Second Foundation

Second Foundation

So far the Foundation was safe. But there was a hidden Second Foundation to protect the first. The Mule has yet to find it, but he was getting closer all the time. The men of the Foundation sought it, too, to escape from Mule's mind control. Only Arkady, a 14 year-old girl seemed to have the answer, or did she...?...

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Title:Second Foundation
Author:Isaac Asimov
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Edition Language:English

Second Foundation Reviews

  • Apatt

    Poor Captain Han Pritcher. Mind control is a common sci-fi trope but the feelings or thoughts of the person under control are rarely explored. This is what makes Part 1 of

    so special. As I mentioned in my

    The Mule is a terrific villain, clever and ruthless but no exactly evil and a little pitiful

    Poor Captain Han Pritcher. Mind control is a common sci-fi trope but the feelings or thoughts of the person under control are rarely explored. This is what makes Part 1 of

    so special. As I mentioned in my

    The Mule is a terrific villain, clever and ruthless but no exactly evil and a little pitiful. This part of the book is entirely concerned with The Mule’s battle of wits against the eponymous Second Foundation. Where the First Foundation that we have come to know from the previous two books is made up of scientists the eponymous Second Foundation is made up of psychohistorians (or psychologists-cum-mathematicians). Their study and development of psychology over hundreds of years make the best of them the equals of the Mule in term of mental power. The showdown between a Second Foundation leader (“first Speaker”) and the Mule consist of moves and counter-moves almost entirely through dialog. This being Asimov the kickass climax does not actually involve feet coming into contact with posteriors; be that as it may the scene is very tautly written and has stayed with me for decades since I first read it.

    Part 2 of

    is mainly concerned with the First Foundation’s search for the Second with the intent of destroying it. This turn of event surprises me a bit, suddenly the Second Foundation is cast in the role of antagonists (“ubiquitous menace”) in spite of having saved the First’s bacon in the preceding part. This makes the First Foundation seems like terrible ingrates. On the other hand, nobody likes to have their minds tampered with so their hostility is somewhat understandable. Mixed into the main story arc of the search for the Second Foundation is a subplot concerning the First Foundation’s war with Kalgan. I personally find this warfare section a little dull compared to the much more interesting major plot; I am not at all surprised that I remember nothing of this aspect of the book from my previous reading.

    The world building in this third volume is the best of in the trilogy, I particularly enjoy Asimov’s description of the Second Foundation’s culture. They do not communicate by telepathy but conduct whole conversations in micro-gestures (actually much more interesting this way). The denouement at the end of the book is particularly ingenious. Asimov does seem to enjoy pulling the rug from under the readers’ feet, and his enjoyment is infectious.

    So that’s it, the entire legendary trilogy read in just one week due to the total page count being under 700 pages. My main reason for the reread is to go on to

    and subsequent Foundation novels, published around 30 years after the original trilogy which I have never read before. Really looking forward to that!

  • Sanjay Gautam

    What a great completion of the trilogy! This book, the last part of Foundation trilogy, was very captivating from the start and became even more interesting and enthralling leading to a great spellbinding climax. This trilogy has now entered to my all time favorite books. It has been a great experience reading Isaac Asimov.

  • Davyne DeSye

    This was a fabulous conclusion to the original trilogy!

    In the first book, we see the rise of the Foundation – the kernel of civilization around which the Second Galactic Empire will eventually rise after the fall of the First Galactic Empire… a foundation established for precisely that reason by the inestimable Hari Seldon, who – through his mathematics – can predict the future.

    In the second book, we see Seldon’s Plan shattered by the unexpected rise of a conqueror with mutant mental powers (the

    This was a fabulous conclusion to the original trilogy!

    In the first book, we see the rise of the Foundation – the kernel of civilization around which the Second Galactic Empire will eventually rise after the fall of the First Galactic Empire… a foundation established for precisely that reason by the inestimable Hari Seldon, who – through his mathematics – can predict the future.

