Foundation and Earth (Foundation Series #5)

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Overview

The fifth novel in Asimov's popular Foundation series opens with second thoughts. Councilman Golan Trevize is wondering if he was right to choose a collective mind as the best possible future for humanity over the anarchy of contentious individuals, nations and planets. To test his conclusion, he decides he must know the past and goes in search of legendary Earth, all references to which have been erased from galactic libraries. The societies encountered along the way become arguing points in a book-long colloquy...

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usa 1986 Hard cover First edition. New. No dust jacket. Ships today! We note slightest lean and mildest sunfade to red half cloth with gold gilt lettering. Last one. Out of ... print. NO stickers. NO marks. In business since 1975! Sewn binding. Cloth half cover + paper over boards. 356 p. Foundation Novels (Hardcover). Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The fifth novel in Asimov's popular Foundation series opens with second thoughts. Councilman Golan Trevize is wondering if he was right to choose a collective mind as the best possible future for humanity over the anarchy of contentious individuals, nations and planets. To test his conclusion, he decides he must know the past and goes in search of legendary Earth, all references to which have been erased from galactic libraries. The societies encountered along the way become arguing points in a book-long colloquy about man's fate, conducted by Trevize and traveling companion Bliss, who is part of the first world/mind, Gaia.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The fifth novel in Asimov's popular Foundation series opens with second thoughts. Councilman Golan Trevize is wondering if he was right to choose a collective mind as the best possible future for humanity over the anarchy of contentious individuals, nations and planets. To test his conclusion, he decides he must know the past and goes in search of legendary Earth, all references to which have been erased from galactic libraries. The societies encountered along the way become arguing points in a book-long colloquy about man's fate, conducted by Trevize and traveling companion Bliss, who is part of the first world/mind, Gaia. Springing from the same impulse that has fed his myriad nonfiction work, the novel's debate is enlivened by Asimov's fervid curiosity and his restless urge to explain everything, right down to the human passions that have largely vanished from his fiction. In fact, the characters, the tie-ins to Asimov's Robot series and the search's revelations suffer from the impersonal neatness that has handicapped Asimov's other fiction. He has, however, found an ingenious way around his clumsiness with novelistic narrative by employing a formal fairy tale structure in which the different worlds represent tasks or gifts or wishes, their fair aspect hiding a deadly surprise. As a result, this rather lightweight addendum to the series breathes in a way his heavier, more substantial books seldom do. Paperback rights to Ballantine/Del Rey; BOMC alternate. October 3
Gerald Jonas
In terms of story, ''Foundation and Earth'' begins at the very moment that 'Foundation's Edge' ends''....Mr. Asimov has failed to integrate the necessary background into the current action in a way that can make sense to a new reader. Worse, he is too busy referring the reader to positions staked out in the earlier books to create fresh sources of dramatic tension.... His characters are so conscious of their awesome responsibilities that they lack spontaneity....I would prefer a few loose ends to a series of backward-looking sequels. -- New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385233125
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/1988
  • Series: Foundation Series , #5
  • Pages: 360

Meet the Author

Isaac Asimov began his Foundation Series at the age of twenty-one, not realizing that it would one day be considered a cornerstone of science fiction. During his legendary career, Asimov penned over 470 books on subjects ranging from science to Shakespeare to history, though he was most loved for his award-winning science fiction sagas, which include the Robot, Empire, and Foundation series. Named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by the Science Fiction Writers of America, Asimov entertained and educated readers of all ages for close to five decasdes. He died, at age of seventy-two, in April 1992.

Biography

To list Isaac Asimov's honors, as to list his books, would be excessive. Let it simply be noted that Isaac Asimov was the most famous, most honored, most widely read, and most beloved science fiction author of all time. In his five decades as an author, he wrote more than four hundred books, won every award his readers and colleagues could contrive to give him, and provided pleasure and insight to millions. He died in 1992, still at work.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      January 20, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Petrovichi, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      April 6, 1992
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Columbia University, B.S. in chemistry, 1939; M.A. in chemistry, 1941; Ph.D. in biochemistry, 1948

Read an Excerpt

1

THE SEARCH BEGINS

1.

"Why did I do it?" asked Golan Trevize.

It wasn't a new question. Since he had arrived at Gaia, he had asked it of himself frequently. He would wake up from a sound sleep in the pleasant coolness of the night and find the question sounding noiselessly in his mind, like a tiny drumbeat: Why did I do it? Why did I do it?

