Title: Foundation and Earth
Author: Isaac Asimov
Page Count/Review Word Count: 510
To be honest, by this point I’m pretty much over the Foundation series. I guess I just don’t really like them, although I don’t hate them either. They’re just long, time intensive and not particularly rewarding, especially by this point in the series. I always that Asimov is amazing as an ideas man, and the problem with the Foundation books is that there are only a couple of good ideas in them, stretched out so thin that it feels like they’ll tear apart completely.
This also continued a trend that I’d noticed in the other Foundation books, which is that it takes a while for the action to start. I think this is because they’re all written to work as standalones as well as individual parts of a series, but that comes with the downside that it takes a while for it to re-establish the narrative. The problem with this one is that it felt as though I was waiting for the narrative to kick in throughout the entire novel, and yet it just didn’t happen.
As for the plot, I mean I guess it’s okay. By this point, the protagonists are basically trying to track down Earth, although they don’t necessarily know whether it stills exists or not. And because by this point, we’re at the end of a series, I can’t really tell you anything more than that. It’s just a continuation, albeit not a particularly gripping or even necessary one.
The characterisation and stuff was pretty good for what it was, but I think it was the plot that really let it down. There just wasn’t a huge amount to it, and it felt as though a lot of it was tautological and just not really necessary. In fact, both this book and the previous one didn’t really need to exist, and in fact I think it was the prequels that I enjoyed the most, if you can call it enjoyment.
And so what more can I tell you? Well, I mean the Foundation series is super influential and for good reason, because there wasn’t really anything like it at the time that it came out. These days, though, there are a ton of Foundation-inspired sci-fi series out there that take Asimov’s ideas and build upon them, and so you can just read those instead. I think it would make more sense to go ahead and read those unless you’re an old school sci-fi fan who wants to go back to where it all began.
As for me, I’d recommend reading Asimov’s robot stories or basically any of his shorter fiction, because I think that’s where he’s at his best. If you’re set on reading one of his novels, I’d go with one of the Lucky Starr books or even something like A Whiff of Death, which was a cracking science-based murder mystery with no sci-fi to speak of. So yeah, this was a disappointment.