am 2. Januar 2000
If you've already formed an opinion about Isaac Asimov's writing, FOUNDATION'S EDGE isn't likely to change your mind. The book has all of Asimov's earmarks, both good and bad: wooden characters who almost always know exactly how they feel and say exactly what they mean; dialogue-heavy scenes in which the exchanges are drenched with ideas and cerebral analysis but almost devoid of emotion or neurosis; an inventive setting replete with plausible details; and a propulsive, energetic plot that delivers lots of suspense and surprises. I already liked Asimov before I picked up the book, and it certainly didn't disappoint me, but it's not going to convert anybody who only wants to read about nuanced characters making subtle self-discoveries.
Because the plot is one of the book's best features, to say too much about it would spoil the fun for too many readers, so I'll limit myself to one of its most interesting aspects, which is that it attempts to tie together a number of Asimov's works. Without giving too much away, it's fair to say that part of the book's project is to meld the fictional "universes" of the Robot stories, the Empire novels, and THE END OF ETERNITY with that of the FOUNDATION trilogy. Many Asimov fans have derided this decision, claiming that it marks the beginning of his decline as a science fiction writer. For myself, while I can't say that I find the attempt at retrofitting fictional consistency onto highly disparate works to be particularly compelling or convincing, I do find it interesting. Consider that Asimov was an atheist, who argued that in the absence of any persuasive evidence of a Supreme Being (of which he could find none), it was more rational to believe in God's nonexistence than in His existence. Yet for us to credit Asimov's notion of psychohistory, we must posit that certain characteristics are common to all humans. I would contend that the religious or spiritual impulse is such a characteristic, and that as people get older and their desire for comfort, security, and meaning increases, that impulse only gets stronger. I wonder: as Asimov aged, did he channel his own growing spiritual impulse into the project of forcing his fictional creations into an overall rubric, of imposing meaning where none previously existed?
If you're an Asimov fan, FOUNDATION'S EDGE should be required reading. It did, after all, win the Good Doctor the 1983 Hugo award for best novel. On the other hand, if you're new to Asimov, this isn't the place to start. Instead, check out the FOUNDATION trilogy, or the Robot novels (THE CAVES OF STEEL and THE NAKED SUN -- the later ROBOTS OF DAWN and ROBOTS AND EMPIRE were part of Asimov's retrofitting project.) Better yet, read his short stories, collected in two excellent volumes titled THE COMPLETE STORIES I and II. It is those stories which cemented his reputation as a world class sf author, and I would argue that it is that reputation, rather than any particular virtue of this novel, that FOUNDATION'S EDGE's Hugo acknowledges.
am 5. April 2000
This is as good as any of the original three books of the Foundation Trilogy, and is in my opinion a work of Creative Genius. Some readers have commented on the seeming non-religious philosophy of the book, but although the philosophy is somewhat strange (not to give away the ending), I think that it is compatible with either a religious or non-religious viewpoint, and furthermore Asimov intended further books to follow to develop his themes further. Others have indicated that his characters are psychologically or emotionally lifeless, but the main characters Trevize and Gendibal and Sura Novi and Mayor Branno and Pelorat are as alive as most of Shakespeare's characters without the unnecessary violence. In this book, Asimov reveals himself to be a master of surprise, characterization, conflict and its resolutions, and an openness to ethical and even environmental questions. Most of all, perhaps, he is the ultimate opponent of bureaucracies in this book, whether academic, political, or any others. His conclusion is a bit confusing on this matter, but I do not think it was intentional but rather was dictated largely by the element of surprise and telling a good and entertaining story.
am 4. November 1998
Isaac Asimov continues the Foundation Story in this 4th installment of the series, published around 30 years after the original trilogy. In Foundation's Edge, Asimov does a great job of continuing and expanding the Foundation story without missing a beat, despite the amount of time between this book and the first 3 books. The novel's style is somewhat different from the original trilogy in that it has somewhat more depth and more sophistication. This is only expected, however, considering this novel was published in the 1980s, and the original trilogy was published 50 years ago in "pulp" monthly magazine format. Foundation's Edge is also close to 500 pages, wheras the entire original trilogy, combined, wasn't much more.
The book follows members of both the 1st and 2nd Foundations who believe that some force in the Galaxy, besides either of the Foundations, is at work controlling the Seldon Plan and causing it to proceed a little perfectly. But who or what is controlling it nobody knows, nor what their ultimate intentions are. Not knowing if the mysteryious third party means good or bad for the Foundations (and the Galaxy, in general), the characters must discover the truth, or else it could mean the end of both of the Foundation's as well as Hari Seldon's vision for a new empire.
