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4.6 out of 5 stars
Second Foundation
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on July 21, 2014
SON IN LAW NOW HAS COMPLETE COLLECTION
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on May 9, 2014
An absolute classic in science fiction and human history. A fabulous pondering of what is and what may one day be.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2004
I enjoyed the Foundation series very much, and I would recomend it to anyone. If you have read the first two then there is no reason to not read the Second Foundation, I just found it anti-climatic. I generally enjoy more of a firm ending, and I know that Asimov goes on to write more in the series, but I wanted an end with more of an explination about Seldon and his work.
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on May 18, 2004
This is the final book in the original Foundation trilogy.
With the advent of the Mule, the Foundation is set off from the Seldon plan irreversibly. Or is it? The second book ends with a theory that the Second Foundation established by Seldon, is one consisting of the scientists using Seldon's own method of mathematical psychology. As such, it would make it a natural complement to the physical scientists of the First Foundation. However, very little is known about the Second Foundation and they haven't shown their face in all the centuries of the Foundation history. Do they exist? Do they have the power of Seldon's psychology? Are they the true keepers of the Plan or are they the enemy?
This novel details the search for the Second Foundation - whatever that entity happens to be. There are two books: the first detailing the Mule's own search for the Second Foundation (to destroy it and thus establish his supreme dominion of the Galaxy) and the second, detailing the search by some people from the Foundation itself (by which time, it is seen as a hostile force from the Foundation's perspective).
I found the second book to be better, but, while enjoyable, they both suffer from a flaw missing from the previous Foundation novels. The others were concerned largely with physical force and even at that were pretty packed with conspiracies, double-crossing and the like. Because the Second Foundation deals with the mind, these elements escalate to the point where I though it was a bit too arbitrary. The climaxes of both books are a bit like a wild goose chase, where the reader's conception of the situation is shattered and a new one built up in its place several times over within a few pages. It seems a bit over-the-top.
Still, a great finish to the trilogy. It's still a very entertaining novel and other than that flaw, it has the great mega-epic quality of the others: a whole civilisation's essence is epitomised in a few hundred pages. The book ends on a quite unresolved note, hundreds of years away from the projected establishment of the Second Empire, but it's the potential uncertainty that I liked (a good thing for the purists who don't accept the later Foundation novels as being in the spirit!). It certainly wraps up the whole basis of what the Plan was/is and why things happened like they did (although, of course, it doesn't fully satisfy by a longshot). This makes it a worthy ending to the monumental trilogy.
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on December 28, 2003
This volume of The Foundation Series is my favorite of the entire set. The First Foundation, sent out to survive the fall of the Empire, now faces an insidious enemy. The Second Foundation may have originally been set up by Seldon to influence and maintain the plan, but now they are undoubtedly corrupted by a mindchanging influence. The plot takes many delightful twists and turns, making this a masterful mystery as well as a good sci-fi tale.
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on December 15, 2003
Again, like Foundation, it is a little dry, but character development is hard in a story that spans over multiple centuries...something that is easier to manage in the Second Foundation because it is more focused on one generations struggle for their part in the evolution of the Foundation. A very solid read and classic Asimov.
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on October 30, 2003
Of course, we all know by now that the Trilogy was just the beginning of the Foundation story. We had prequels and sequels but these three remain the core of the saga. In FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE we were introduced to the Mule, a mutant with mental powers so great he could change the course of history. Since Seldon had set up two Foundations - one known, one unknown - it would be a catastrophe if the Mule ever discovered the location of the secret one.
This is a tale of innocence, of a 14-year old girl (Arkadia) and her friendship with a man we come to discover is the Mule. The final battle - as in all books of this type - correct all wrong and allows us to discover that the location of the Second Foundation was at "Galaxy's End" - the center of the galaxy, Trantor, where Seldon had resided.
The real trick now is creating the alternate robot stories that would intertwine and eventually unite with the Foundation Series creating a new entity.
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on May 15, 2003
The last book in this trilogy sees the serch for that elusive Second Foundation Hari Seldon set up before his death.
The rouge superbrained leader The Mule sets off on a journey to find it as well as a cunning and cleaver 14 year old girl Arkadia Darell. A battle of minds takes place and eventually humanity wins out. The victory comes as quite a shock for those who will read it and Hari Seldon's unpredicted crisis is over and the Second Foundation is saved right where he left it, in the Universty campus on the now rusted and tatty world of Trantor.
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on May 15, 2003
The last book in this trilogy sees the serch for that elusive Second Foundation Hari Seldon set up before his death.
The rouge superbrained leader The Mule sets off on a journey to find it as well as a cunning and cleaver 14 year old girl Arkadia Darell. A battle of minds takes place and eventually humanity wins out. The victory comes as quite a shock for those who will read it and Hari Seldon's unpredicted crisis is over and the Second Foundation is saved right where he left it, in the Universty campus on the now rusted and tatty world of Trantor.
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By the time you get to "Second Foundation" the final volume in the original Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov, there is no real need to keep on with the effort to persuade you to keep on reading. Instead it would be more beneficial to look at the original trilogy as a whole and consider why it stands out as one of the greatest in the realm of Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Simply compare the Foundation Trilogy with the two other, admittedly more popular, trilogies: "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars." In the former it is established that the One Ring has to be destroyed and from that point on Tolkienï's story is devoted to getting that accomplished and trying to return peace to Middle Earth. In the latter it becomes clear at the end of the first film (of the original trilogy) that the story will end when Luke Skywalker kills Darth Vader at the end of the third film, which means that Darth will have to defeat Luke at the end of the second. That is indeed what happens, although George Lucas did throw a big twist into the picture.

In comparison the genius of the Foundation Trilogy is that the three volumes are so different. "Foundation" establishes the theory and practice of psychohistory, as Hari Seldon's master plan for reducing the inevitable barbarism of the time between galactic empires to a single millennium. But then "Foundation and Empire" finds the plan disrupted by the threat of the genetic mutant the Mule, and the careful progression of the first novel is replaced by a crisis that is an unforeseen Seldon Crisis. However, with "Second Foundation" there is a new agenda, as both the Foundation and the Mule search for the location of the titular entity. The purpose of the hidden Second Foundation is to protect the first, but the members of the original Foundation do not like the idea of its existence any more than does the Mule. Consequently, the race is on to discover the truth.

What Asimov has created is a classic example of a dialectic, more so in terms of claim, challenge, and correction rather than thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Not only does it represent the dialectic, the Foundation Trilogy embodies it as well, because that is the principle behind how the Seldon Plan works and adjusts to changes both small and large as the universe plays outs its history. It does not have the great depth and richness of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," or the style and flair of Lucas's "Star Wars." But then Asimov always represented striped down narratives, where the characters would have intense discussions about scientific principles, which usually boiled down to his belief that science could solve any and all human problems.

Because the Foundation Trilogy is a landmark in the history of science fiction it now enjoys a significance that goes beyond its merit as a story. Eventually Asimov would connect this series with both his Empire and his Robot novels, but it is still important to remember the Foundation Trilogy on its own terms. Even with "Second Foundation," there is something intrinsically enjoyable in the way that Asimov offers plausible solution after plausible solution before revealing the solution that was true.
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