Now, though, for the first time, he managed to ask it of Dom, the ancient of Gaia.

Dom was well aware of Trevize's tension for he could sense the fabric of the Councilman's mind. He did not respond to it. Gaia must in no way ever touch Trevize's mind, and the best way of remaining immune to the temptation was to painstakingly ignore what he sensed.

"Do what, Trev?" he asked. He found it difficult to use more than one syllable in addressing a person, and it didn't matter. Trevize was growing somewhat used to that.

"The decision I made," said Trevize. "Choosing Gaia as the future."

"You were right to do so," said Dom, seated, his aged deep-set eyes looking earnestly up at the man of the Foundation, who was standing.

"You say I am right," said Trevize impatiently.

"I/we/Gaia know you are. That's your worth to us. You have the capacity for making the right decision on incomplete data, and you have made the decision. You chose Gaia! You rejected the anarchy of a Galactic Empire built on the technology of the First Foundation, as well as the anarchy of a Galactic Empire built on the mentalics of the Second Foundation. You decided that neither could be long stable. So you chose Gaia."

"Yes," said Trevize. "Exactly! I chose Gaia, a superorganism; a whole planet with a mind and personality in common, so that one has to say 'I/we/Gaia' as an invented pronoun to express the inexpressible." He paced the floor restlessly. "And it will become eventually Galaxia, a super-superorganism embracing all the swarm of the Milky Way."

He stopped, turned almost savagely on Dom, and said, "I feel I'm right, as you feel it, but you want the coming of Galaxia, and so are satisfied with the decision. There's something in me, however, that doesn't want it, and for that reason I'm not satisfied to accept the rightness so easily. I want to know why I made the decision, I want to weigh and judge the rightness and be satisfied with it. Merely feeling right isn't enough. How can I know I am right? What is the device that makes me right?"

"I/we/Gaia do not know how it is that you come to the right decision. Is it important to know that as long as we have the decision?"

"You speak for the whole planet, do you? For the common consciousness of every dewdrop, of every pebble, of even the liquid central core of the planet?"

"I do, and so can any portion of the planet in which the intensity of the common consciousness is great enough."

"And is all this common consciousness satisfied to use me as a black box? Since the black box works, is it unimportant to know what is inside? —That doesn't suit me. I don't enjoy being a black box. I want to know what's inside. I want to know how and why I chose Gaia and Galaxia as the future, so that I can rest and be at peace."

"But why do you dislike or distrust your decision so?"

Trevize drew a deep breath and said slowly, in a low and forceful voice, "Because I don't want to be part of a superorganism. I don't want to be a dispensable part to be done away with whenever the superorganism judges that doing away would be for the good of the whole."

Dom looked at Trevize thoughtfully. "Do you want to change your decision, then, Trev? You can, you know."

"I long to change the decision, but I can't do that merely because I dislike it. To do something now, I have to know whether the decision is wrong or right. It's not enough merely to feel it's right."

"If you feel you are right, you are right." Always that slow, gentle voice that somehow made Trevize feel wilder by its very contrast with his own inner turmoil.

Then Trevize said, in half a whisper, breaking out of the insoluble oscillation between feeling and knowing, "I must find Earth."

"Because it has something to do with this passionate need of yours to know?"

"Because it is another problem that troubles me unbearably and because I feel there is a connection between the two. Am I not a black box? I feel there is a connection. Isn't that enough to make you accept it as a fact?"

"Perhaps," said Dom, with equanimity.

"Granted it is now thousands of years—twenty thousand perhaps—since the people of the Galaxy have concerned themselves with Earth, how is it possible that we have all forgotten our planet of origin?"

"Twenty thousand years is a longer time than you realize. There are many aspects of the early Empire we know little of; many legends that are almost surely fictitious but that we keep repeating, and even believing, because of lack of anything to substitute. And Earth is older than the Empire."

"But surely there are some records. My good friend, Pelorat, collects myths and legends of early Earth; anything he can scrape up from any source. It is his profession and, more important, his hobby. Those myths and legends are all there are. There are no actual records, no documents."

"Documents twenty thousand years old? Things decay, perish, are destroyed through inefficiency or war."

