Review: Second Foundation

Second Foundation Book Cover
Second Foundation Foundation, Book 3 Science Fiction HarperCollins Audiobook 9h 7m Audible

Winner of the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series. The Foundation series is Isaac Asimov’s iconic masterpiece. Unfolding against the backdrop of a crumbling Galactic Empire, the story of Hari Seldon’s two Foundations is a lasting testament to an extraordinary imagination, one whose unprecedented scale shaped science fiction as we know it today. The First Foundation has been defeated, crushed by the formidable mental powers of the Mule. But whispers of the mysterious Second Foundation, the only hope of defeating the Mule, are beginning to spread … Surviving members of the First Foundation also fear the secret powers of the Second Foundation, vowing to find and destroy it. However, the location of the Second Foundation remains shrouded in mystery. Finding it will lead the Foundation to the opposite end of the Galaxy, where the fate of Seldon’s two Foundations awaits.

This is the conclusion of the trilogy. You can read my reviews of Foundation and Foundation & Empire if you want my thoughts on the other books in the series.

I found this book a little harder to listen to. It contained more hard science than the preceding volumes which I felt punctuated the flow. It was insightful and necessary to explain the genius of the theory of psychohistory (the new and effective mathematical sociology) which forms the basis of the arc through the three books so that we fully appreciate the subtlety of how the Second Foundation and Hari Seldon’s plan were intricately constructed.

I don’t have issues with hard science per se, but it felt a little like ego vs storytelling and some of it may have been better interwoven into the story. It felt like a little too much exposition was being fed to us in places. However, it fitted Asimov’s style and structure of the books with references to Encyclopedia Galactica.

This book was more a single story throughout rather than a series of interconnected shorter tales with time jumps between each as the first two books are. The overall trilogy spans hundreds of years which necessitated choosing key events across the time period which are linked. It’s elegantly woven together and a compelling read and does give you time to soak in the brilliance of psychohistory and how it could potentially be applied in the modern world of today. The storytelling works because you are wondering how things are set up, and then Asimov reveals them at the appropriate point. He draws you into the tale elegantly and pulls you along with his thread until he’s ready to pull back the curtain and show you what’s really going on.

As science fiction is one of my preferred genres and having been disappointed with other Sci-Fi classics in the past (Dune & Gateway) I put off listening to this trilogy. However, Foundation was an excellent and easy read and laid the foundation (excuse the pun) for an epic work.

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By Edward

The Here & Now

I’m working on developing a feature film – a supernatural thriller. You can find more about this on my production website. I am doing a script readthrough at Pinewood later in March for a TV comedy pilot. Plus the usual audition rounds of course. And my IMDb StarMeter has improved by 30,000!