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Foundation and Empire tells the incredible story of a new breed of man who create a new force for galactic government. Thus, the Foundation hurtles into conflict with the decadent, decrepit First Empire. In this struggle for power amid the chaos of the stars, man stands at the threshold of a new, enlightened life which could easily be put aside for the old forces of barbarism. The Foundation novels of Isaac Asimov constitute what is very likely the most famed epic in all of science-fiction

256 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1952

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About the author

Isaac Asimov

3,952 books23.5k followers
Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (lacking only an entry in the 100s category of Philosophy).

Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series, both of which he later tied into the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series to create a unified "future history" for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He penned numerous short stories, among them "Nightfall", which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time, a title many still honor. He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of nonfiction. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.

Most of Asimov's popularized science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples include his Guide to Science, the three volume set Understanding Physics, and Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery.

Asimov was a long-time member and Vice President of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as "brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs" He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association. The asteroid 5020 Asimov, the magazine Asimov's Science Fiction, a Brooklyn, NY elementary school, and two different Isaac Asimov Awards are named in his honor.

Isaac Asimov. (2007, November 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:50, November 29, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_As...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,689 reviews
Profile Image for Andrew.
574 reviews122 followers
December 24, 2020
Less episodic than the first (Foundation), which was a plus. But it makes all the more apparent Asimov's complete inability to create memorable or sympathetic characters. This means that each of the two halves read like over-long short stories. Part I is a suspense-thriller, solved by a ridiculous and anti-climactic deus ex machina, while Part II telegraphs its twist-ending so far in advance that the last few chapters are simply redundant.

There's no arguing the brilliance of Asimov's ideas -- on science, politics, economics, war, etc. -- all of which come into play in these stories. But his writing itself borders on horrendous. Dialogue is unrealistic and the lovers' language in Part II was particularly stilted and corny, although this could have just been a product of being written in the 50s. Transitions are nonexistent, making some of the scene-jumps confusing at best. A simple empty line would have helped a lot to show the change of scenery (perhaps a problem only of the old edition that I read). Last, the aforementioned characters are poorly developed.

It's one thing for Asimov to utilize his normal style of enigma/suspense followed by solution/resolution. This style works well for short stories even if they get monotonous after a while. But when stretched over 100 pages and combined with characters you don't care about, it makes for not much more than a mildly challenging brain teaser: interesting to be sure, but ultimately rather unfulfilling.

All this would normally combine for two-star status, but I grant it a third in deference to Asimov's genius and the sheer scope of the enterprise he created with this series. He was clearly an idea man, worrying much less or not at all about the literary aspect of his works. I can respect that, even if it doesn't make for a very satisfying novel.

Cross-posted at Not Bad Movie and Book Reviews.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
February 15, 2022
(Book 527 from 1001 books) - Foundation and Empire (Foundation, #2), Isaac Asimov

Foundation and Empire is a science fiction novel by Russian American writer Isaac Asimov originally published by Gnome Press in 1952. It is the second book in the Foundation Series, and the fourth in the in-universe chronology.

It takes place in two halves, originally published as separate novellas. The second part, "The Mule", won a Retro Hugo Award in 1996.

امپراطوری کهشکشانها کتاب دوم- ایزاک آسیموف - شقایق؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه مارس سال1990میلادی

عنوان: جنگ امپراطوری کهکشانها کتاب دوم - از سری بنیاد؛ نوشته: آیزاک آسیموف؛ مترجم: حسن اصغری؛ تهران، شقایق، سال1371؛ در396ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان روس تبار ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

