Foundation’s Edge

ISBN: 0246120126
ISBN 13: 9780246120120
By: Isaac Asimov

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About this book

At last, the costly and bitter war between the two Foundations had come to an end. The scientists of the First Foundation had proved victorious; and now they return to Hari Seldon's long-established plan to build a new Empire on the ruins of the old. But rumors persist that the Second Foundation is not destroyed after all & that its still-defiant survivors are preparing their revenge. Now two exiled citizens of the Foundation, a renegade Councilman and a doddering historian, set out in search of the mythical planet Earth...and proof that the Second Foundation still exists.Meanwhile someone or something outside of both Foundations seems to be orchestrating events to suit its own ominous purpose. Soon representatives of both the First and Second Foundations will find themselves racing toward a mysterious world called Gaia and a final, shocking destiny at the very end of the universe!

Reader's Thoughts

Simon Mcleish

Originally published on my blog here in November 2002.Foundation's Edge was the first science fiction novel Asimov had written for a decade, most of which he had spent concentrating on non-fiction. It had a mixed reception, composed on the one hand of the desire to extend a welcome to an old friend long absent (which brought it the Hugo award for 1983), and on the other of the feeling that it was a sequel which failed to live up to the classic Foundation trilogy which it follows.Reading Foundation's Edge now, after the fuss has died down, and doing so just after revisiting the original trilogy, I am more inclined to the former view, changing my mind after first acquaintance twenty years ago. This is because the earlier books have now come to seem dated, like a lot of Asimov's early fiction.Foundation's Edge is set about halfway between the creation of the Foundation and its predicted establishment of a new empire a thousand years after the fall of the old one. (This little piece of chronology makes it clear just how large a scope Asimov had left himself for a sequel.) The Mule is long defeated, and the Second Foundation has returned to obscurity, convincing the Foundation that it too has been destroyed. Seldon's plan is back on course - and this eventually provokes suspicion in both Foundations; after so great a disruption as the reign of the Mule, how can centuries old predictions suddenly become minutely valid once again? This prompts both Foundations to begin searching for whoever or whatever has caused this, and this search is what Foundation's Edge is about.Asimov's science fiction revolves around two great ideas: the laws of robotics and the science of psychohistory. In practice, the main interest of the plots he devises using these ideas is the ways he finds to circumvent their limitations - almost all the robot stories are about attempts to bend or break the laws of robotics, and the Foundation stories are about applying the laws of psychohistory to small numbers of individuals (because novels need to have personalities in them), something explicitly forbidden by the statistics on which the rules are supposedly based. (Alternatively, he allows an individual like the Mule to overturn the predictions, using precisely the justification that it is impossible to apply psychohistory to the actions of individuals.) One of the biggest problems that the original trilogy has, it now sdeems to me, is that the tension this produces is not fully integrated into the plot; in Foundation's Edge, it is handled much more expertly, as befits a writer with thirty years' more experience.Asimov's characterisation is generally pretty perfunctory (the most obvious exceptions being Elijah Baley and the members of the Black Widowers), but here it is rather better than usual, the personalities of those involved playing an important part in the way that the plot is resolved.The greater maturity of the writing should ensure that Foundation's Edge dates more slowly than its predecessors (though they, of course, first appeared over four decades ago). However, it is still the idea behind the series as a whole which is of central interest, much more so than the merits of the individual novels. The sweep of galactic history and the interest of psychohistory will probably mean that the original trilogy continues to be read for some time yet.

Cory Hughart

** spoiler alert ** Hm.While I enjoyed this book for it's pacing and intrigue, it has some major flaws, mostly in Asimov's attempt to tie the Foundation series to robots with a secret planet that might as well be called the "Third Foundation". This book pretty much wipes out any importance the core Foundation trilogy had, since it casts the Seldon Plan aside as imperfect, so much so that it apparently cannot take technological advancement into account.The Foundation prequels and this Foundation "sequel" seem to have more in common than either has with the original Foundation trilogy. This book came 30 years and 200+ published works later than the original Foundation, so I suppose that I would expect a change in direction, particularly since the original Foundation books were some of the very first stories/books he wrote. If I were to look back at the silly things I wrote in high school I should imagine that I'd want to write something different.

