Foundation and Empire

Isaac Asimov
Foundation and Empire Cover

Foundation and Empire


I was a bit wary about reading this book, after not enjoying the first in the trilogy very much when I read it a few days ago. But this one went better. I think the problem I was having with the first one was that each section had different characters & was so short that none of the characters really got a chance to expand beyond a name & a handful of traits. There are only two sections in this book, and so the characters have more room to breathe. Oddly this is most strongly the case in the second part, even tho in this story several of the characters end up under someone else's emotional control they still feel more like people.

The plot is another couple of episodes in the history of the First Foundation. The first one deals with the last gasp of the Old Empire before it decays into utter irrelevancy. The Foundation has finally grown big enough & powerful enough to be noticed by at least some factions in the decaying Empire, who desire to put it back in its "proper" place - subordinate to the Emperor. The Foundation survives the crisis, but not really because it does anything (the story is about the people trying to do things and never seeming to get anywhere) - it's because the Empire is now so unstable that internal politics get in the way of conquering ambition. The Foundation now has a sense of invincibility - the "dead hand of Hari Seldon" or the "Seldon tidal wave" will sweep away any & all forces that oppose it.

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