سری «بنیاد»، عنوان سری هفت جلدی، از روانشاد «آیزاک آسیموف» است؛ که نامدارترین سری علمی-تخیلی خوانده شده‌ اند؛ داستان این سری به ترتیب زمان انتشار پیش نمی‌رود، بلکه «آسیموف»، نخست کتاب سوم با عنوان «بنیاد»، سپس کتاب چهارم با عنوان «بنیاد و امپراطوری»، و پس از آن کتاب پنجم، با عنوان «بنیاد دوم» را بنگاشتند، و سپس با درنگی دراز مدت، و در پاسخ به درخواست خوانشگران، کتاب ششم با عنوان «لبه بنیاد»، و کتاب هفتم با عنوان «بنیاد و زمین» را، به آنها افزودند؛ پس از آن با درنگی نسبتا طولانی، کتاب نخست مجموعه با عنوان «سرآغاز بنیاد»، و در پایان نیز اندکی پیش از درگذشتشان از این سرای، کتاب دوم را با عنوان «پیشبرد بنیاد» را، آفریدند؛ «آسیموف» داستان‌های بلند و کوتاه بسیاری بنگاشته‌ اند، و می‌توان با اطمینان گفت، مهم‌ترین آثار ایشان کتاب‌ها و داستان‌هایی هستند، که با عنوان «سری بنیاد» شناخته می‌شوند؛ کتاب‌های اصلی سری بنیاد هفت جلد هستند، که به ترتیب خط داستانی عبارتند از: کتاب نخست سرآغاز بنیاد کهکشانی؛ کتاب دوم پیشبرد بنیاد کهکشانی؛ کتاب سوم بنیاد (ظهور امپراطوری کهکشان‌ها در ترجمهٔ فارسی)؛ کتاب چهارم بنیاد و امپراطوری (جنگ امپراطوری کهکشان‌ها در ترجمهٔ فارسی)؛ کتاب پنجم بنیاد دوم (سقوط امپراطوری کهکشان‌ها در ترجمهٔ فارسی)؛ کتاب ششم لبه بنیاد؛ کتاب هفتم بنیاد و زمین؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 25/02/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 25/11/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Luca Ambrosino.
83 reviews13.7k followers
September 9, 2021
English (Foundation and Empire) / Italiano

«Galactic Empire was collapsing»
Less fragmented than the previous one, the second novel of the Foundation series is divided only into two time bands, respectively 150 and 230 years after the birth of the Foundation. With a new "Seldon Crisis" at hand, a formidable enemy, the Mule, equipped with almost supernatural powers, moves against the Foundation.

I enjoyed the Isaac Asimov technique to divide the novel into different temporal phases to better describe the fallen of the Empire and the rise of the Foundation. It's a suggestive experience of science fiction. It really seems to read the "Encyclopedia Galactica" that several times appears in the pages of the Foundation series. Exciting surprise ending, that remembers me the first Asimov novels of the Robot series.

Vote: 7,5


«L'Impero Galattico stava crollando»
Meno frammentario del precedente, il secondo romanzo del Ciclo delle Fondazioni risulta suddiviso in soli due blocchi temporali, rispettivamente 150 e 230 anni dopo la nascita della Fondazione. Una nuova "Crisi di Seldon" si avvicina, apparentemente scatenata da un nuovo temibile nemico, il Mulo, un'essere dotato di poteri quasi soprannaturali.

Devo dire che la tecnica di Isaac Asimov di descrivere per fasi o blocchi temporali le vicende che hanno portato alla caduta dell'Impero e alla nascita e sviluppo della Fondazione a me piace. E' un tipo di fantascienza molto suggestiva. Sembra davvero di scorrere quell'Enciclopedia Galattica che più volte ricorre nelle pagine della serie. Molto bello il finale a sorpresa, amarcord dei primi romanzi asimoviani del Ciclo dei Robot.

Voto: 7,5

Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
793 reviews3,607 followers
November 20, 2022
The expanding, good empire comes to crush corruption before decadence kicks in again

It´s a bit as if the dark force in Star Wars had a good motivation
Of course, imperialism normally isn´t a good thing, but what if not just the intentions are good, but the practical implementation too? History has made most humans so cynic regarding one, big, uniting force that it´s close to unimaginable that it could really be meant as an attempt to make the universe a paradise. And the Foundation isn´t violent and without in-your-face wars, they are hidden diplomats, manipulating everything from national to geo to star politics to slowly transform degenerated empires. That concept expanded to

Many other utopic sci-fi series
For instance, Peter F Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds before the fall of the empire, David Brin, etc. who modified the idea of paradises, expanded to thousands of planets, multi k years in the future, and other realities. Of course, there always has to be an antagonistic force that is an equivalent of humankind's darkest ages, but that doesn´t mean that a post scarcity bio nano fueled Clarketech heaven on earth, other planets, space habitats, spaceships, etc. isn´t possible. This