Insener Garin

Olen väikse dilemma ees, esimesele kolmele Asumi loole panin kõigile hindeks 4, sellele aga tahaks kangesti viit panna, kuid ei tea, kas nii ikka sobib. Triloogia raamatud said 4 seetõttu, et igas teoses olid minu jaoks mingid nõrgemad peatükid(osad) sees- "Asumis" Kaupmehed ja ka Printskaupmehed; "Asum ja Impeeriumis" oli nõrgem Kindrali osa; "Teises Asumis" Asum otsib peatükk.Dilemma aga seisneb selles, et ilma eelneva triloogiata saaks ka see raamat 4, aga sari siiamaani oleks kokkuvõttes viit väärt, seega panen neljandale raamatule viie. Tore, et ka Igaviklased ja robotid said kõik üheks maailmaks seotud.Eks nad muidugi selline kerge ja meelelahutuslik lugemine ole, kus ei pea ise midagi ridade vahele juurde mõtlema, sümboolikat paika loksutama, allteksti mõistma. Lihtne, aga mõjub...


analogue to Herbert to the extent that dialectical materialist predictions of the future are resisted by magicke group of indeterminate persons not subject to rigorous scientific forecasting. in order to remedy this, protagonist takes one of the more famous ships of speculative fiction on a galactic sojourn to get laid with borg-hippy.

Meenal Srivastava

This book follows the Foundation trilogy. Asimov is a genius. I liked the Foundation trilogy but this book is even better than the trilogy. This book deals with the question of on which planet did humanity originate and the fight between second and first foundation. You just cannot put the book down. New concepts are introduced and even though it follows the same basic story about Seldon's plan, it also brings about certain deviations. It talks about the concepts which form the basis of various other Asimov's book.When you read the book you are overwhelmed by the creativity, twists and turns all in a good way. How far can you stretch your imagination into the infinite stretches of time! If you are a science fiction fan, you are incomplete unless you've read Isaac Asimov. It is a work of pure genius. This book takes you on a splendid thrilling ride into the future where your imagination is unbound.


This was an interesting book. This time we have three main parties at play, and a protagonist with a mission to find something that is trying to find him. However, it will be difficult for they to meet.

Martin Hernandez

Escrita 29 años después de la publicación del último libro de la Trilogía de la Fundación, Segunda Fundación, y 32 años después del primer relato de Fundación, Los límites de la Fundación supone el retorno de Asimov a la continuación de la saga. Según el propio Asimov, en el prólogo escrito para Fundación y Tierra en 1986, "los aficionados [...] me pidieron que continuase la serie. Les dí las gracias, pero seguí negándome. [...] Pero Doubleday se tomó aquellas peticiones con mucha más seriedad que yo".1 De hecho le ofrecieron un contrato con un anticipo 10 veces mayor que el acostumbrado, pidiéndole que elaborara una novela de 140.000 palabras: el doble que cualquiera de los volúmenes anteriores, y casi el triple de cualquier relato individual. Para ello, Asimov tuvo que releer la Trilogía de la Fundación y, como él mismo dice, "respirando hondo, me puse manos a la obra".


First off, I had to hide the book whenever the Nanny came over, because the cover made it look like I was reading a soft-core romance novel, only with a spaceshp in the background and the name ASIMOV in big letters. Guys named ASIMOV don't write romance novels - and when they try (which is a little bit too often for his books out of the 80s and 90s), it's really crummy.But, Foundation's Edge! A 5?! It's probably not really a 5, but then again, Forward the Foundation was probably not really a 3 (a 2 would be more like it). Edge is an oasis in the midst of a lot of poor Asimov. I loved it! The power of low expectations to be sure, but, shoot, definitely worth the read. I'd be comfortable recommending it alongside the original Trilogy for those who are trying to get a hold on the Foundation Universe.Yes, as with all of later Asimov, it is revisionist of the original trilogy. I don't mind this. It might disrupt the purity of the Seldon Plan, but I don't mind the manner in which it does so. It can fit into the overall arc without damaging it too badly.


