Foundation and Chaos (Second Foundation Series #2)

Foundation and Chaos (Second Foundation Series #2)

by Greg Bear

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061794957
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/17/2009
Series: Second Foundation Series , #2
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 236,553
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Greg Bear has won two Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards and is a past president to the Science Fiction Writers of America. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


The centuries recede, and the legend of Hari Seldon grows: the brilliant man, wise man, sad man who charted the course of the human future in the old Empire. But revisionist views prosper, and cannot always be easily dismissed. To understand Seldon, we are sometimes tempted to refer to apocrypha, myths, even fairy tales from those distant times. We are frustrated by the contradictions of incomplete documents and what amount to hagiographies.
This we know without reference to the revisionists: that Seldon was brilliant, Seldon was key. But Seldon was neither saint nor divinely inspired prophet, and of course, he did not act alone. The most pervasive myths involve . . .
--Encyclopedia Galactica, 117th Edition, 1054 F.E.

Hari Seldon stood in slippered feet and a thick green scholar's robe on the enclosed parapet of an upperside maintenance tower, looking from an altitude of two hundred meters over the dark aluminum and steel surface of Trantor. The sky was quite clear over this Sector tonight, only a few vague clouds scudding before nacreous billows and sheets of stars like ghostly fire.
Beneath this spectacle, and beyond the ranks of gently curving domes, obscured and softened by night, lay a naked ocean, its floating aluminum covers pulled aside across hundreds of thousands of hectares. The revealed sea glowed faintly, as if in response to the sky. He could not remember the name of this sea: Peace, or Dream, or Sleep. All the hidden oceans of Trantor had such ancient names, nursery names to soothe. The heart of the Empire needed soothing as much as Hari; soothing, not sooth.
Warm sweet air swirled around his head andshoulders from a vent in the wall behind him. Hari had discovered that the air here was the purest of any in Streeling, perhaps because it was drawn directly from outside. The temperature beyond the plastic window registered at two degrees, a chill he would well remember from his one misadventure upperside, decades before.
He had spent so much of his life enclosed, insulated from the chill as well as the freshness, the newness, much as the numbers and equations of psychohistory insulated him from the harsh reality of individual lives. How can the surgeon work efficiently and still feel the pain of the carved flesh?
In a real sense, the patient was already dead. Trantor, the political center of the Galaxy, had died decades, perhaps centuries before, and was only now obviously falling to rot. While Hari's brief personal flame of self would flicker out long before the Empire's embers powdered to ash, through the equations of the Project he could see clearly the rigor of morbidity, the stiffening face of the Empire's corpse.
This awful vision had made him perversely famous, and his theories known throughout Trantor, and in many parts of the Galaxy. He was called "Raven" Seldon, harbinger of nightmare doom.
The rot would last five more centuries, a simple and rapid deflation on the time-scales of Hari's broadest equations . . . Social skin collapsing, then melting away over the steel bones of Trantor's Sectors and municipalities . . .
How many human tales would fill that collapse! An empire, unlike a corpse, continues to feel pain after death. On the scale of the most minute and least reliable equations, sparkling within the displays of his powerful Prime Radiant, Hari could almost imagine a million billion faces blurred together in an immense calculus to fill the area beneath the Empire's declining curve. Acceleration of decay marked by the loci of every human story, almost as many as the points on a plane . . . Beyond understanding, without psychohistory.
It was his hope to foster a rebirth of something better and more durable than the Empire, and he was close to success . . . according to the equations.
Yet still his most frequent emotion these days was cold regret. To live in a bright and youthful period, the Empire at its most glorious, stable and prosperous--that would be worth all his eminence and accomplishment!
To have returned to him the company of his adopted son Raych, and Dors, mysterious and lovely Dors Venabili, who harbored within tailored flesh and secret steel the passion and devotion of any ten heroes . . . For their return alone he would multiply geometrically the signs of his own decay, aching limbs and balky bowels and blurred eyesight.
This night, however, Hari was close to peace. His bones did not ache much. He did not feel the worms of grief so sharply. He could actually relax and look forward to an end to this labor.
The pressures pushing him were coming to a hard center. His trial would begin within a month. He knew its outcome with reasonable certainty. This was the Cusp Time. All that he had lived and worked for would be realized soon, his plans moving on to their next step--and to his exit. Conclusions within growth, stops within the flow.
He had an appointment soon to meet with young Gaal Dornick, a significant figure in his plans. Mathematically, Dornick was far from being a stranger; yet they had not met before.
And Hari believed he had seen Daneel once again, though he was not sure. Daneel would not have wanted him to be sure; but perhaps Daneel wanted him to suspect.
So much of what passed for history on Trantor now reeked of misery. In statecraft, after all, confusion was misery--and sometimes misery was a necessity. Hari knew that Daneel still had much work to do, in secret; but Hari would never--could never--tell any other human. Daneel had made sure of that. And for that reason Hari could never speak the complete truth about Dors, the true tale of the odd and virtually perfect relationship he had had with a woman who was not a woman, not even human, yet friend and lover.
Hari, in his weariness, resisted but could not suppress a sentimental sadness. Age was tainted and the old were haunted by the loss of lovers and friends. How grand it would be if he could visit with Daneel again! Easy to see, in his mind's eye, how that visit would go: after the joy of reunion, Hari would vent some of his anger at the restrictions and demands Daneel had placed upon him. The best of friends, the most compelling of taskmasters.