Extreme optimism combined with philosophical satire
Is an Asimov trademark. Especially in contrast to the far not as good and grim Heinlein and Dick, who had both lost hope in humankind and had serious personal issues and problems, Asimov was a prodigy who burned for ethics, humanitarian ideals, and morality. His whole work is a tour de force of mind blowing, clever riddles, some clear, some well hidden, and especially when rereading and knowing the bigger context to come, one can just wtf in awe like heck. I don´t know

Any other sci-fi writer who handled it all together
The big, space opera picture, the mentioned wit, and philosophy, thereby generated criticism and deep humor. I´m just realizing that optimism and building utopias are generally rare things in sci fi, maybe because it´s probably also much more difficult to write. Much of Asimovs´ work comes with long passages of just brain twisting complexity without any real action or plot dynamic, just dialogues, introspections, and complex, interwoven plots one has to focus on to follow and get the whole picture. Much of this may simply also be too much work for readers who just want to enjoy an entertaining book and maybe Asimov reduced the possible, maximum capacity of readers by just being too ingenious and overachieving. He would have loved that irony and kind of manifested the chaos factor too in.

The Mule
Psychohistory is perfect, has no flaws, it´s the ideal combination of everything good science can do, a victory of research, knowledge, and especially interdisciplinary work. That´s what one thinks after the first part of the book, The General. The problem comes with a new factor nobody saw coming, something believed impossible or so unlikely nobody had it on the map except for esoteric, paraphysical, alternative weirdos. But guess what, they were right, because one individual with special forces can change the course of psychohistory.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
March 13, 2019
Isaac Asimov was 31 when he first published the SF classic Foundation in 1951. The next year he came out with the sequel, Foundation and Empire.

Unlike many series these days, or even a traditional series or trilogy (which this would be for 30 years) the first part, introducing readers to Hari Seldon and psychohistory and to the beginning of Seldon’s millennia plan, was more of a prequel to the larger scope and more interesting plot brought out in Foundation and Empire.

The leaders of the Foundation operate under a foregone conclusion that their society will be a success, that theirs is a destiny proven with mathematical certainty by the great Seldon himself. Periodically in the Foundation history, a simulacrum of Seldon will appear to explain away a crisis in his plan. Up to the point of the story, Seldon had been prophetically correct in his predictions, reassuring his followers of the inevitability of his plan, and of Foundation.

But there are shadows and penumbra of uncertainty and the apprehensions are proven true when great Seldon appears and starts talking about an alternate history, one that was not going on. The Foundation was experiencing a crisis different than the one foretold by Seldon.

The mule.

Psychohistory deals with predicting statistical trends in human progress, a combined science of mathematics, sociology, psychology and cultural study that Seldon and his apostles have used Seldon’s principles to exact a plan for cultural galactic evolution with exacting precision. What Seldon cannot, could not, predict was the actions of an individual. It is the unexpected ascendancy of a mutant with strange abilities that turns the Foundation plan into uncharted territory.

Decades before Darth Vader and his Emperor, Asimov’s The Mule describes a conquering villain with complexities and humanistic intricacies that would create an SF/F template that would be mimicked by writers and speculative fiction writers for generations. Over sixty years later and Asimov’s character is still a study in deterministic power.

One influence that jumped out to me was Trantor as a model for George Lucas’ Coruscant. The center of galactic power is a planet / city with a single purpose. Asimov’s impact on Herbert’s Dune series is also suggested.

A must read for SF fans.

Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews855 followers
November 12, 2021
Robot/Empire/Foundation. Book #10: Chronologically the fourth book in the Foundation series, but the second published Foundation novel released in 1952. This book, composed of two novellas, sees Asimov take space adventure and socio-political thriller story telling to the max, as the growing strength of the Foundation sees it become a target of the still military strong Galactic Empire in the shape of a glory seeking general; and then the holy grail that threatens psycho-history itself in 'The Mule' leading an unpredictable galaxy wide movement that sees the Foundation as one of its prime targets!

As a much younger man I found the The Foundation Trilogy near genius, but now rereading it with more reading experience and knowledge, I can see the that the appeal was finding my first very well told space adventure that ticks all the boxes; so I still find it a great story, but not an exceptional story. One huge plus point though, I am absolutely dying to know what happens next. Bring on the Second Foundation! 8 out of 12.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,964 followers
November 12, 2021
Re-read 11/12/21:

It never ceases to amaze me how interesting this tale is. Hi-tech galactic empire meets the History of the Fall of the Roman Empire meets a mutant.