    In the second book, we see Seldon’s Plan shattered by the unexpected rise of a conqueror with mutant mental powers (the “Mule”) – something Seldon’s mathematics could not foresee nor account for. Thankfully, the Mule is stopped through the bravery and intelligence of one woman, and through the help of the secret Second Foundation.

    In this book, we are about 500 years into the single millennium Seldon’s Plan predicts before the Foundation will establish the Second Galactic Empire. The problem? The Second Foundation, whose purpose it is to protect and continue Seldon’s Plan, is no longer secret. Both the Mule (who was stopped in his expansion) wants to find the Second Foundation and wipe it out and the Foundation (the First Foundation) doesn’t like the idea of being manipulated by some secret outer force and, therefore, also wants to find the Second Foundation and wipe out for reasons of its own.

    The first half of this book is about the Mule’s search for the Second Foundation which revolves around a bunch of intrigue involving mind control. I love this part of the book because the Mule is such a fascinating and enigmatic creature (well… man, but still… creature might be a better descriptor). This part of the book also includes a lot of double-double crosses that keep the reader guessing all the way.

    The second half of this book is about (after the Mule’s eventual death) the search for the Second Foundation by the First. I love this part of the book because the heroine is Arkady, a 14-year-old girl who has all the spunk, intelligence and teenaged neurosis/romance you could want in a heroine. (Example: She stows away on a spaceship in her guaranteed-wrinkle-proof jacket with food stores and water, convinced that all she has to do is keep herself from sneezing because that is what gives away all the spies in the movies, but soon realizes that the movies never talk about where/how the stowaway is going to pee… ha ha!) She caroms around the galaxy, from Terminus to Kalgan (where she gains the eye of the ruler as a future wife, escapes and is almost arrested until her escape) to Trantor, all the while trying to hide from the Second Foundation – and knowing that she is the most important person in the galaxy because she knows where the Second Foundation’s secret location is! Just great stuff! I also love Preem Palver, humble farmer who helps Arkady along the way.

    The ending… well the ending is just sublime. So sublime. Love it!

    I highly recommend this entire series to lovers of classic science fiction. But even if you are uninterested in reading the entire series, Asimov includes – as a prologue – a synopsis of the first two books, so this could be read as a standalone novel. This is probably my favorite of the three, so I definitely suggest reading it. No, maybe not my favorite. Yes, probably so. Errr… just read them all – they’re great!

  • Trish

    This book concludes the original tale of the Foundation and it is a worthy ending.

    Like the second book, this had not several shorter stories forming a mosaic to introduce the reader to the galaxy as had the first, but had only two parts:

    - Search by the Mule

    - Search by the Foundation

    The first part resumes the tale where it had left off at the end of the second book: the Mule is still ruling the galaxy after having beaten the Foundation and is more powerful than ever. He knows however that there i

    This book concludes the original tale of the Foundation and it is a worthy ending.

    Like the second book, this had not several shorter stories forming a mosaic to introduce the reader to the galaxy as had the first, but had only two parts:

    - Search by the Mule

    - Search by the Foundation

    The first part resumes the tale where it had left off at the end of the second book: the Mule is still ruling the galaxy after having beaten the Foundation and is more powerful than ever. He knows however that there is another, a Second Foundation, and that its members have mental powers much like he does (as opposed to the strictly technological approach by the First Foundation) and that is dangerous since it could undo all the conditioning he's done on most people within his galactic Empire. Two men are thus sent out to find the Second Foundation and destroy it, one of which was a character I liked very much: Han Pritcher. The other is a young and unconditioned upstart

    There is a lot of back and forth with forcefully obtained information, some of which turns out to be intentionally wrong and then we get the showdown with the leader of the Second Foundation. The end actually surprised me a bit here.

    The second part takes place 60 years after the above mentioned events. The Mule is dead and

    Moreover, since the true reason for the Mule's name was that he could not have any children, we are in a sort of limbo: we have the planet Kalgan on which the Mule ruled and which still stands apart from the rest of the galaxy that is under the rule of the Foundation once again. Moreover, most Foundationists are now aware of the existance of the Second Foundation but opinions differ greatly. Some see them as the safeguards of the Seldon plan, others are highly suspicious of them due to their mental powers.