This was a very enjoyable book to read and flowed well from cover to cover. As with many of Asimov's novel, this sci-fi reads like a mystery in which characters are missing major pieces of the puzzle, but must seek to uncover the truth. The ending may be considered a little disapointing by some in that it basically winds up heading the galaxy in a completely different direction than the original trilogy. It's always a bit dissapointing when an author basically contradicts what readers believed from reading previous books in a series. However, all in all, I strongly recommend the entire series to be read (and in the order published, I might add!)
am 22. Juli 2015
is it really possible to get the politicians of the world together in a situation where they are forced to do the right thing???
but he does show the profile of those that would do anything to get to power, and have an academic self developed excuse for doing wrong...and it does't matter if the power junkies are on the top of a government or terrorist group...the junkie is transferable ...
am 20. Juni 2009
I rate the Foundation Series with 5 stars.
The Foundation series consists of the following books (in chronological order):
a) Prelude to Foundation
It is a prequel published in 1988. It explains how Hari Seldon traveled through Trantor and developed the basics about psychohistory. It is definitely not a good book, maybe the weakest in the Foundation series. If you want to read the Foundation books, I recommend you do not start with this one since you will probably end up not wanting to read the rest. Skip it and start with Foundation.
b) Forward the Foundation
Another prequel, published in 1993. The story starts a couple of years after "Prelude to Foundation" and tells about Hari Seldon's life in Trantor until his death. The book's quality is as good as, say, Foundation and Empire and much better than "Prelude to Foundation". The only downside is that Asimov seems a little constrained by what he had written before on the Foundation history (remember this is the last Foundation book he wrote) and is therefore somewhat focused on knotting the lose ends together.
Published in 1951, this is the first Foundation novel published. It tells the story of the Foundation set up by Hari Seldon and how this Foundation deals with their stellar neighbors during its first 200 years of existence. It is a fascinating book.
d) Foundation & Empire
Published in 1952. It consists of two parts: the first one ("The General") tells about the conflict between the dying Empire and the Foundation that occurred about 200 years after the Foundation was created. The second ("The Mule") is the story of the Mule and how he upsets the whole Seldon Plan (approximately year 300). I think this is a very good book.
e) Second Foundation
Published in 1953. The Second Foundation tries to fight the Mule and to correct the deviations from the Seldon Plan. I think this book is as good as Foundation.
f) Foundation's Edge
Published in 1982. This book's story and narrative have a rhythm and a dynamic that possibly would make it the best book from the Foundation series, were it not for the last fifth of the book. The bad part starts with chapter 17, which contains a mix of 1980's New Age rubbish. Even worse, I had the impression Asimov tried to preach and proselytize. Besides that, it's actually a good story.
g) Foundation and Earth
Published in 1986. The story is good, yet somehow its rhythm is frequently interrupted as the story shifts from one planet to en next. Another positive aspect is that Asimov clearly does not take the New Age rubbish seriously anymore. In conclusion, this book is not as good as the original Foundation trilogy published in the 1950's nor as good as Foundation's Edge, but nevertheless it is an enjoyable read.
Notes on the Voyager and Bantam Spectra editions
I have the Voyager edition, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. This is not a good edition, since most of the Foundation books I've read so far have imperfections (e.g. a line printed twice, spelling errors, etc.) and the printing quality is rather cheap. In addition to that, as far as I know Harper Collins has not published "Forward the Foundation".
I have the Bantam Spectra Edition of "Forward the Foundation". The quality is satisfactory.
Assuming that the printing quality of the whole Foundation series edited by Bantam Spectra is as good as in "Forward the Foundation", I would recommend the Bantam Spectra edition. The only downside is that the the Voyager books have prettier book covers.
am 8. September 1999
Ein schöne, "klassische" Asimov Geschichte, mit allem, was so dazugehört: Hari Seldon, die Foundation, der Tausendjahresplan usw. Leider auch im typischen Asimov-Stil geschrieben, und zwar in seinem Spiel der späteren Jahre. Ist der „Tausendjahresplan" noch ein echter Action-Roman mit vielen unerwarteten Wendungen und schnellen Entscheidungen, so ist „Foundations Edge" ein klassiches Asimov Bla-Bla Roman, wo den Leser die üblichen seitelangen „logic chopping" Dialoge erwarten, in denen viel geredet und wenig gesagt wird. Für alle Anfänger mit Asimov empfehle ich daher erst einmal die Lektüre der „Foundation" Triologie von ihm.
Für alle Fans, die gern wissen wollen, wie es mit der Foundation weitergeht ist der Roman natürlich ein Muß. Schade nur, daß Asimov die Foundation in eine Richtung weiterentwickelt, die so gar nichts mit der des ursprünglichen Romans zu tun hat. Das ist als Autor natürlich sein Privileg, aber ich war nach diesem Buch etwas enttäuscht, da sich die Foundation ganz anders verhält, als ich es haben wollte. Dies ist nicht die dynamische, energiegeladene Foundation der ersten Jahre, dies ist eine langweilige, verschwätzte Bürokratenclique, die es eigentlich gar nicht verdient hat, die Galaxis zu beherrschen.