First published in 1982 almost 30 years after the last volume of the iconic original Foundation Trilogy, namely Second Foundation, I was skeptical that Asimov would be able to maintain his mojo post the Golden Age of Science Fiction when he was publishing his most iconic sci-fi stories and novels. Of his 80s books I only read The Robots of Dawn which I thought was quite good but not in the same league as his 50s robot novels The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun. Still, I liked it enough to rekindle my interest in the Foundation series of which I have only read the original trilogy in my teens. For some reason I neglected the series from the 4th volume onwards and to catch up I did not want to simply dive into it as it was decades ago since I read the previous books and I have gotten most of the background details. So I reread the trilogy a couple of months ago and enjoyed it very much in spite of already knowing the major plot twists. The Foundation saga remains quite potent after all these years.Foundation's Edge is the 4th volume I speak of. It is set 500 years after the establishment of the Foundation. The Seldon Plan is going swimmingly and the First Foundation is at the peak of its strength having dominated all the neighboring planets through its superior technology and military might. The people of the Foundation believe that the threat from the mind controlling Second Foundation has been eliminated and there is now only one Foundation, theirs. Alas someone always show up to rock the boat otherwise we would not have much of a story. Enters one Golan Trevize, a Council member and an original thinker; a dangerous combination. It occurs to Trevize that the Seldon Plan has been going too well of late and there is surely something wrong when things are just too right. It is unnatural for things to always go according to plan, some deviations must occur. Trevize believes this is an indication that the Foundation is being surreptitiously controlled by puppet masters from the dreaded Second Foundation who will ensure the Seldon Plan reaches fruition and then step in as lord and masters. Voicing such a controversial idea turns out to be unwise as he is summarily kicked off the planet Terminus (home of the Foundation) with a secret mission to locate the Second Foundation in order for the First to do away with them once and for all. Many surprises ensue.In spite of not being action packed as such I find Foundation's Edge to be a gripping page turner. The plot tends to move through dialogue rather than narration. Every page seems to be stuffed with dialogue as characters are always discussing or arguing about something. The climax is also played through dialogue. This is a surprisingly effective method of story telling as the book is never dull. Asimov writes good dialogue but his characters do have a tendency to belabor their points at times. Asimov’s major strengths are his epic ideas, world building and plot; these are the reason he is one of the most popular sci-fi authors of all time (possibly the most popular). His world building here is better than ever, I particularly love the telepathic society and culture of the Second Foundation on Trantor and the strange people of Gaia. It is also lovely to see the robots and their “Three Laws” worked into the Foundation universe, plus a clever explanation for the absence of aliens in the Foundation universe.Asimov is often criticized for his utilitarian prose and thin characters (the same criticisms leveled toward most Golden Age authors). While he was no Dickens or Oscar Wilde in term of prose, characterization and dialogue I find these criticisms a little unfair. His prose is not extraordinary but it is uncluttered and very readable, it is never clumsy or semi-literate; he never insults the readers’ intelligence. His dialogue is often full of amusing witty banter and sardonic remarks. As for his characters, while some of the supporting characters are indeed flat his central characters and protagonists are often memorable. After decades away from his books I still remember very well Hari Seldon, The Mule, Susan Calvin (from I Robot), Elijah Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw (from several robot novels). As for Foundation's Edge's characters, Golan Trevize,and several lead characters are quite vivid and memorable also. In contrast I can not remember a single character from Arthur C. Clarke’s books (except Hal 9000 and Dave Bowman); no disrespect to Sir Arthur though, he has his own brand of greatness. The climax of Foundation's Edge is just wonderful and the epilogue leads nicely to the next book Foundation and Earth. Asimov always seems to enjoy telling his Foundation stories tremendously and his enjoyment is infectious. Can’t wait!


This is probably the weakest of the Foundation novels (I have not read the last one yet), yet I still cannot possibly give it less than 4 stars. The first half of the book, in fact, is absolutely fantastic. Its denouement, though, is wanting.Regardless, the Foundation series as a whole should be judged together, and it is probably the greatest science fiction series every written, alongside the Robot series by, again, Asimov. Foundation's Edge cannot compete with, say, Foundation, Second Foundation or Prelude to Foundation, which all had an element of magic and a huge number of new ideas in them. Rather, it is the continuation of the original trilogy, and in some of its pages I have a feeling that Asimov was himself grappling with and testing out new ideas, some of which found their way hastily in this tome.None of the characters of the previous novels come back, of course (per Asimov tradition), but new ones are introduced are are remarkably similar to the old ones, and a whole new factor comes into the First Foundation vs. Second Foundation equation, and is more powerful than both. Ultimately, which of the three sides will prevail comes down to one individual, so unlike the theories of Hari Seldon that proposed that only mass social inertia could be the real catalyst for significant change.A great read, and I look forward to reading Foundation and Earth.


This is probably blasphemy, but I liked this book better than the Foundation trilogy itself. Which isn't too surprising, my favorite of that trilogy was Second Foundation. I love mysterious behind the scenes type mysteries, and this was sort of a continuation of that theme, with the promise of more to come in Foundation and Earth so I'll definitely be picking that up.