    Personally, I dislike the first group because they became lazy and understand the latter group because the whole idea of people being able (whether genetically or through training doesn't matter) to manipulate another person's mind is highly disturbing.

    The ruler of Kalgan, at one point, declares war on the Foundation but loses (not really a spoiler), proving that the Foundation is strong enough to withstand even a violent conflict (they lacked the self-confidence at first after what had happened to them thanks to the Mule).

    As a side character, we get the granddaughter of Bayta (the woman who made sure the Mule couldn't find the Second Foundation in the previous book). A bright 14-year-old, slightly too romantic in her notions, but I liked her very much. Especially since the view on women throughout the galaxy (no matter who rules) is preposterous!

    We get another chase through a couple of worlds and a mystery and then there is the question of where exactly the Second Foundation is. You see, there are people who try to find them in order to kill them all so nobody can manipulate any minds anymore. But the Second Foundation has foreseen this (and many other) problems and they have set in motion a plan (or several, actually) of their own.

    I won't say more about the conclusion other than that I knew where the Second Foundation was pretty early on. Again, Asimov leaves enough bread crumbs for the reader to follow which is quite nice. The funny thing is that my thinking was a bit too complicated in fact.

    It is also revealed just how intricate Hari Seldon's plan really was and how the Second Foundation works, what they regard (apparently correctly) as their "job", why there was never any psycho-scientist in the First Foundation and any other question readers might have had from the start. That was VERY large-scale.

    What I definitely did not like, once again, is the notion of the uber-powerful Second Foundation. First, I don't think they would be this selfless - humans usually aren't. Secondly, I definitely don't like that everything had been calculated despite the fact that this was not predictable by psychohistory (remember: psychohistory can only predict the course of history where billions of people or more are involved, not individuals). It diminished

    ! When all was revealed at the end, this enraged me so much in fact, that I almost deducted a star (especially since it's a theme that irked me in the previous book already)! Except for the reveal who the First Speaker at that time was - that was hilarious! :D

    And again I didn't deduct a star. Because this work is truly great in the literal sense of the word. Asimov deserves the title of "master" or "father of science fiction". His writing style remained top notch throughout, was "simple" yet unique, amiable and even got me through the drier parts where the Second Foundationists discussed (in infuriatingly vague but lengthy terms) what they must do or what was happening or what which theory means/entails (actually, the explanations were quite nice because it left nothing to be desired for, but still).

    Getting into the story was easy and although Asimov seems to purposefully keep the reader a bit at a distance, you find yourself infuriated with the arrogance, ignorance or complacency of certain people / the repetition of events and actually feel for characters like Arkady (Bayta's granddaughter). He also manages to give each and every one of them a realistic and distinct voice although they are all quite different.

    In fact, I am so happy I read this trilogy that I might read the other volumes too, just for completion's sake.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani

    527. Second Foundation (Foundation, #3), Isaac Asimov

    Second Foundation is the third novel published of the Foundation Series by American writer Isaac Asimov, and the fifth in the in-universe chronology. It was first published in 1953 by Gnome Press.

    تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و پنجم ماه دسامبر سال 1994 میلادی

    عنوان: سقوط امپراطوری کهکشانها (بنیاد دوم)؛ نوشته: آیزاک آسیموف؛ مترجم: حسن اصغری؛ تهران، شقایق، 1371؛ در 358 ص

    ا. شربیانی

  • Simona Bartolotta

    The book alone, I probably would have rated 3 stars out of 5, but I just noticed I rated 3 stars also the first two books in the trilogy, which baffles me because when I think of the Foundation trilogy, I do not think

    . It seemed appropriate, therefore, to up the average rating of the series with this last chapter.

