Posted by: Andy | April 5, 2008

book review: Foundation’s Edge

by: Isaac Asimov

I liked this one too!  I liked  it more than Second Foundation I think.  This was the last of the pre-read-and-long-forgotten foundation books in my pile, and most pleasing.

It was definitely the best “new foundation” book I’ve read so far (ie the ones he started writing 30 years later consisting so far of Prelude, Forward and now Edge – there’s also Foundation & Earth, but I haven’t read that yet).  It’s funny; it was written in between Prelude & Forward, and yet its stylistically much better (IMHO) than either.  Perhaps Asimov was just more comfortable writing about the Foundation in its present than he was about the past and Seldon?  As I said before, Seldon made for a crappy character/lead – maybe he just couldn’t figure out how to write a character he had already mythologized?

Anyway, this particular tale flowed so smoothly after Second Foundation I wasn’t even consciously aware that it was written 30 years later while I was reading it – I mean I did *know*, but it just never occurred to me.  Even with the sudden thrust of robots & Gaia (which was hinted at in the chronologically preceding though written later Forward the Foundation) into the Foundation universe, it still flowed.

Perhaps it was because, for the first time, there were fully realized characters living in this time-frame.  Sure, there was Arkady in Second Foundation, but she was really just more of a plot point than she was an actual realized character.  Asimov continues showing the dichotomy of the opposing sides as he did in Second Foundation, but also adds in a semi-neutral party and a complete 3rd faction, almost seemlessly (not to mention fleshing out the Mule’s background).

Yes, this book also continued the general trend of all the Foundation novels of feeling like the characters were just being pulled along a pre-set path, but somehow it was more ok here.  I mean, in a way they all feel like that because it is exactly true, but that’s a strange perspective to write from and still expect it to be interesting.  And yet it works…I guess there’s a reason they call him a master.

I’m actually looking forward to reading Foundation & Earth (which I don’t think I’ve read before) now, and hoping it continues the quality increase I’ve witnessed thus far.

THREE AND A HALF STARS

PS. The new wordpress editing look is throwing me.

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Responses

  1. After the Mule (Books 2 and 3), the rest of the Foundation books just kind of tale off and fizzle.


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