Table of Contents

Interviews

On Tuesday, March 3rd, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Greg Bear to discuss FOUNDATION AND CHAOS.


Moderator: Welcome, Greg Bear! Thank you for joining us online tonight. How is everything?

Greg Bear: All seems well! Is the title of the discussion an elaboration on my title? Which is, of course, FOUNDATION AND CHAOS...


Mark from NYC: Do you ever worry that Asimov would not approve of what you're doing? No offense intended -- I love the series!

Greg Bear: Good question! We've all tried to be totally faithful to the feel of the series and to the problems Isaac posed for us all. Inevitably, there would probably be some disagreements about characters, etc.; I'd doubtless feel the same about someone working in my universes!


Susan P. from aol.com: Do you have a personal favorite work by Isaac Asimov? Did either of you have the pleasure of knowing him while he was alive?

Greg Bear: I think my favorite works are the Robot Novels. It was a treat working with Isaac's robot characters, R. Daneel Olivaw in particular. I met Isaac three times -- never long enough! He rarely left the New York area.


Alex from Williamsburg: What's it like to work with Gregory Benford?

Greg Bear: Working with Gregory and David Brin has been a treat. We're all friends, we never argue with each other... we all have a group mind! Actually, we went through some moderately rigorous debates, but never rancorous. We work together quite well, as long as we leave each other alone for days at a time to write...!


Harley D. from Mamaroneck, NY: Do you try to "sound" like Asimov when you write? Do you ever get a twinge of an identity complex? I mean, it is your name on the cover, so do you consider this your own original work in the "vein" of Isaac Asimov? I'm very curious. Thanks!

Greg Bear: It's impossible to sound like Isaac. His style was deceptively clean and clear... But I think it is possible to work within his characters and by doing that to bring out much of his flavor. Isaac's characters are a remarkably civilized group, even his villains!


Ted Rowan from NYC: What periods in history do you enjoy studying, with your writing in mind? Thanks.

Greg Bear: I'm a great fan of ancient history, as Isaac was. I am also fond of the American Civil War, especially the period just before the war; World War II, history of technology, you name it!


Mary from New Hampshire: Hello Mr. Bear! How did you get into writing science fiction?

Greg Bear: I began as a child -- literally. Seeing a Ray Harryhausen movie got my mind perking when I was seven years old, and by the time I was eight, I was writing, illustrating, and binding my own stories. I read science fiction from the age of nine -- beginning with Heinlein's RED PLANET.


Roger Etite from Boulder, CO: Bear, Benford, Brin ... what's up with the trilogy of Bs? Significant at all? You guys always in the alphabetical lines together or something, and got to talking? :)

Greg Bear: You've read about Dolly? We're all clones. Actually, Gregory is a clone... of his twin brother, Jim! I think it's all coincidence, actually. But we do all share the same first initials... GB.


