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Reviews of Second Foundation (1953)

Review by enderwiggin (2009-09-11)
Second Foundation very successfully wraps up Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. In the second book, Foundation and Empire, the Mule searches for the elusive Second Foundation. In Second Foundation, the search for the Second Foundation is the main plot of the book.

The Second Foundation is the organization that was established by Hari Seldon at the same time as the Foundation. Seldon created the Second Foundation as a philosophical and psychohistorical organization to contrast with the First Foundation's affinity to science. It was originally meant to assist the Foundation in its upholding of the Seldon Plan, but had now started spoiling the Empire's plans and also infiltrating the minds of some of the greatest scientists of the Foundation.

The first part of the book, "Search by the Mule", concerns the Mule and his Empire. Two Imperial subjects, General Han Pritcher and Bail Channis, are sent by the Mule to search all over the Galaxy to try to find where the Second Foundation could be hidden.

The second part of the book, "Search by the Foundation", is about a few members of the Foundation. The bigger part of the second part concerns Arcadia Darrell, a young teenage girl. She, her father (the renowned scientist Toran Darrell), and a few of her father's friends make it their mission to figure out as much as they can about this Second Foundation that has been controlling the minds of so many people.

Second Foundation is the excellent finale to the acclaimed Foundation Trilogy. The plethora of characters with varying personalities and knowledge contrast with each other to make the reader guess where this Second Foundation can be hidden. Asimov keeps the reader's eyes bound to the book until the very last page. It is a superb novel with an excellent plot and an excellent writing style. It is a very successful ending to a very successful trilogy.

Grade: 9

Review by johnafair (2006-02-10)
Split into two parts, again reflecting it's original magazine publication, this book details the search for the Second Foundation.
The Mule knew that the Second Foundation existed despite the fact that the missions he'd had scouring the galaxy for almost five years now had found nothing. He know it not just because of the dying words of Ebling Mis, but because some one with powers similar to his own was messing with his subordinates. In desperation, he orders general Pritcher and Bail Channis out to find the Foundation for him. The pair found something, but was it what they, or the Mule, were expecting?!
In the second part of the novel, the Mule's a couple of generations dead and the First Foundation is independant once again. But the First Foundation does not have the advantage of a technological edge any longer, and even more deadly, they believe that the Second Foundation would make sure that they would win whatever.
But a small band of men did not like this and they vowed to find the Second Foundation and destroy it. But it's Arkady Darell, granddaughter of Bayta, that would produce the necessary clue.

This is a bit uneven as Doctor Asimov was desparate to close down the Foundation Universe, He'd thought he'd done that when he'd left the Foundation occupied at the end of Foundation and Empire, but he was forced to resurrect it. In both of these stories, he tries to kill the Foundation universe with humour - the bits in 'Serach by the Mule' on Rossem were pretty silly and in 'Search by the Foundation', he does something more subtle; by making the conflict between the Foundation and Kalgan the last conflict of note, Asimov leaves almost 700 years of 'boring' consolidation...

There are bits I like in the book, particularly the initial meeting between Arkady and Pelleas Anthor, and the scene where Dr Darell's cabal all go through their various answers as to where they could find the mysterious Second Foundation.

Review by Penfold (2003-03-19)
Second Foundation is by far my favourite sci-fi book, forever keeping you on your toes. You will be constantly turning the pages wondering where Asimov will take you next. Brilliant.

Review by krypt (2003-03-08)
My personal favorite of the Foundation series. A mind-controlling mutant threatens the thousand year plan, or does he? A must read for any science fiction fan.

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