Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy is one of the highwater marks of science fiction.The monumental story of a Galactic Empire in decline and a secret society of scientists who seek to shorten the coming Dark Age with tools of Psychohistory, Foundation pioneered many themes of modern science fiction.Now, with the approval of the Asimov estate, three of today's most acclaimed authors have completed the epic the Grand Master left unfinished.
The Second Foundation Trilogy begins with Gregory Benford's Foundation's Fear, telling the origins of Hari Seldon, the Foundation's creator. Greg Bear's Foundation and Chaos relates the epic tale of Seldon's downfall and the first stirrings of robotic rebellion. Now, in David Brin's Foundation's Triumph, Seldon is about to escape exile and risk everything for one final quest-a search for knowledge and the power it bestows. The outcome of this final journey may secure humankind's future-or witness its final downfall...
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"As for me ... I am finished."
Those words resonated in his mind. They clung, like the relentless blanket that Hari's nurse kept straightening across his legs, though it was a warm day in the imperial gardens.
I am finished.
The relentless phrase was his constant companion.
In front of Hari Seldon lay the rugged slopes of Shoufeen Woods, a wild portion of the Imperial Palace grounds where plants and small animals from across the galaxy mingled in rank disorder, clumping and spreading unhindered. Tall trees even blocked from view the ever-present skyline of metal towers. The mighty worid-city surrounding this little island forest.Trantor.
Squinting through failing eyes, one could almost pretend to be sitting on a different planet--one that had not been flattened and subdued in service to the Galactic Empire of Humanity.
The forest teased Hari. Its total absence of straight lines seemed perverse, a riot of greenery that defied any effort to decipher or decode. The geometries seemed unpredictable, even chaotic.
Mentally, he reached out to the chaos, so vibrant and undisciplined. He spoke to it as an equal. His great enemy.
All my life I fought against you, using mathematics to overcome nature's vast complexity. With tools of psychohistory, I probed the matrices of human society, wresting order from that murky tangle. And when my victories still felt incomplete, I used politics and guile to combat uncertainty, driving you like an enemy before me.
So why now, at my time of supposed triumph, do I hear you calling out to me? Chaos, my old foe?
Hari's answer came in the samephrase that kept threading his thoughts.Because I am finished.
Finished as a mathematician.
It was more than a year since Stettin Palver or Gaal Dornick or any other member of the Fifty had consulted Hari with a serious permutation or revision to the "Seldon Plan." Their awe and reverence for him was unchanged. But urgent tasks kept them busy. Besides, anyone could tell that his mind no longer had the suppleness to juggle a myriad abstractions at the same time. It took a youngster's mental agility, concentration, and arrogance to challenge the hyperdimensional algorithms of psychohistory. His successors, culled from among the best minds on twenty-five million worlds, had all these traits in superabundance.
But Hari could no longer afford conceit. There remained too little time.Finished as a politician.
How he used to hate that word! Pretending, even to himself, that he wanted only to be a meek academic. Of course, that had just been a marvelous pose. No one could rise to become First Minister of the entire human universe without the talent and audacity of a master manipulator. Oh, he had been a genius in that field, too, wielding power with flair, defeating enemies, altering the lives of trillions-while complaining the whole time that he hated the job.
Some might look back on that youthful record with ironic pride. But not Hari Seldon.Finished as a conspirator.
He had won each battle, prevailed in every contest. A year ago, Hari subtly maneuvered today's imperial rulers into creating ideal circumstances for his secret psychohistorical design to flourish. Soon a hundred thousand exiles would be stranded on a stark planet, faraway Terminus, charged with producing a great Encyclopedia Galactica. But that superficial goal would peel away in half a century, revealing the true aim of that Foundation at the galaxy's rim-to be the embryo of a more vigorous empire as the old one fell. For years that had been the focus of his daily ambitions, and his nightly dreams. Dreams that reached ahead, across a thousand years of social collapse--past an age of suffering and violence--to a new human fruition. A better destiny for humankind.
Only now his role in that great enterprise was ended. Hari had just finished taping messages for the Time Vault on Terminus--a series of subtle bulletins that would occasionally nudge or encourage members of the Foundation as they plunged toward a bright morrow preordained by psychohistory. When the final message was safely stored, Hari felt a shift in the attitudes of those around him. He was still esteemed, even venerated. But he wasn't necessary anymore.
One sure sign had been the departure of his bodyguards--a trio of humaniform robots that Daneel Olivaw had assigned to protect Hari, until the transcriptions were finished. It happened right there, at the recording studio. One robot-artfully disguised as a burly young medical technician--had bowed low to speak in Hari's ear."We must go now. Daneel has urgent assignments for us. But he bade me to give you his promise. Daneel will visit soon. The two of you will meet again, before the end."
Perhaps that wasn't the most tactful way to put it. ButHarialways preferred blunt openness from friends and family.
Unbidden, a clear image from the past swept into mind--of his wife, Dors Venabili, playing with Raych, their son. He sighed. Both Dors and Raych were long gone--along with nearly every link that ever bound him closely to another private soul.
This brought a final codea to the phrase that kept spinning through his mind--Finished as a person.
The doctors despaired over extending his life, even though eighty was rather young to die of decrepit age nowadays.But Hari saw no point in mere existence for its own sake.Especially if he could no longer analyze or affect the universe.
Is that why I drift here, to this grove?He pondered the wild, unpredictable forest--a mere pocket in the Imperial Park, which measured a hundred miles on a side--the only expanse of greenery on Trantor's mental-encased crust.Most expanse of greenery on Trantor's metal-encased crust.Foundation's Triumph. Copyright © by David Brin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Table of Contents
|Timeline for the Robots and Foundation Universe||319|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Of this new tilogy, this was the best of the three. The first was all most useless, the second was more in tune with Asimov's writing. This one could have been penned by the master himself . Well done sir.
boring, bad execution of a good idea. I expected better from the author of the Uplift series.
Boring. Three new Foundation books by the Killer Bs and the story didn't move forward even an inch. (Though the Schwartz connection was kinda cool.)
This "second conclusion" was anti-climactic for me. The writing itself is great and nicely consistent with Asimov's style. However, I found the whole peace vs. free will thing a bit predictable and hence overly attended across three hundred pages. The characterization is nice, especially Dors and Trema. The afterward includes a timeline of all the works - tight, yet with plenty of unexplored topics and space as fodder for future works.