    What I loved about this particular instalment, and a thing that is qui

    The book alone, I probably would have rated 3 stars out of 5, but I just noticed I rated 3 stars also the first two books in the trilogy, which baffles me because when I think of the Foundation trilogy, I do not think

    . It seemed appropriate, therefore, to up the average rating of the series with this last chapter.

    What I loved about this particular instalment, and a thing that is quite evident more or less in all Asimov books, is that

    of its plot is

    , the reader gets lost in its endless folds.

    comprises more than one episode like its two predecessors, two in the case at hand, and in each of these halfway through the story

    , preferably through the perspective of one of the characters, and this successfully contributes to creating an escalation of tension that masterfully resolves into the achievement of

    , necessarily the correct one. It's an extremely simple scheme, and yet an infallible one—at least in hands as capable as Asimov's.

    As always, I could continue with various attempts at clarifying why I love this author, but I've written dozens of reviews/comments about him that you can find in a minute by browsing my shelves, so I won't repeat myself. (Though I would love to: my love for Asimov is a marvellous excuse for me to become repetitively verbose.)

    And speaking of the devil of my tendency at repeat myself,

    ; in fact, to be precise, I recommend Asimov's whole bibliography in spite of not having read it all myself. That's how much I love him.

  • mark monday

    And so you take comfort in what once used to chafe and to frustrate: the man is smarter than you.

    . At first you fought against his implacable logic, his elegant design mapping out the entire existence of your race, the human kind. But eventually you relaxed and embraced it: you and yours, your dreams, the human race... your goals and your future would be protected, protected by the plan. The Seldon Plan - and

    . And when Foundation and the Plan both suffered at the hands of

    And so you take comfort in what once used to chafe and to frustrate: the man is smarter than you.

    . At first you fought against his implacable logic, his elegant design mapping out the entire existence of your race, the human kind. But eventually you relaxed and embraced it: you and yours, your dreams, the human race... your goals and your future would be protected, protected by the plan. The Seldon Plan - and

    . And when Foundation and the Plan both suffered at the hands of the mutant The Mule, Seldon's secret guardians -

    - came to save the day. The Plan on one hand, that secret society of psychic saviors on the other, Foundation and Second Foundation, Mother and an absent but still watchful Father... all fears left you. You became comfortable. You became complacent!

    And so there rose the frustrated few who still chafed at that soft control - at that absent Father with his invisible fingers, making a puppet of you and yours, "protecting" you. You are mommy's little darlings, hating your distant dad. You will control your own destiny, future be damned!

    And so you acted against Second Foundation, you plotted and schemed and made intricate designs, you found those secretive psychic saviors, you executed each and every one of them. Or did you? Fortunately for you - oh, and for the future of all your kind, the human race - your goals and your frustrations are excruciatingly finite. Your own small-mindedness will protect you, your childlike inability to see the bigger picture. Poor baby; Second Foundation will save you and yours despite yourself. Just sit back and stop thinking so hard, you'll hurt yourself!

    And so the original Foundation trilogy concludes with this work. Two ingenious novellas, one detailing the final passage of sympathetic villain The Mule, the other dealing with an attempt made by Foundation to upend Second Foundation. I found the first book to be interesting but flawed in its repetitiveness. The second book had two novellas: one entertaining but likewise limited, the second a brilliant leap forward.

    And so it is with the third book, Second Foundation: the first novella entertaining and thoughtful but a bit of a retread of the second book's second novella... and like its predecessor, a second novella ("Search by the Foundation") that leaps forward into new, fascinating territory. All three of these books - their various stories and novellas coming together to form an intricate, elegant design - will stick in my mind. I can imagine revisiting this deep well of ideas a few years from now (if the human race still remains). Overall, despite some essentially inconsequential flaws, the original trilogy is a marvelous achievement and I think completely worthy of their classic status.

    And so I wonder: should I continue with this series? Asimov is a smart man, certainly much much smarter than me. But I have found disappointment when reading series that are picked up decades later. They have read as if the author has grown too comfortable, complacent. The next novel in the series - Foundation and Earth - was written nearly three decades after this third book. Should I risk souring the well?