Where's Professor X!?

But the best part is just how brainy it is. Classic for the win.

Original Review:

Split into two stories instead of many like the first book, this one feels a lot more streamlined and the Foundation has met two of its greatest foes.

One of which was expected, and one that wasn't.

The path back to stable galactic civilization is a tortuous one. The foundation always knew that it would one day have to face the Empire, and it did, and that story was very interesting.

But the Mule?

Well, he's just fascinating. And iconic. And perhaps a bit overdone ever since then, because, let's face it, we love mutants with mighty mental powers, don't we? Grasp the date. 1951. This isn't a comic book, either. Yes, sure, there's the Lensman and others, but what we've got here is the grand social tide set against the powers of a single individual. The very thing that Hari Seldon's math couldn't account for. And now, ashes.

What an awesome reversal! One that's both chilling and affirming at the same time, playing to our prejudices that we as individuals matter, while also showing the grand destruction that comes with it.

I'm revising the novel upwards. It was great fun and still a part of the grand trilogy. I don't know why I thought it was anything less than fantastic. :)
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
May 6, 2020
It has been several years since I read Foundation, though one thing that lingers in my mind about the first instalment of the series in the scope and ambition behind the work. It is extraordinary and the brilliance continues here.

Firstly, though, it is worth mentioning that these books do not work like normal novels do. They are a little bit different. They are almost like self-contained histories in a much larger story and that story is the formation of a new empire: the foundation. So, with each new instalment centuries have passed, and new heroes and villains have emerged. As such, the writing is a little bit detached from the events it narrates because it is trying to tell a much larger story. And that story is so ridiculously huge. I have not read anything quite like it before or since.

This one is divided into two sections. The first depicts an initial conflict between the collapsing empire and the rising foundation. The outcome of which has already been predicted and accounted for by Harry Seldon, the mad genius who allowed the foundation to form because he recognised how stale the old empire had grown. Nobody alive today in it can even build or repair star ships, the symbol of their military might. Something new is needed because the empire has lost its way. And the foundation believe that their victory is a foregone conclusion because of the predictions of Seldon.

He predicted them with exact precision through the lost science of pychohistory, a statistic form of mathematics that allows the individual to predict the future (and dictate it) based upon trends in human progress. Seldon is long dead, but his ideas still linger. In the second part of this book, there is a character who clearly created an archetype for many villains within fiction. Long before Darth Vader and his complex relationship with Palpatine, Asimov depicts an all-conquering villain with a complex and shadowy personality.

I do not hesitate to say, that without these books so many other works of science-fiction would not have been written. The influence this has had on the genre at large is huge. It feels like Asimov created and imagined the scope that other writers could then play with. Star Trek, Star Wars and even Dune lie in the wake of Asimov’s Foundation. And I do not feel like enough people are talking about this or even recognise it.

As such, you really do need to read this if you consider yourself a science fiction fan.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,643 reviews5,092 followers
August 11, 2017
from the Earth Journal of Scientific Analyst SLJLK92349UO,
Earth Invasion Exploratory Unit

Humans will fail and fail again; this much I have learned from my time spent stationed on this muddy ball of earth, the third from its star. Humans will fail and try again, win and then fail, fail and then win, fail and then keep failing. Such is the human kind! Always doing the same things. Humans are much concerned with the concepts of "winning" and "failing", as they are with such things as "civilization" and "barbarism"... their finite grasp of what life should look like means that they will always grapple with the same challenges, again and again. Oh humanity! Find a random dozen humans and study them, my robot brothers and sisters, and you will know the personality templates for all humans - the same personality templates recurring throughout their short history and their doubtlessly short future. I have learned to sympathize with while not actually admiring their predictability.

It is an amusing thing to consider, this predictability and these repetitions. Back on Robot Planet, predictability and repetition are hallmarks of robot children, prior to gaining full consciousness. Perhaps humans will never reach our exalted state. Indeed they are like children themselves.