"But there should be records of the records; copies, copies of the copies, and copies of the copies of the copies; useful material much younger than twenty millennia. They have been removed. The Galactic Library at Trantor must have had documents concerning Earth. Those documents are referred to in known historical records, but the documents no longer exist in the Galactic Library. The references to them may exist, but any quotations from them do not exist."

"Remember that Trantor was sacked a few centuries ago."

"The Library was left untouched. It was protected by the personnel of the Second Foundation. And it was those personnel who recently discovered that material related to Earth no longer exists. The material was deliberately removed in recent times. Why?" Trevize ceased his pacing and looked intently at Dom. "If I find Earth, I will find out what it is hiding—"

"Hiding?"

"Hiding or being hidden. Once I find that out, I have the feeling I will know why I have chosen Gaia and Galaxia over our individuality. Then, I presume, I will know, not feel, that I am correct, and if I am correct"—he lifted his shoulders hopelessly—"then so be it."

"If you feel that is so," said Dom, "and if you feel you must hunt for Earth, then, of course, we will help you do as much as we can. That help, however, is limited. For instance, I/we/Gaia do not know where Earth may be located among the immense wilderness of worlds that make up the Galaxy."

"Even so," said Trevize, "I must search. —Even if the endless powdering of stars in the Galaxy makes the quest seem hopeless, and even if I must do it alone."

2.

Trevize was surrounded by the tameness of Gaia. The temperature, as always, was comfortable, and the air moved pleasantly, refreshing but not chilling. Clouds drifted across the sky, interrupting the sunlight now and then, and, no doubt, if the water vapor level per meter of open land surface dropped sufficiently in this place or that, there would be enough rain to restore it.

The trees grew in regular spacings, like an orchard, and did so, no doubt, all over the world. The land and sea were stocked with plant and animal life in proper numbers and in the proper variety to provide an appropriate ecological balance, and all of them, no doubt, increased and decreased in numbers in a slow sway about the recognized optimum. —As did the number of human beings, too.

Of all the objects within the purview of Trevize's vision, the only wild card in the deck was his ship, the Far Star.

The ship had been cleaned and refurbished efficiently and well by a number of the human components of Gaia. It had been restocked with food and drink, its furnishings had been renewed or replaced, its mechanical workings rechecked. Trevize himself had checked the ship's computer carefully.

Nor did the ship need refueling, for it was one of the few gravitic ships of the Foundation, running on the energy of the general gravitational field of the Galaxy, and that was enough to supply all the possible fleets of humanity for all the eons of their likely existence without measurable decrease of intensity.

Three months ago, Trevize had been a Councilman of Terminus. He had, in other words, been a member of the Legislature of the Foundation and, ex officio, a great one of the Galaxy. Was it only three months ago? It seemed it was half his thirty-two-year-old lifetime since that had been his post and his only concern had been whether the great Seldon Plan had been valid or not; whether the smooth rise of the Foundation from planetary village to Galactic greatness had been properly charted in advance, or not.

Yet in some ways, there was no change. He was still a Councilman. His status and his privileges remained unchanged, except that he didn't expect he would ever return to Terminus to claim that status and those privileges. He would no more fit into the huge chaos of the Foundation than into the small orderliness of Gaia. He was at home nowhere, an orphan everywhere.

His jaw tightened and he pushed his fingers angrily through his black hair. Before he wasted time bemoaning his fate, he must find Earth. If he survived the search, there would then be time enough to sit down and weep. He might have even better reason then.

With determined stolidity, then, he thought back—

Three months before, he and Janov Pelorat, that able, naive scholar, had left Terminus. Pelorat had been driven by his antiquarian enthusiasms to discover the site of long-lost Earth, and Trevize had gone along, using Pelorat's goal as a cover for what he thought his own real aim was. They did not find Earth, but they did find Gaia, and Trevize had then found himself forced to make his fateful decision.

Now it was he, Trevize, who had turned half-circle—about-face—and was searching for Earth.

As for Pelorat, he, too, had found something he didn't expect. He had found the black-haired, dark-eyed Bliss, the young woman who was Gaia, even as Dom was—and as the nearest grain of sand or blade of grass was. Pelorat, with the peculiar ardor of late middle age, had fallen in love with a woman less than half his years, and the young woman, oddly enough, seemed content with that.

It was odd—but Pelorat was surely happy and Trevize thought resignedly that each person must find happiness in his or her own manner. That was the point of individuality—the individuality that Trevize, by his choice, was abolishing (given time) over all the Galaxy.