Eugene from Seattle, WA: What is the origin of SECOND FOUNDATION? The name and the series, respectively?

Greg Bear: Ours is the Second Foundation Trilogy, so to speak, though there have been enough "trilogies" in the series from Isaac's pen to make it a moot point! Good marketing, however. Isaac's SECOND FOUNDATION is, of course, the classic original volume two of the trilogy.


Matt from New York: Greg, I loved DINOSAUR SUMMER. With SUMMER and FOUNDATION, do you feel a great deal of pressure following up other people's creations and trying to make them your own without angering fans of the original?

Greg Bear: They do come out back-to-back! I've taken great care to respect the originals; but having said that, arrogance is a major asset in rearranging the furniture in the great mansions of past literature!


Tim Davis from Philadelphia, PA: Greg B., I thought DINOSAUR SUMMER was excellent. Did you have any say over the illustrations? What did you think of them? I haven't read FOUNDATION AND CHAOS yet, but i'm dying to.

Greg Bear: I worked with Tony DiTerlizzi and Betsy Mitchell and art director Don Puckey. Tony's work was pretty great without any input from me, and the book has turned out beautifully! All congrats to those who had the guts to take a chance! And thanks especially to Tony, who gives it a unique and wonderful feel.


Ian Sharpe from Princeton, NJ: I am wondering about the origin of your characters' names.

Greg Bear: In FOUNDATION AND CHAOS, I try to follow Isaac's format for creating names -- sometimes with just mild variations from present names.


Nick from New York City: Any chance we will see FOUNDATION AND CHAOS on the big screen?

Greg Bear: Gregory Benford tells me that a "Foundation" movie has begun pre-production, but it will, of course, be based on the originals.


Lisa Green from New York City: Do you have to do a lot of research for your novels, including this one, particularly the ones that have a "hard-SF" edge to them? Just finished SLANT, by the way...great!

Greg Bear: I love reading and researching, and my books usually require a great deal of both -- background reading I've already done and new research. For F&C I had to read all of Isaac's books over again to catch the facts and feel, and of course to read Gregory's book in manuscript. For SLANT, the research was more direct. Talking with movers and shakers in software and modern entertainment, putting two and two together... Listening and drawing my own conclusions. For the current novel in progress, DARWIN'S RADIO, I have a stack of books on biology and evolution to get through... Texts, mostly. All fascinating and very challenging.


Yvette from Raleigh, NC: Who were your science fiction teachers?

Greg Bear: Just about all the great writers. Elizabeth Chater, my professor at San Diego State University, was a great encouragement, and still is! Ray Bradbury and I began our friendship and correspondence 30 years ago and still get together whenever we can. So many others!


Paul from Morris Plains, NJ: Do you think that sci-fi writing of today is different from the '50s and '60s? Many people believe during those years sci-fi peaked. What do you think?

Greg Bear: SF today is marvelously rich and accomplished, but it won't have the same feel as something you first read when you were 12! I know that a fair number of writers have me running as fast as I can in hopes of keeping up! Of course, I've always felt that way about Benford!


Jack from Alabama: How was it decided who would write which part in the series?

Greg Bear: I don't remember feeling too cramped, though I did joke about it. Having to follow on from both Isaac and Gregory, in FOUNDATION'S FEAR, was a bit of a challenge, but Gregory's book was wonderful, with many wonderful possibilities to play with.


Joe from Troy, NY: It says in your bio you have been writing since 1967, although I didn't know about your work until BLOOD MUSIC in the '80s. Was there a time when you didn't think you would ever get the recognition you deserved?

Greg Bear: Of course. No writer is ever happy with the recognition they've received. If we have fame and literary credit, but no money, we worry about money -- if we have money but get terrible reviews, we worry about that! Being a writer is never easy and never comfortable!


Georgette from Rockville Centre, NY: Hi, how's Seattle? My question is, do you think that a future FOUNDATION could exist on Earth, or in space, where scientists like Hari would be altering the future? Basically, how plausible in your mind is the scenario you write about?