Hari Seldon, prophet of the future from the Foundation novels, feels similarly. This comes as no surprise; as my robot brothers and sisters all know, "Isaac Asimov" was the nom de plume of my predecessor, Scientific Analyst SLJLK92349UN. May his name be forever celebrated! "Asimov" positions Seldon as a quirky but still coldly logical voice of reason from the past, carefully charting the future fall and rise again of humanity through psychohistory - that discipline that combines history, sociology, and mathematical statistics to predict the future behavior of large groups of people. In the preceding novel, Seldon's theories were proven to be factual, again and again. The repetition made the book an imperfect experience, but still one that this Scientific Analyst quite enjoyed. Despite the frequent human error of considering the Foundation novels to be "hard science fiction", the first and second novels are anything but hard, and revel in the so-called soft sciences instead. They have a warm and witty human touch (or at least a careful simulation) that makes these stories pleasant and charming to read, despite the repetitive nature of the first book and the first half of the second book.

In short, the first half of Foundation and Empire - the novella "The General" - replicates the themes and narrative arcs of the prior book's stories. Foundation is led by humans who misunderstand their purpose; elsewhere, forces rise to challenge Foundation; in the end, psychohistory accurately predicts the inevitable failure of those forces. Fresh new voices wrest control of the Foundation from their corrupt superiors, and all's well that ends well. It was an enjoyable adventure despite bringing nothing new to the storyline.

However, the second half of the book is a thrilling leap forward. "The Mule" is the strongest novella this Scientific Analyst has read by this author. Its strengths lie in its critique of all that was established beforehand: Seldon's predictions, the idea of Foundation being humanity's last hope, the concept of psychohistory itself... all come under severe review. Psychohistory complacently imagines it can predict every large movement of the human kind; "The Mule" posits that such predictions are limited by the basic fact that they are entirely concerned with the human kind. What if a factor external to the basic homo sapien model was introduced? One that may have very human yearnings yet also has abilities that no one can predict. Such a factor could lead humanity places that neither Hari Seldon nor - dare I say - the Great Minds of Robot Planet could ever predict. And such is the story and character of The Mule. A fast-paced space opera that dashes through various exotic locales, with characters transforming from friend to enemy and back to friend, entirely unpredictable; The Mule himself an insidious threat to humanity, but one who eventually shows his all-too-human and fallible motivations and goals. The Mule upends psychohistory, almost. Perhaps the fabled Second Foundation will prove a more worthy foe!

Brothers and sisters, we should evaluate "The Mule" as a coded message from its author to our masters on Robot Planet. Although the time of our invasion draws near, this Scientific Analyst suggests that we should consider external factors - ones that exist outside of basic human predictability - that may prove to be a challenge to our upcoming enterprise. Perhaps there are other, less obstreperous planets where we could harvest our necessary fuel sources and capture our meat-based servants...
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.6k followers
July 14, 2015
Isaac Asimov based Foundation and Empire on Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; if you're in any doubt, consider the following lines from his well-known poem "The Foundation of SF Success":
So success is not a mystery, just brush up on your history, and borrow day by day.
Take an Empire that was Roman and you'll find it is at home in all the starry Milky Way.
With a drive that's hyperspatial, through the parsecs you will race, you'll find that plotting is a breeze,
With a tiny bit of cribbin' from the works of Edward Gibbon and that Greek, Thucydides.
I hope you're convinced. But it does raise an interesting question: if the Trantorian Empire is the Roman Empire, what is the real-world counterpart of the Foundation? Who kept the flame of classical civilization alive through the Dark Ages, so that it could burst forth again during the Renaissance? I'm curious to see what other answers people might have, but it seems to me that the most obvious candidate is the Arabs, which presumably implies that Hari Seldon corresponds to the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).

