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on March 14, 2002
It's worth reminding yourself before you pick up this book that it was written a looong time after he wrote the original three Foundation books-- thirty years after, to be precise. It is also the first of the Foundation books that was written as a single book; the others were originally written and published as a series of short stories. When the Asimov's publisher asked for a new Foundation book, he jumped at a chance to finally make a fully developed book out of the theme.
Given these facts, it's not surprising that there's some fairly significant differences between the thematic focus and tone of _Foundation's Edge_ and the three novels preceding it. I think this accounts for some of the dismay from fans of the trilogy and the feeling that Asimov somehow stopped fighting the good fight.
The Seldon plan still plays an important role, but it is no longer the backbone of the story as it was in the trilogy. Instead, Asimov takes the opportunity to tie together the Robot and Foundation universes, creating a meditation on autonomy and government styles that asks a number of questions about strategic choices and also asks about the relationship between governed and the governors. When the warlike first Foundation sends a troublesome politician in search of the manipulative second Foundation, every party finds more than they bargained for when they reach the planet Gaia.
I *liked* _Foundation's Edge_ although I would agree that it doesn't reach the heights of the trilogy itself-- it has a number of weaknesses (the lame explanation of the Mule's origins, for one) and doesn't feel as important somehow. But the original trilogy was a darned difficult act to follow, true?
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on February 18, 2002
Foundation's Edge is chronologically the sixth book in the Foundation series. The events here take place about two hundred years after those in the novel Second Foundation. The book introduces a surprising new element into Asimov's fictional universe.
Essentially, a couple key people in the First Foundation realize that the Second Foundation survives and is likely still guiding the First Foundation in following the Seldon Plan. Mayor Branno of Terminus sends the young politician Golan Trevize out to attempt to draw the Second Foundation's attention and thus bring them out of hiding.
At the same time, Stor Gendibal of the Second Foundation believes that things are going too smoothly and that some third party may be directing humanity's course, even to the extent of controlling the Second Foundation! He is also aware of Trevize's mission (through a secret agent on Terminus) and thinks that Trevize is headed for a rendezvous with this other organization. So Gendibal sets out to pursue Trevize and to hopefully locate this sinister controlling entity.
Some very surprising information is revealed in the last couple chapters of the book. To fully appreciate the revelations, you should read the four-book Robot series prior to reading Foundation's Edge. In addition, Asimov makes a couple references to the third Empire novel "Pebble In The Sky". Therefore, I recommend first reading the Robot series, then the Empire series (three books), and finally the seven Foundation novels. This will give you Asimov's complete vision in chronological order.
Overall I enjoyed Foundation's Edge and liked the new characters it introduced. It's a fairly long read but the pace picks up when the plot lines begin converging about two-thirds of the way through. As usual, Asimov is heavy on dialogue and is fond of explaining things through debates or discussions between characters. The ending is a bit weak and doesn't resolve everything but fortunately the novel "Foundation and Earth" picks up right where Edge leaves off. I'm looking forward to reading the final chapter in this wonderful saga.
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on August 13, 2001
SOme one hundred years after The Second Foundation, the [First] Foundation is mostly complacent that the Seldon Plan is in full swing, and that they will successfully establish the Second Galactic Empire in another 500 years, as predicted. But there is a problem. The progression of the Foundation follows the Seldon Plan PRECISELY!
Such absolute perfection rings to a select few as too unlikely to occur naturally. Especially in light of the severe deviations in the past, as in the conquest by the Mule. Even the Second Foundation, the guardians of the Plan are unable to explain the uncanny adherence. The First Foundation believes this to be the result of the Second Foundation's influence. The Second Foundation is uncertain as to who may be causing such undue influence.
So two individuals are sent on somewhat parallel missions. One from the First Foundation, ostensibly to discover the location of the Second Foundation. This mission quickly becomes a drive to locate Earth, the legendary planet of origin of mankind.
The Second Foundationer's mission is to pursue this other man, as he seems to be indelibly entwined with the future of the Plan, despite the fact that Psychohistory is unable to predict the actions of an individual. Further complicating this chase is the fact that the Second Foundation has been infiltrated, as evidenced by the distinct absence of specific information from all their databases.
