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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
A Second Foundation Is Set
Isaac Asimov's original Foundation trilogy is rightfully hailed as one of the classic cornerstone series of SF; in 1965 it even won the author a prestigious Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series." Taking up where the late great master left off, a second Foundation trilogy has been completed by bestselling modern authors Gregory Benford Foundation's Fear , Greg Bear Foundation and Chaos , and now David Brin, who delivers the concluding chapter, Foundation's Triumph .
For those unfamiliar with the series, here's a little background: Humanity constitutes a vast galactic empire so widespread and chaotic that it is doomed to crumble and leave the governments and cultures of 25 million worlds in utter ruin, paving the way for a dark age of barbarism that will last centuries. Hari Seldon, a brilliant mathematician, is the only man capable and willing to do what must be done in order to avert such a disaster. He is the "father" of psychohistory, a science/philosophy capable of scientifically predicting the far future. Hari creates the Encyclopedia Galactica, a storehouse of data that will contain the vast knowledge of all of humanity. A race of immortal robots is also doing all it can to aid the long-term interests of the human race, sometimes working with Hari but more often than not simply using him for itsr own ends. Hari's "Foundation" for a better tomorrow will be carried on by future generations, including his own granddaughter, Wanda, and others known as "The Fifty."
In Foundation's Triumph we discoverthatHari Seldon, now quite elderly, is prepared to die: His Foundation is doomed to fail, but he's already provided for that fact. The Fifty will ensure that a superior second Foundation will prevail. Still, Hari is haunted by the concept of chaos planets — worlds that originally draw the brightest and most artistic people to them for a renaissance of art and science, but which eventually lead to debauchery and apathy. These worlds might disrupt his plans, and despite his long-range designs, he has many doubts. When a young mathematician named Horis Antic developes a new theory that deals with cosmic currents and how they affect the soil of worlds and the evolution of planetary life, Hari is off on one last wild adventure.
Also involved here is Dors Venabili, Hari's robot wife, who was forced to leave her husband for the greater good of humanity, as dictated by the 20,000-year-old robot, Daneel Olivaw. Daneel has been planning in secret to create Galaxia, an expansive universal intelligence that will watch over humankind. However, also at work behind the scenes is Lodovic Trema, the robot who is no longer a robot, a rebel free from robotic laws and in essence "human," who feels that humanity would be better off without Daneel overseeing its interests.
Brin has created the most human volume of either Foundation series, with a huge cast of characters who emote, react, fear, loathe, waver, and desire throughout. Brin was in the unenviable position of tying up an enormous and complex narrative saga spanning 20 centuries into the future and another 20 into the past. The author should be commended for realizing that the only way to draw all the elements together is by focusing on the emotional underpinning of the main characters as the Foundation looms closer. Brin skillfully and cleverly weaves the complexities of plot of an entire, lengthy historical chronicle into a relatively short novel that brims with imaginative energy and impassioned resolve. Foundation's Triumph is an ambitious, fascinating conclusion that will astound and satisfy fans of the original novels.