The pain returned. That decision he had made, and had had to make, continued to excoriate him at every moment and was—

"Golan!"

The voice intruded on Trevize's thoughts and he looked up in the direction of the sun, blinking his eyes.

"Ah, Janov," he said heartily—the more heartily because he did not want Pelorat guessing at the sourness of his thoughts. He even managed a jovial, "You've managed to tear yourself away from Bliss, I see."

Pelorat shook his head. The gentle breeze stirred his silky white hair, and his long solemn face retained its length and solemnity in full. "Actually, old chap, it was she that suggested I see you—about—about what I want to discuss. Not that I wouldn't have wanted to see you on my own, of course, but she seems to think more quickly than I do."

Trevize smiled. "It's all right, Janov. You're here to say good-bye, I take it."

"Well, no, not exactly. In fact, more nearly the reverse. Golan, when we left Terminus, you and I, I was intent on finding Earth. I've spent virtually my entire adult life at that task."

"And I will carry on, Janov. The task is mine now."

"Yes, but it's mine, also; mine, still."

"But—" Trevize lifted an arm in a vague all-inclusive gesture of the world about them.

Pelorat said, in a sudden urgent gasp, "I want to go with you."

Trevize felt astonished. "You can't mean that, Janov. You have Gaia now."

"I'll come back to Gaia someday, but I cannot let you go alone."

"Certainly you can. I can take care of myself."

"No offense, Golan, but you don't know enough. It is I who know the myths and legends. I can direct you."

"And you'll leave Bliss? Come, now."

A faint pink colored Pelorat's cheeks. "I don't exactly want to do that, old chap, but she said—"

Trevize frowned. "Is it that she's trying to get rid of you, Janov? She promised me—"

"No, you don't understand. Please listen to me, Golan. You do have this uncomfortable explosive way of jumping to conclusions before you hear one out. It's your specialty, I know, and I seem to have a certain difficulty in expressing myself concisely, but—"

"Well," said Trevize gently, "suppose you tell me exactly what it is that Bliss has on her mind in just any way you please, and I promise to be very patient."

"Thank you, and as long as you're going to be patient, I think I can come out with it right away. You see, Bliss wants to come, too."

"Bliss wants to come?" said Trevize. "No, I'm exploding again. I won't explode. Tell me, Janov, why would Bliss want to come along? I'm asking it quietly."

"She didn't say. She said she wants to talk to you."

"Then why isn't she here, eh?"

Pelorat said, "I think—I say I think—that she is rather of the opinion that you are not fond of her, Golan, and she rather hesitates to approach you. I have done my best, old man, to assure her that you have nothing against her. I cannot believe anyone would think anything but highly of her. Still, she wanted me to broach the subject with you, so to speak. May I tell her that you'll be willing to see her, Golan?"

"Of course, I'll see her right now."

"And you'll be reasonable? You see, old man, she's rather intense about it. She said the matter was vital and she must go with you."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

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(36)

4 Star

(17)

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(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A very fulfilling end to the Foundation series

    It must have been kinda hard to write the "Foundation" books... I mean, it's not like they have a lot of continuing characters other than the Foundations themselves and the Seldon plan. And the time period covered is hundreds of years (And, in this book, thousands of years are important to the plot). It took a sci fi writer that swung for the fences on a regular basis to even attempt it. Asimov was of the generation that still did that in their books though and he was more than up to it.

    The problem of continuing characters is dealt with here simply by using the same characters as the last book. That's a good thing - it wouldn't have worked otherwise. And Asimov definitely swung for the fences on this one - not only is it a summation of one of his career defining series but it also ties together his other books in a neat package.

    Does it work? Oh yes... it works in spades.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2008

    Spectacular Odyssey of Time and Space

    I am having some trouble comprehending why this novel received such poor reviews. Perhaps it is not the greatest in the Foundation Series (that would undeniably be Foward the Foundation) it has definately distinguished itself amongst the countless science-fiction novels of this century, and should not be dismissed by readers of any era.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2008

    Favorite of all 5 novels! BEST BOOK EVER : )

