more to say than BRILLIANT. even if they were written a very long time ago and the language may seem old to some younger people now, this is so worth reading. Issac Asimov left us a treasure in this series.
It's a long book for a small central idea....that societal evolution does not arise from far away but within a modestly disguised few operating adjacent if not within the existing power structure. Science fiction seems best presented in short stories as opposed to novels.
The Foundation Trilogy were the first Sci Fi stories I shared with my children. The story covers such a wide range and introduces so many new ideas that it set their imagination on fire. They still talk about it today. The character of Hari Seldon and his clever manipulation of the hierarchy on Trantor; Trantor itself and the concept of a planet-wide city; Terminus and the Foundation itself - they are all seminal concepts. The story is told as only a master storyteller could tell it. Second Foundation has aspects of a detective story to it and the "whodunnit" becomes a "where is it?" Great fun.
Written 70+ years ago and originally published in segments, the story does same dated. Some technology predictions are laughably off and it’s a bit like reading the literary version of the old Flash Gordon cinema serials.
But Asimov was a clever man and the underlying plot about psychohistory being used to enable the resurrection of civilisation is a clever idea. It’s an entertaining and enthralling read and , in the second book in the series, Asimov breaks with tradition somewhat by having a woman be the heroine.
Revisiting this series after 40+ years and found it much more accessible than some of his contemporaries.
Unfortunately, from truly epic beginnings the Foundation trilogy over time loses its ability to communicate big concepts and turns instead to a kind of parody of Machiavellian pile-up conspiracy theories, in the style of a vaguely Wildean farce. There were ideas in the first book that were hugely important in shaping the contours of sci-fi, and the echoes of these can be heard in a dozen fictonal universes. In book two, it was clear that things were slipping a little as the idea of a Seldon Crisis became more and more abstract and contrary to the original conception. By book three, it's a succession of 'Ah-ha, what you don't realise is,,,' followed by 'Ah, but what you don't realise that I realise is...'. It all becomes a little tiresome. 'I extracted this info from your operative!' 'Ah, my operative didn't realise that he didn't have the real information!' 'Ah, but I knew that he wouldn't have the information so...'. It reminds me very much of that Limmy's Show secret agent sketch where both participants are so confused by their own feints and counter-feints that they end up burning their own dossiers and drinking their own antidotes.
Really though, it's not a bad book - it's just bad in comparison to the earlier highs of the first tremendous instalment.
Enjoyed the series in paperback many y3ars ago. This Kindle edition let's me reread it with ease, as I am sight impaired. Yes, it is a bit dated,but does that matter. You do need to read the two previous books first though, otherwise you will be confused and lack the background to the story.
This is indeed "The greatest science fiction series of all time", and the second volume written is just as enthralling as the first. No wasted words or padding, simply an incredibly imaginative story from a writer who was both brilliant and prolific.
Have just re-read the original foundation trilogy ahead of Apple TV series release. An elegantly simple buT sweeping in scale read. Gibbons Decline and fall of the Roman Empire meets Sherlock Holmes meets John Carpenter. Fantastic!
Over 50 years ago I read the trilogy in print. Reading it again on Kindle has brought it back to life. An amazing work that not just stands the test of time, but creates that moment of time as you become an observer of the plan!