Foundation Series Review – Part Two

In this review I will cover both Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation.

FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE (1952)

Foundation and Empire continues the saga of the Foundation, reviewed here. The ‘Foundationers’ are happy and content everything is going according to the Seldon Plan. Their eyes are firmly set on the Empire, whose downfall Seldon predicted; when all of a sudden everything goes haywire with the birth of The Mule.

The Mule, an anomaly, throws Seldon’s plan off course, and leaves the Foundation to fend for itself. The Mule becomes all powerful and world-conquering, and threatens to ruin the Foundation. Unlike the first part, this part actually has a twist at the end.

Unfortunately, this twist is something I saw coming right at the beginning, and it spoiled my enjoyment of this classic. It was too predictable, and the logistics of the events happening just didn’t make sense. In my opinion, even though this is great science fiction, it is easily the weakest of the original three parts of the Foundation Series. This part also introduces us to the Second Foundation and its significance in events to come. In spite of its shortcomings, nobody can call themselves a sci-fi fan until he/she has read this classic trilogy.

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SECOND FOUNDATION (1953)

This is the third and last part of the original series. After overcoming the Empire and The Mule, the Foundation has to square off against the Second Foundation – another Foundation Hari Seldon set up at the opposite end of the galaxy – just in case. Obviously, in good fiction writing, an author never introduces an element that doesn’t have a role to play in the story. The problem is, even though everyone knows Seldon set up a Second Foundation, no one (except the Second Foundationers) know where it is! This then, is the central element and mystery that consumes the last part in the trilogy. If the Foundation cannot find the Second Foundation, how can it defeat it?

Without spoiling the plot, I must say I was disappointed with the location of the Second Foundation – simply because it was my first choice among all given possibilities. I’m not too sure others will catch on to it, so I must give the author the benefit of the doubt. After all, this series is a great classic – that speaks for itself. But, due to my ‘knowledge’, I didn’t enjoy most of the third part, especially towards the end where the main characters go through each possibility until the location is revealed. It didn’t impress me, but then again, I spend a lot of time coming up with complex plots for my own screenplays, so that must have something to do with it. Regardless, the third part stands on its own as good sci-fi, and is important enough to justify at least one good reading. I recommend it completely.

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