Ich vermisste vor allem den uneingeschränkten Technologieglauben der 50er Jahre (vor dessen Hintergrund der Tausendjahresplan entstand), der einer schon fast feindlichen Einstellung zur Technologie und deren Ersatz durch Philosophie und Vernunft Platz machen mußte. (Dies ist eine Amazon.de an der Uni-Studentenrezension.)
am 6. Januar 1998
The world's worst novel ever constructed! I say this because it destroys what was (I think was) the greatest science fiction saga ever conceived... the Foundation Saga.
Asimov, must not have been himself when he ventured into this realm. For I feel he commited a Galactic Blunder of Biblical Proportions. He took, what has been hailed as the Greatest Science Fiction Series of All Time, and chose to completely re-write it after spending several thousands of pages creating the proper atomosphere in which it wouldthrive in
The bigest idiot "Foundation" ("" because I do not personally consider this storyling to pretain to the goal -and therefore not to- of the Foundation theme) is Golan Travize. Why cannot he take that which has so thoroughly described by an insitefull man nearly 1/2 a milenium before on faith? Had Seldon ever knowingly lead the Foundation kin astray? Never did he!
I tell you all: leave this book alone! Let it die out... let it fall into the cracks of humanity and there it will be forgotten! If you have any common sense and any attachment to the foundation... THE Foundation, and you have read through the Second Foundation S T O P ! ! ! There is nothing more for you in either Foundation's Edge or Foundation and Earth!
Ironically, it was Galaxia itself, that Golan Travize saw as the "outside, nonhuman force that would invalidate psychohistory." DIE GALAXIA!
am 5. November 2007
Having read the 'foundation' novels some decades ago and recently re-read them now, I like this continuation of the story better than the original novels.
What did not impress me so much about the original novels was - that while the basic foundation (forgive the pun) was interesting, the execution was a bit jumpy ... 30 pages on one hero here, then 40 pages on the next one who advances the foundation to the next level, but basically always the same model, that one incredible person appears on the plate, defies conventional wisdom and is finally proven correct - sometimes by some very convenient 'deus ex machina' revelations (remember Hober Mallow and his defense against the allegation of having killed some foundation priest that however turns out to have been an enemy spy? That kind of revelations).
This writing style has gone from 'foundations edge' as both this book and its successor, 'foundation and earth' actually are playing in the same critical period of time and with the same cast of main characters. This allows for 'above average' imagination and some new story twists for Asimov. To me the book seems more 'rounded' than its predecessors. While the earlier foundation novels reminded me - my own perception - of mass SF stories, this one is a much better, deeper and more refined book.
am 9. Juli 1998
This, the fourth novel in the "Foundation Series", is quite different in tone from the classic, preceding 3 novels which established the legend.
While the original 3 books dealt with the evolution of Seldon's Plan in a more cursory, time-jumping fashion, "Foundation's Edge" focuses on one group of characters (intuitive Terminus Councilman Golan Trevize and avuncular earth-seeking historian Janorav Pelorat) in their journey throughout the galaxy, looking to draw out the Second Foundation.
Some cannot make the adjustment to the more garrulous, leisurely style of this book, when contrasted to the sparse, tightly controlled plotting and prose of the original trilogy. In this way, it mirrors the differences between The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. However, Asimov still has the ability to make us imagine a future we will never see, and thrill to the chase and counter-chase between the two Foundations and a mysterious, outside force.
Take the trip. Relax. Let Asimov put you on-board a gravitic starship, supposedly searching for the lost homeworld of humanity's origin, while actually hurtling towards a confrontation at "intersection point" that will decide the fate of the galaxy.
am 2. Dezember 1999
Reading of this book presupposes that you have read the first three Foundation novels - "Foundation", "Foundation and Empire" and "The Second Foundation". ("Prelude to Foundation" is recommended, too.) If you haven't, please don't continue reading this review.
This book starts with an inner-political conflict in Terminus, which leads to a young adventurer's leaving of Foundation and heading to a mysterious planet which just might provide an answer to a problem he badly needs to solve. What he finds there, lies completely beyond any man's recognition and I won't even try to give you a preview of it. You will be fascinated while watching closely the surprising moves of different Galactical forces trying to outcompete each other.
The book is everything a Foundation fan would expect. Surely, Mr. Asimov's enthusiasm about a Galactic central goverment seems a bit out of date at the end of the 20th century, but that's not really disturbing. Though the book is not quite good as "The Second Foundation", it can be considered as a worthy follow-up.