Foundation and Earth by Asimov, Isaac, 1986

Foundation and Earth by Asimov, Isaac - Book cover from Amazon.co.uk

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Picking up right after Foundation's Edge left off, this book is the story of Trevize and Pelorat's continued search for the planet Earth. Recall in the last book that when asked for a decision between the militaristic and expansionist policies of the First Foundation, the mental control of the Second Foundation, or the mind-expanding and collaborative hive mind of the Gaians, Trevize chose the Gaian path for the Milky Way; one day the Milky Way would become Galaxia, an interconnected and powerful galaxy-wide consciousness that would be best able to deal with the possible threat of extra-galactic aliens. For Trevize the choice was easy to make, but afterwards he second guessed himself. In a fit of uncertainty and doubt, Trevize decided to continue the search for Earth, believing that finding that planet would somehow put his mind at rest. His biggest concern was that he has ruined the galaxy's citizen's rights to individuality, and was worried that once Galaxia came to being life would become uninteresting and would lose its special meaning for many.

The search had been going on for some time, and the only thing that the trio has been able to find out was that all evidence of Earth had been removed; wiped from even the computer records of the Second Foundation. Prompted by ancient myths telling that the planet was settled in an early expansionist wave from Earth, they decided to go to a planet called Comporellon. There they learned that the citizens of that planet had a religious taboo against discussing Earth. They thought that it existed in hyperspace and was unreachable, and was bathed in hard radiation. On Comporellon though they find a scientist/skeptic, who told them about the worlds of the Spacers, about whom legend said were once in a war with the Earthlings. He had written records with coordinates for three possible Spacer worlds. Trevize and his merry band, later including Fallom of Solaria, made off for the first of the three worlds. Fallom was a Spacer child that they encountered on the second of those three planets. Bliss forced Trevize to bring Fallom along, even though Trevize was pretty much disgusted with the child, who was hermaphrodytic. The three (later four) adventurers hopped around from star to star, continuously learning of new candidate stars, encountering worlds in different states of decay, all the while narrowing down the possible planets that Earth may have circled.

I really do not want to go through the plot here, as it was pretty boring. Suffice it to say that the group did eventually find Earth, where they learned not only that their entire journey was the result of psychic manipulation by a character of Asimov's from another series that was originally published decades ago, but also that they will all be saved (except for Fallom - its going to die for sure) by the deu-iest of all possible ex machinas. This book really was about nothing but wrapping up pretty much 90% of the fiction that Asimov had written in the past into one very, very neat little package, and probably about some wish fulfillment fantasies of the author. It is pretty clear to me that Trevize was a stand-in for Asimov, and I don't care what anyone else has to say about that. Its not that Trevize sounded or looked like Asimov, but it read to me as if Trevize was what Asimov wished he could have been. Just read the thing. You will see what I mean. There was no real purpose for this book at all, as all of the critical decisions had been made in Foundation's Edge.

Besides the weak ending there were other problems with the book. Trevize and Bliss were pretty much constantly at each other's throats, nitpicking each other into annoying frenzies of bitchiness. After 150 pages I could not take it any more and just tuned it out. Trevize's disgust with Fallom was even more tedious. Asimov's depiction of "ancient galactic" was just as annoying. Apparently anytime an author uses the words "thou," thy" and "canst," we the reader are supposed to translate those "old-English" stalwarts into "old-___________" language, as in "thou didst not miss a note!" It was like a bad D&D movie, and I dare not list "linguistics" as a tag for this book, lest others in the know laugh me down. I've said this before, and hopefully I will never have to say it again (thou I doubt it): I am not out of notes, but I think I'm done here. This one is only for completists and controversy seekers.

Copyright 2009, Gregory Tidwell

Reviewed by GTT · Rating Rating of 2 star(s)

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