This novel continues the drive by Asimov to link his Robot, Empire and Foundation Series. We get several tantalizing references to some things that are not completed, leaving the door open to an obvious sequel. The writing is classic Asimov, with sufficient twists to keep the reader entertained. The ending is very much different from what might be expected at the outset, as the degree to which outside forces have interfered is vast. Overall this is a good read, although it tends to drag in places. As a continuation of the epic chronicle of future history, it is invaluable.
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on October 16, 2000
Two very gifted men, Golan Trevize & Stor Gendibal, from the First and Second Foundations, respectively, find themselves catapulted into derring-do by the machinations of their domestic political opponents. And so the tale has a certain symmetry at outset. We intuitively sense that they will eventually meet with catalytic force. Each man is convinced of a hidden power behind Galactic Events: Trevize suspects Second Foundation influence while Gendibal intuits a deeper, more elusive, insidious force.
Although I enjoyed F.E., Asimov strains credibility in the intricate plot twists brought about by the machinations of the story's protagonists... Perhaps not, because here we are dealing with a Terminus governor (Harla Branno) presiding over a federation of planets greater in extent than the late-lamented Empire of Trantor, and Second Foundation hierarch Stor Gendibal, past-master both of Seldon's psychohistorical equations AND an additionally-developed science of titanic psionics; consequently, great and deep minds' plotting is maybe not to be marvelled at. Stor Gendibal and Branno both find themselves ultimately outmaneuvered by .... [you'll have to read the book] ... .
While I have yet to read "Forward the Foundation", it was disappointing to find that the eventual climax of the much-touted Seldon Plan does not appear to be forthcoming. This would have been a delectable volume, tying up numerous philosophical questions brought on by the broad thrust of the plot throughout the previous four volumes. (My present impression being that FTF is a regression to the early days of the Seldon Plan's incipience...)
Obviously, if you've read the earlier volumes, you'll want to read this. While it was a Hugo and Nebula Award winner, it seemed no better than the earlier Foundation volumes.
Which is to say, outstanding.
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on December 2, 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.
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This novel won the 1983 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel of the year. This book is the sequel to Asimov's Second Foundation (1953), beginning about 98 years after the end of the events described in that novel. It is, in turn, followed by Foundation and Earth (1986). In this story, a renegade Councilman of the First Foundation (Golan Trevize), together with a historian, are sent out ostensibly to search for the original planet from which man comes (Earth). Actually, Trevize is in search for the Second Foundation, which most of the members of the First Foundation believed to have been destroyed. A renegade leader of the "underground" Second Foundation sets out to stop him. They both discover another controlling force in the galaxy. Personally, I disliked the "pat" ending somewhat. But, perhaps that is mere inducement to read the next book in the series.
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on November 7, 2001
I have never read any of the othe Foundation books before but still enjoyed this one emensely. Sure, I had to read the prologue and may have appreciated smaller details of the story if I had read all the preceeding novels in the series (as well as a few other of Asimov's well-known series), but not enough to complain.
The ending is cool if you are a huge Asimov fan and leads into a another book that hardcore sci-fi fans will drool over.
All in all it's a good read for anyone interested in reading a good story. Asimov has mastered his craft inside and out. This is good even if you don't like sci-fi but can appreciate a well-told story.
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on March 23, 2001
In a continuation of the by now immortalized Foundation series, Asimov builds the conflict between the two Foundations to an apocalyptic level. The scope and creativity of the novel is unmatched, and the strength of the characters is unquestionable. However, the end of the book diverges sharply from the precedent established in previous Foundation novels, and the change can be a little disillusioning for dedicated readers of the series. This abrupt change is part of what keeps the series interesting, but Asimov gives little reason for the new course.
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on May 10, 1997
Many of Asimov's novels have become bestsellers and very well known because they have simply been around so long.

Foundation's Edge is one of the few novels that became an immediate bestseller. It's sweeping and uniting storyline enabled it to mesh with the older Foundation novels and retain more contemporary elements.

A worthy addition to the original Foundation Trilogy.
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on December 7, 1998
Ok. This book is incredibly incredibly great. It is well written, and about 5/6 of the book is perfect! Then there are robots and galaxia. I'm sure that many of you don't agree with me, but I think Galaxia is pretty lame and not a good ending for this massively good book.
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