Julio Cesar

Casi 500 años despues de la promulgacion del Plan Seldon Goldan Trevize(quien al parecer posee la facultad para llegar a conclusiones corectas basandose en datos insuficientes)es desterrado de Terminus por la mujer de bronce la alcaldesa Hala Branno quien pide a Munn Li Compor que lo siga atraves de los saltos hiperespaciales de la nave de ultima generacion(la estrella lejana) que le proporciona para que emprenda su viaje acompañado por el erudito Janov Perolat bajo la coartada de buscar la tierra mientras Stor Gendibal alerta al primer orador Shandess sobre complot y manipulaciones por parte de miembros de la segunda fundacion(o por los denominados antimulos)es enjuiciado por la segunda fundacion y enviado a buscar a Trevize acompañado por Sura Novi(que se revela como ciudadana de Gaia)por su peculiaridad mental.Trev Y Pel extrañamente se sienten atraidos por Sayshell de donde se dirigen a Gaia donde son interceptados por todos los actores politcos importantes del evento(Branno y Liono Kodell de Terminus(nacionalismo(libre albedrio y guerra)),Gendibal de la segunda fundacion(manipulacion bienintencionada(guia y paz con riesgo de traicion))y Novi(que en ese momento se revela como agente de Gaia)y Bliss(que resulta ser un robot supervisor de Gaia que desarrolla romance con Pelorat quien establece residencia en Gaia).Trev se inclina al bando de Gaia favoreciendo al desarrollo de la vida y una conciencia superior acoplada al Plan Seldon.Dom y Trev investigan el paradero de la tierra.

Erika RS

This is the first book after the original Foundation trilogy. Foundation's Edge was written decades after the original trilogy, and feels different than the original. Some of the differences make the book feel less dated: women can hold political power and technology has advanced. The larger change is a change in focus. The original trilogy focused primarily on large themes -- the development of worlds and flow of history -- and secondarily on people. This book focuses primarily on people and secondarily on larger themes. In some ways this makes for a deeper story, but there is a real sense in which the larger themes which were the focus of the first book is what made them classics of science fiction. The original trilogy, in its breadth and scope, was great science fiction. This sequel, in its smaller focus, is just very good science fiction.That said, Foundation's Edge was an engaging read, and I look forward to the next book.


I liked this book, but more for the improvement on character building, which the other books lacked. It's easy to see why, when this book spend 450 pages with the same set of characters, as opposed to the original trilogy which spend a fraction of that. It was generally enjoyable to read, slow at parts (though often interesting), but I wasn't a fan of where the plot was taken. It was cool how the showdown was arranged, but the whole idea of Gaia not only seemed like a bunch of bullshit that didn't really fit the Foundation story (though I've never read the robot books), but, in a way, seemed to undermine the plot of the last 3 books. At least it did for me. It still got me interested in the relationship of Earth to this universe, so I'll still be picking up Foundation and Earth. Again, a good read, with better characters, but a plot that is weaker than the rest.


** spoiler alert ** In his fourth installment in the Foundation Series Asimov blunders and completely drops the ball. While the first three novels did a marvelous job of telling the story of The Seldon Plan (The True Main Character of the Foundation Series), Asimov decides to toss what was a very good plot aside in favor of connecting the Foundation Series to the Empire and Robot series. I was flabbergasted as a dues ex machine arrives to serve only one purpose (make everything fit together). Not only was the sudden twist horrible, it was a giant hole unto itself. The intervention of Gaia would never have been needed if they hadn't interfered in the foundation's existence. Supposedly Gaia calls together the Mayor, the Speaker, Trevise together because without intervention the First Foundation would have gone on conquest and subjugated the Second Foundation or the Second Foundation would have focused on Physical strength and taken a more forceful hand with the First Foundation. None of that would have happened if Gaia had stayed out of the whole event! Think about it: The Mayor wouldn't even have thought to look at Seyshell if Gaia hadn't have orchestrated events to have Trevise go there, and the Second Foundation wouldn't even have had to the inclination to deal with the new physical power of the Foundation if the Gaian's hadn't have, again, revealed themselves to the Second Foundation by interfering with a corrected Seldon Plan. If anything, the Gaian's should have destroyed the mentalic shields of the First Foundation as an apology for destroying the whole Seldon Plan by shrugging of responsibility for The Mule. Terrible. This book was a complete disappointment.

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