Monday, January 31, 2011

Second Foundation (Book)

“There is an endless cycle of double-double-double-doublecrosses.”
Second Foundation, the third book in Isaac Asimov’s Hugo Award winning Foundation Series, is filled with intrigue, keeping the reader guessing until the very end. Like Foundation Empire, Second Foundation consists of two stores. The first ties up loose ends from the storyline in Foundation Empire concerning the Mule, the unaccounted for variable in the Sheldon Plan. The second answers many questions pertaining to the Second Foundation and the Sheldon Plan. The introduction of a precocious fourteen year-old girl, the granddaughter of the heroine in Foundation Empire, adds to the interest of the story.

The concept of the Sheldon Plan also made me think, my criteria for good science fiction. The basic premise is that Hari Sheldon could make galaxy wide predictions into the distant future based on psychohistory and the use of complex mathematical equations. It wasn’t a precise science, but rather a statistical model. He couldn’t predict the fate of particular individuals or small groups, but rather predict the trend of the larger populations. Somehow this makes a lot sense to me. When I read news stories, I wonder what a particular factor—like the possible extinction of honey bees—means to society and political structures.

Yes, yes, I was glad that I read the Foundation Trilogy. It was fun and interesting. Next up Foundation’s Edge, written almost thirty years after Foundation Empire.

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