Greg Bear: Wow! Terrific idea for a novel... FOUNDATION is taking place right now, and Earth is a backwater about to be (re-)discovered! Given the time scales and distances and numbers of stars involved, the only thing I have difficulty imagining in the FOUNDATION universe is how one world could control so many millions of others. I tried to suggest the scale of this problem by pointing out that the information coming in to Trantor by whatever means could easily heat the planet's surfacet to white heat!


Franklin from Indiana: Who would you consider the five best sci-fi writers in the history of the genre?

Greg Bear: Much too much of a tough question. There are easily 30 or 40 who influenced me, some considered major writers, others less well known. The majors are obvious--but have you ever heard of Richard McKenna? M. K. Joseph? William Hope Hodgson? Some may not have heard of the great British writer Olaf Stapledon...


Matt from New York: Okay, I give up. Greg, I love your short stories, but I cannot find any of your collections.THE VENGING, BEAR'S FANTASIES, EARLY HARVEST, TANGENTS...you're killing me! I can't find any of them :) Any chance of a mainstream publisher doing a collection soon?

Greg Bear: I hope to bring out an omnibus collection soon. The collections are all out of print right now. THE VENGING was a British edition of WIND FROM A BURNING WOMAN (still available in a hardcover edition from Arkham House, by the way), with one additional story, the title story. Seems the British had a thing about the original title...


Scifiguy from somewhere else: What games did you play as a kid? I find that you can learn a lot about a science fiction writer by what he played and what toys or hobbies he liked most as a kid. Thanks!

Greg Bear: As a kid, I built plastic models, read books, collected coins for a while... My major hobbies involve reading and movies and music.


Joseph P. from Florida: Greg, you've done a good dose of limited editions and small-press books. Any plans of doing any kind of limited editions again soon? I'm a collector and just recently have gotten into your stuff.

Greg Bear: FOUNDATION AND CHAOS is coming from Easton Press in a signed edition, but there are no plans for other limited editions at the moment.


Steve Michaels from AOL: Greg, I see that you've edited an anthology of Hard SF stories. Who do you think are some of the genre's hot up-and-comers?

Greg Bear: Everyone listed in NEW LEGENDS! And a number of others besides, of course. Baxter, Egan, Goonan, Griffith, Nagata, Macauley... so many more!


Jasper from Toronto, Canada: Would you ever take a robot bride? Just joking -- but do you see it happening one day?

Greg Bear: It's certainly going to happen. I believe the artist Kokoschka is credited with inventing the first prosthetute... non-robotic, of course. Isaac's robots are just human enough that it doesn't seem too perverse.


Dean from Montreal, Canada: I was just wondering what your writing routine is like? Do you write for a certain maount of time each day? Seven days a week? Beginning writer here.

Greg Bear: I write during weekdays, sometimes weekends, and try to turn out between four and five pages a day. Regularly!


Theresa X from cyberspace: Would you agree with the statement that science fiction and fantasy writers rely on one another more than authors of other genres?

Greg Bear: We certainly do. And judging from many modern movies, a number of prominent filmmakers rely on us, as well! My credo is, if I borrow an idea, I must return it with interest... and credit the origin!


Tim B. from San Francisco, CA: I'm a huge fan of horror fiction, and I still think BLOOD MUSIC is one of the scariest novels I've ever read. Do you think you could ever see yourslf doing a horror novel that didn't have SF overtones?

Greg Bear: PSYCHLONE is my ghost story, but it still has some SF overtones. (May have influenced some ideas in GHOSTBUSTERS, a film I enjoyed a lot.) I haven't written much in the horror genre besides this one, but I enjoy ghost and horror stories a great deal.


David from Syosset, NY: What is it about space and other worlds that is so intriguing to science fiction writers? Is it all metaphor for the world we do inhabit?

Greg Bear: Metaphor, certainly, but also real places we're going to visit and be a part of someday, in a big way. We have to prepare. Literature is all well and good, but thinking about real futures is essential.


Darango from Reston, VA: Regarding research... Do you focus your research activities looking for particular topics that support the ideas you are developing in your books, or do the research topics guide your ideas?