  • Lyn

    Second Foundation wraps up Asimov’s brilliant early 50s classic SF series Foundation.

    Twenty-nine years later (in 1982) Asimov would publish

    , but for most of the golden age, the Foundation trilogy would form a template (though never completely duplicated) for SF excellence.

    Essentially divided into two parts – the first part a conclusion of

    with The Mule and then the conclusion of the Foundation story. The search for the ultra-secretive Second Foundation co

    Second Foundation wraps up Asimov’s brilliant early 50s classic SF series Foundation.

    Twenty-nine years later (in 1982) Asimov would publish

    , but for most of the golden age, the Foundation trilogy would form a template (though never completely duplicated) for SF excellence.

    Essentially divided into two parts – the first part a conclusion of

    with The Mule and then the conclusion of the Foundation story. The search for the ultra-secretive Second Foundation continues across the galaxy.

    Both the first part and the second had themes of a chess match between actors with several conflicting solutions being developed and supported.

    Parts of this, especially discussions about the advanced mental Second Foundation reminded me obliquely of Arthur C. Clarke’s

    . Not as strong as the other two, this is still a solid SF story and a good finale for a great SF trilogy.

  • Luca Ambrosino

    English (

    ) / Italiano

    But now it no longer exists. The present is the Foundation, at war with an enemy with a terrible "psychic" power, i.e. the ability to influence the minds. The third chapter of the Foundation series is better than the two preceding it, with more action and suspense. It's the final showdown between the "Mule" and the Second Foundation, represented in the final battle by its "First Speaker".

    English (

    ) / Italiano

    But now it no longer exists. The present is the Foundation, at war with an enemy with a terrible "psychic" power, i.e. the ability to influence the minds. The third chapter of the Foundation series is better than the two preceding it, with more action and suspense. It's the final showdown between the "Mule" and the Second Foundation, represented in the final battle by its "First Speaker". But above all the homeworld of the Second Foundation will now be revealed. Surprise!

    Ma adesso non esiste più. Il presente è della Fondazione, in lotta contro un nemico dotato di poteri "psichici" terribili, ovvero la capacità di influenzare le menti. Il terzo capitolo del ciclo della Fondazione è meglio dei due precedenti, secondo me, più ricco in azione e suspense. Siamo alla resa dei conti tra il "Mulo" e la Seconda Fondazione, rappresentata nello scontro decisivo dal suo "Primo Oratore". Ma soprattutto ci sta per essere rivelato il pianeta madre della Seconda Fondazione. Sorpresa!

  • Ian

    The idea behind it's pretty good. Asimov has set up little philosopher kings to slowly shape the universe until they can accept being openly ruled by beings as superior as them, because of SCIENCE! It never actually handles the philosophical issues involved, but notes that they exist. Meanwhile, the plot is such:

    Man1: Haha! I tricked you!

    Man2: But I knew you were going to trick me. Instead, I tricked you!

    Man1: But I knew you knew that I was going to trick you, so really *I* win!

    Man2: NO! *dies*

    The idea behind it's pretty good. Asimov has set up little philosopher kings to slowly shape the universe until they can accept being openly ruled by beings as superior as them, because of SCIENCE! It never actually handles the philosophical issues involved, but notes that they exist. Meanwhile, the plot is such:

    Man1: Haha! I tricked you!

    Man2: But I knew you were going to trick me. Instead, I tricked you!

    Man1: But I knew you knew that I was going to trick you, so really *I* win!

    Man2: NO! *dies*

    Man3: I knew that you knew that he knew that you knew that he was going to trick you, and I set up the whole thing! So I win!

    Man1: But I knew that you knew that I knew...

    And so on. The hyper-crossing that occurs in this book, right in the very first chapters, is utterly ridiculous. It gets a bit better as time goes on, but by that point, the cats out of the bag and you pretty much expect it to pull a PDK and have everyone be alien robots with fake memories or something.

    In short, a good book to wrap up the trilogy, but a pretty weak story on its own.

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