    This books is a terrific mix of adventure and philosophy. Each page is a grand new leap in the adventure, it's absolutely compelling as you inch closer and closer, planet to planet, towards the truth. What happened to Earth? What will happen to all life as we know it? Issac Asimov puts forth a powerful concept and tells it with the grace of a master story teller. He has both a scientific mind and a grand understanding of human nature. Now this entire series is my favorite of any science fiction I've ever read. I'm tempted to read it again too. I've seen people put down horribly wrong ratings for this book and it deeply hurts, but then again I guess I know how they feel... I've read many series that have a unimpressive and/or let down of a ending. THIS IS DIFFERENT! Any open mind will see the insight in this novel and will enjoy the thrill of being on an adventure. READ IT!!!!! and have a wonderful day :)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    Asimov is still a thrilling read

    I recommend any of his books. Even though they are written a while back they are still thrilling and interesting

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 1999

    The End?

    Foundation and Earth is the conclusion to one of the most engrossing Sci Fi stories ever told. In a collection of works that spans decades, Asimov has assembled for the reader a concrete Universe of the future. Those fans of the Foundation stories will probably find this work somewhat puzzling. Indeed, it would seem to me that this book is really more of a conclusion of the old Robot novels than of the Foundation stories. True lovers of the old robot novels, will definaley want to read this title that deals with the fates of most of the worlds dealt with in the robot series. As a self-contained book, Foundation and Earth is a failure. Indeed, this work is clearly not among Asimovs best. The main problem is that Asimov feels compelled to wrap up the entire 15 book series. As a foundation novel it is also a failure, as the Foundation is a mere afterthought in this work. However, for all its flaws, I enjoyed this work. Maybe it is because this is the end of the line, although the end of the book leaves open the possility of an endless slew of other books. Asimov, howvever, devoted the last years of his life with Seldon, not Galaxia. I major warning, those who have read all of Asimovs works will find this book a bore, since a great deal of the book concerns redistributing knowledge that to a great extent, the educated reader may already know.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    Boring and dull

    This had to be the worst novel in the series. Dull beyond anything I have read from Asimov.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2008

    Truncated Foundation

    I am gratified to find that, in Mr. Chambs, I've found someone who was as disappointed with 'Foundation And Earth' as being the final act in the whole megillah of the Foundation Series as well as being horribly dry if taken by itself, and without some fancase getting in my face about 'insulting' Mr. Asimov or his work as if he was the Pope cranking out a load of papal bull. Don't get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed the bulk of his writings 'although I will submit that my exposure to Isaac Asimov's work was initially 'Foundation's Edge', which I enjoyed thoroughly, and then the original 3 novels', but I do not succumb easily to the convenience of putting anyone- certainly not in the creative or entertainment field- on some invisible pedestal. (There are several science-fiction authors I have come to dislike, most of whom have pedestals of their own, and I digress that Mr. Asimov is not one of them.) Back on topic: my only real enjoyment of F&E was the 'last gasp' inclusion of R. Daneel Olivaw, the robot, something I was not expecting 'both of my brothers are science-fiction fans as well, and when I was getting into Asimov's books they would often slip me their copies of 'The Naked Sun' and 'I, Robot' unexpectedly'. Outside of that, the whole U-turn of Galaxia instead of the Foundation, and putting a cynical, yet emotionally-naive pseudoidealist like Golan Trevize in the driver's seat with nothing to go on but his intuition and a boatload of dumb luck just to _get_ to Earth...that Asimov left it there and posed the excuse- I cannot call it anything else- that he 'didn't know where to go with it' ('The Foundation Series'). We needed that. I enjoyed 'Forward The Foundation', which I finally read for the first time a week or so ago, but I honestly think Asimov's last work should've been the real, and satisfying, completion of the Foundation Series, even if it was just to provide some finality to the events in Foundation and Earth, which were woefully inadequate in that manner. At least that he not leave it where it was! But of course, the man is no longer with us in flesh 'and I submit that I did not become directly involved in science-fiction fandom until after his death', so who cares, right?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2006

    Don't read... please

    Jabber-jabber-jabber. That's all it ever is: Golan Trevize talk about this, Janov Pelorat talk about that, Bliss throws in a few remarks here and there... you get the picture. Also, I had to keep glancing at the cover to remind myself this was a Foundation novel. I give it one star because Golan gets laid in the first few chapters.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2006

    Don't bother

    The novel explains nothing about Galaxia and I think the word 'foundation' appears only a handful of times. Asimov is a marvelous writer, but this final foundation novel is an utter failure.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2011

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