Greg Bear: Both!


Mark from NYC: Are there little inside jokes and hidden clues we should look for in these books? Things that all three authors planned to include ahead of time?

Greg Bear: Not too many, mostly those put in by Isaac. You might look up the Committees in the French revolutionary government...


Marcus from 75th Street: How does the science fiction writers' community (and readers, to an extent) feel about cloning? The inevitability of human cloning experiments? Welcomed evolution, or recognized prophecy? Thanks.

Greg Bear: SF has bypassed cloning for some time. Too obvious, too common. As I mentioned above, Gregory Benford is a clone... human cloning is coming, and not necessarily whole-body clones but duplicates for organ transplants, clones for replacing children who have died, a great many humanitarian and useful possibilities!


Patrick from Brooklyn, NY: Who actually decided the path the story line would take? What kind of process is necessary for divying up a story among three writers -- particularly three writers who all have their own distinctive styles and followings.

Greg Bear: We all chose our own periods and our own stories. It just seemed to work out... we're flexible and work well together.


Neil from America Online: I've heard that BLOOD MUSIC actually appeared as a short story before it was a novel. is that true? Just curious, since I love the book so much. Keep up the great work. Loved SLANT and am reading DINOSAUR SUMMER right now.

Greg Bear: BLOOD MUSIC came out first in Analog as a novelette in 1983, and won the Nebula and Hugo awards in 1984. It's currently under option by Warren Zide. Thanks for the compliments!


Nick from New York City: Who do you think are some of the best sci-fi writers of all time? What do you think is the best sci-fi movie of the year?

Greg Bear: I enjoyed CONTACT a great deal. I'm a sucker for female scientists. As a complete change of pace, I thought THE FIFTH ELEMENT was a hoot, but it seemed to miss the critics completely.


Mark from Minnesota: I must confess to not having kept up with science fiction much in recent years. I am well familiar with the name of Greg Bear, but I haven't read any of your novels. Is there one you would suggest I start with?

Greg Bear: Perhaps EON, MOVING MARS, or BLOOD MUSIC.


Anne from Indiana: How important do you consider the Hugo and Nebula awards? You've certainly deserved the awards you've won (I love your books) but I know some authors just hate the whole awards scenario. Just wondering about your thoughts on it.

Greg Bear: Awards are a real crapshoot, involving equal mixes of irritation, anguish, and joy. They are terrible guides if all you read are award winners. Some of my best books were never nominated for awards, and, of course, many of my works that I prize most have won nothing!


Leslie Green from Trenton, NJ: Do you have a personal favorite of the novels that you've written?

Greg Bear: Difficult to say. QUEEN OF ANGELS is my most complex book, with the most pyrotechnics. MOVING MARS was my most complete character study. BLOOD MUSIC is perhaps my most original idea.


Darango from Reston, VA: Is writing a social or solitary experience for you? Does perfectionism help or hinder writing?

Greg Bear: I write alone and seldom collaborate. The social part is when readers and critics tell me how well (or not at all well) I've done. Perfectionism is great up to a point, but too much self-criticism leads to writer's block!


Moderator: Thank you for setting aside some time for us this evening, Mr. Greg Bear! We truly enjoyed having you. Thanks to all who asked such great questions. Mr. Bear, any final remarks before we part company tonight?

Greg Bear: Thanks to all those who showed up! Fine questions! Hope to see you all soon at conventions, signings, etc!