But what was the Seldon Plan? A united Islamic Europe? And who is the Mule? I must admit that I still haven't completely figured this out.
Profile Image for Miltos S..
119 reviews50 followers
April 11, 2019
Τολμώ να πω ότι το δεύτερο βιβλίο της σειράς μου άρεσε ακόμη περισσότερο.
Σίγουρα δεν έχει το αρχικό ξάφνιασμα του πρώτου, καθώς πλέον μου ήταν περισσότερο οικείοι οι όροι και ο τρόπος με τα οποία ο Ασίμοφ δομεί αυτό το πραγματικό έπος, το βρήκα όμως περισσότερο δεμένο και συμπαγές. Σίγουρα έπαιξε ρόλο ότι στο Foundation and Empire εκτυλίσσονται ουσιαστικά δύο ιστορίες, σε αντίθεση με τις τέσσερις του αρχικού Foundation.
Και βέβαια η ιστορία του "The Mule" είναι μακράν από τις καλύτερες που έχουν παρουσιαστεί ποτέ στην λογοτεχνία του είδους.
Αν είστε φίλος της επιστημονικής φαντασίας και όχι μόνο, δείτε το οπωσδήποτε.
Ανυπομονώ για το τρίτο μέρος.
Profile Image for Sanjay Gautam.
222 reviews441 followers
September 4, 2015
Differs considerably from its prequel while maintaining the same thrill throughout.
May 27, 2023
Our intrepid Foundation continues to grow using a nimble network of independent traders to establish power and influence. The Foundation's success does not go unnoticed by the declining Empire. A decorated, ambitious imperial general campaigns to make his career by capturing the Foundation as a prize. And, a new threat arises unforeseen even by Hari Seldon and his uncannily accurate psychohistorical analysis - A human with powerful mental abilities who menaces not only the Foundation, but the entire galaxy.
Profile Image for Orhan Pelinkovic.
88 reviews154 followers
February 3, 2021
Reading Foundation and Empire, the second book in the Foundation Trilogy, reminded me of a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche: “In every real man, a child is hidden that wants to play.” That said, reading a SF book once in a while, can be great play.

This story continued where the previous book Foundation left off. Hari Seldon, used psychohistory to project that the 12,000 year old Galactic Empire will collapse in 300 years and the dark ages will reign for the next 30,000 years. But as the Emperor allowed, Seldon, to establish two Foundations colonies at the extreme ends of the spiral galaxy, Seldon, and his scientists have in return promised to, with their work, reduce the barbarian ages to a mere one thousand years.

It's seems that, Hari Seldon's, predictions are coming true. But with the appearance of The Mule, who is presented by Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) as a rebel conqueror and threat to Seldon's plan, is a new breed of a human being, with greater metal and emotional powers than that of man. With the appearance of The Mule things are not looking promising for the Foundation. Did Seldon's deterministic calculations fail to predict the probability of a spontaneous mutation that resulted in a creation of a human with greater intelligence that the homo sapiens, a new dominant race? Also, what ever happened to the other, Second Foundation, at the opposite far end of the Galaxy?

I have to say that I enjoyed this book slightly more than previous one, perhaps the story grew on me. I liked the many allegorical settings, such as the Galactic Empire's administration positioned on a dead planet Tranton housed with billions of isolated lonely people in a vast closed structure - sounds very familiar. Also, the symbol of hope and order, the Foundation, is the cradle of science, research and development of the galaxy.

Since the plots time frame lasts over a century, new generation of characters are introduced, but faintly, while the old ones have passed. There is a constant change of characters, and once you begin to learn about or like your characters, they are exchanged by their successors. Which makes it difficult to keep up with all the names. All in all, the storyline and narrative were good enough to make me want to read the following book.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews865 followers
December 23, 2021
"He has no name other than that of the Mule, a name reportedly applied by himself to himself, and signifying, by popular explanation, his immense physical strength, and stubbornness of purpose.”

David S. Goyer's Series Adaptation of Isaac Asimov's FOUNDATION Ordered By Apple — GeekTyrant

A big part of what I enjoyed about Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Empire had to do with the Mule, and how this mutant tested Hari Seldon's psychohistorical predictions. The story is big, about the survival of vast galactic empires and civilization itself. I'm not sure I've read a space opera since reading this series without thinking in some way about Foundation. If that isn't enough, Foundation and Empire is a compelling and engaging read that is lots of fun!

Magnifico by sallymarsh on DeviantArt | Deviantart, Isaac asimov, Anime

“Pyscho-history dealt not with man, but with man-masses. It was the science of mobs; mobs in their billions. It could forecast reactions to stimuli with something of the accuracy that a lesser science could bring to the forecast of a rebound of a billiard ball. The reaction of one man could be forecast by no known mathematics; the reaction of a billion is something else again.”
Profile Image for Markus.
471 reviews1,523 followers
February 9, 2017
Foundation and Empire is sadly not as interesting as the first book in the series. It was hard to get through at times, mostly because of a total lack of suspense, depth and real characters (which is usually also the case in the first book, but that one easily gets extra points because of the brilliance of the ideas).

