01 December 2007

Archival Review: Foundation's Triumph by David Brin

Mass market paperback, 400 pages
Published 2004 (originally 1999)
Acquired March 2007
Read November 2007
Foundation's Triumph
by David Brin

The final volume of The Second Foundation Trilogy is on par with the second-- it's impossible for me to decide which one is better. Foundation and Chaos was a perfect Asimov story of his early sort (much like the stories of the original novel Foundation), one where characters sit around and talk about things and go through a crisis in a brief amount of time. This is the later sort of typical Asimov story, the travelogue where people sit around and talk about things as they move from destination to destination (like Prelude to Foundation and the two Golan Trevize tales). As a result, the ideas are what have to sell the book, and they do. The Trilogy's themes of Chaos and Renaissance are brought to their culminations, as we finally learn how Daneel kept the Galaxy together for so long-- and how it is finally tearing itself apart. Brin's characterization of the aged Hari Seldon is spot-on (though I didn't much like his Dors), and the idea of him having one last adventure in his old age is too perfect to pass up. Aside from some continuity quibbles (if Hari's psychohistory is modeled on the history of the Empire, how can it be accurate once the giskardian neural dampeners fail?), this book pulls all of Asimov's works (even "Blind Alley"!) together magnificently. 

This was my second time reading it, and once again, I was massively disappointed when Hari failed to jump through the time warp in the end. And I want my followup: the adventures of Mors Planch and Biron Maserd in the far future appeal, as do the hints we get about those times from the Encyclopedia Galactica quotations. And as for the on-line coda... The Foundation series has spent too much time wallowing in the past; it needs to get back into the future again.

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