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Foundation and Chaos 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
JUST LIKE READING ASIMOV. BEAR SHOWS HIS VERSATILITY AND STRENGTH.GREAT JOB. TIES IN WITH THE LONG WINDED FIRST OF THE SERIES AND SETS UP THE LAST VERY WELL. IF YOU HAVE READ THE ROBOT SERIES AND THE FOUNDATION SERIES BY ASIMOV THIS IS A MUST. THE OTHER TWO BOOKS OF THE SECOND SERIES ARE UNNECESSARY.
Karlstar on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Yes, this is really a Foundation novel! One of three that fills in the gap in the Foundation novels, covering the time period between when the Foundation was started, and the rest of Hari Seldon's lifetime on Trantor. It ties in the Foundation novels and the Robot novels quite nicely, and felt like an Asimov book, even if it was a bit longer than an Asimov novel.
aethercowboy on LibraryThing 2 days ago
When another author takes the helm of a series after the previous author has passed away or otherwise abandoned their universe, the fans reaction is not always pleasant. The biggest argument you'll hear is that "it's never as good." The authors have to blend their own writing style while trying to mimic the style of their predecessor, and the end result is not always great. The Second Foundation trilogy, authorized by the Asimov estate, may be one of the few posthumous continuations you could read. Bear follows Benford (and is thus followed by Brin, making them the "killer b's"), providing a sequel to Foundation's Fear.FaC takes place at the same time as the first part of Foundation. The main character, R. Daneel Olivaw, takes the limelight away from Hari Seldon, the inventor of Psychohistory.Olivaw has to deal with an angry sect of Calvinian robots who do not agree that robots have free will, I mean, have the capabilities of the Zeroth Law (a law that supersedes the other three laws and puts humanity above individual humans). Meanwhile, he's affecting the mentality of humanity so as to keep them in check until they can be more responsible.Featured also are the rising telepaths, such as Seldon's granddaughter, who go on to form the Second Foundation, as well as a return of someone near to Seldon.Don't come to these books expecting more Asimovian craftsmanship. The Killer B's are not Asimov, which comes apparent while reading it. If you obsess about this point, you'll hate the series, but if you accept that they are not Asimov, but are simply writing books set in Asimov's universe, then you will definitely enjoy it more.If you're a fan of Foundation, or even of Bear, I'd recommend reading this book. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with Foundation's Fear, first, so you don't miss out on any vital plot details. It might also help to read the rest of the Foundation books, so, uh, clear your calendar.
jpsnow on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Probably my favorite thus far of the entire series - perfect pace and most interesting presentation of culture. Solid integration with all past books (some of which would happen in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not bad with the Robot interaction.
Alastair_Browne More than 1 year ago
Foundation and Chaos should be the third book, after Isaac Asimov's "Prelude to Foundation" and "Forward to Foundation." It fits well with these, rather than Benford's "Foundation's Fear." I have done a review of "Foundation's Fear," gave it a one star, and rated it as a poor novel that nobody, especially the Foundation fans should read, or even buy. I stand behind this. Benford's book died a quick and deserved death. Greg Bear's book, Foundation and Chaos, by contrast, is a vast improvement. It gets back on track with the Foundation series. It takes place after "Forward the Foundation," and contains several plots, along with a conclusion where the two Foundations are finally established, paving the way for Isaac Asimov's trilogy. Before I go into this, I will point out that the two sims, Voltaire and Joan of Arc are in this book, but only mentioned in a total of 10 to 15 pages. If you ignore those references, you will still have a complete book. Personally, I think Greg Bear should edit these out in future editions, but being part of "The Second Foundation Trilogy," Bear just had to include these. He does offer a good explanation of them as where one of the characters, a robot, does research on robots at a library on Trantor, and the Sims, the Memes, were created to preserve history, but a couple of them were released in the computer, and later, on fields and plasmas in the universe, so you don't have to read Benford's book to have an understanding of this (and by all means, please don't). One other error was the mention of the planet Nak, the largest inhabited planet in the galaxy, a gas giant four million kilometers wide. A planet that large is impossible to inhabit, because it is a gas giant, and the gravity, along with the gas, is so great, that it would crush any living being like a pancake. There are several plots and new characters, and thy do intertwine. It ends with the two Foundations being established, and it is a fitting addition to the "Prelude to Foundation Trilogy." Also note the title, "Foundation and Chaos." The Chaos worlds are those worlds that realize the empire is deteriorating, and attempt to establish their own separate cultures and civilizations, separate from the empire. However, the empire makes an attempt to suppress these worlds and get them back into the fold. The book doesn't say whether or not they succeed. This is only the second book in the actual new series, and "Foundation's Triumph," by David Brin follows, but that goes into the category of Asimov's two books, "Foundation's Edge," and "Foundation and Earth," covering a whole new concept.
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