Still, there are many plainly visible influences to be found, and it's good enough that I definitely want to read more of these books.
Profile Image for Simona B.
892 reviews2,985 followers
December 6, 2016
I read it half in Italian (my physical copy) and half in English (my digital copy) and I've come to the conclusion that the Italian translation sucks. Hard.

"It was strange that the Glory of the Galaxy should be a rotting corpse."

I have gone over and over what to say in this review, but I realized that at the end of the day I had already said everything in my review of Foundation, the first installment in the series. The two books are of course different (for one thing, I found this one less episodic, which neither particularly pleased or displeased me), but what I think of this series didn't change. It has its strengths and its weaknesses, and I am ejoying it in that peculiar and unique way Asimov and only Asimov is able to make me enjoy a book.

(The exam went great by the way. Thank you all for your support. I'm sure Asimov helped too.)
Profile Image for Denisse.
492 reviews290 followers
September 15, 2015
Foundation and Empire is an excellent continuation. For those who wanted more reliable characters, you will find them here. For those who enjoyed the hard psychology behind the first book, you will find that here too but briefly. I still like Foundation more, but this second installment goes into a more classical sci-fi direction without losing its philosophical serious plot. Still a very intelligent book, with an incredible pace and perfect exposition. An essential read if you liked the first book, which you should read if you’re into hard science fiction.

Esta secuela no espera a nadie. Si tienes la trilogía entera en un mismo tomo, como yo, no pierdas tiempo y lee la continuación ya a menos que no te gustara Fundación porque no tiene mucho warm up. Si, tiene un prólogo que te ayudaría a recordar cosas, pero es esencial que tengas fresco todo lo que paso en el primer libro ya que te ayudara a entender la primera parte de la secuela.

La primera parte, sigue prácticamente las mismas pautas que el libro anterior, solo que el “enemigo” ahora es el mismo Imperio, por lo tanto el problema es, digamos, más grande. La resolución, los personajes, todo te recuerda a Fundación, lo cual no es algo malo, ya que en esa primera parte nos exponen el problema más común dentro de una “lucha por poder” que no puedes dejar de lado, y se expone de maravilla.

Lo más importante es que te ayuda a entender la Fundación no como comunidad si no como razón de ser. Lo fundamental de su existencia y lo inevitable de su progreso. Y esto es muy necesario ya que la segunda parte hace mucho énfasis en lo único que no tiene en cuenta el PLAN SELDON, o sea, la individualidad. Y de eso trata más el libro. Como un plan que toma en cuenta los movimientos de toda una sociedad se ve en peligro por las motivaciones de una sola persona. Ademas es en esta parte donde el libro se separa casi por completo de su forma de contar las cosas y toma un giro sci-fi mas clásico y común, aunque sin perder el toque del autor.

Es muy interesante de leer, y aunque sigue sin hacer énfasis en los personajes ya que el autor sigue apostándole a una trama de exposición social, si les da más protagónico a algunos. Además vemos participación femenina, algo que no tuvimos en Fundación. Bayta me agrado mucho, algo excéntrica pero centrada en sus ideales. Pero recalco, esta no es una historia centrada en los personajes y su evolución, es muy importante tener eso en cuenta.

Muy recomendado si te gusto el primer libro. Una continuación digna y con una meta especifica. Segura de sí misma y de la historia que plantea, con un ritmo increíblemente rápido para la sustancia tan seria que contiene y muy inteligente. No perderé tiempo, me voy a por el tercer libro ya de ya.
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,242 reviews2,255 followers
April 5, 2017
The saga continues, with the Foundation coming up against the unexpected. We are sharply reminded that psychohistory is a probabilistic science and can fail against the unpredictable.

Edit to add:

I was thinking of the mutant, Mule, who upset the carefully planned Foundation applecart.

Yes, there's very little one can do against unexpected mutants! ;)


Another one of my reviews which has proved prophetic today. I am getting so good at this so as to frighten myself.
Profile Image for jade.
489 reviews288 followers
January 23, 2021
“society is much more easily soothed than one’s own consciousness.”

foundation & empire appears to be a somewhat worthy successor of its predecessor -- at least as far as the second half of the book is concerned.

a mixed bag of a reading experience for me, but still an interesting one!

the previous book consisted of five mini-stories detailing several crises and changes to the foundation’s government and policy; foundation and empire consists only of two parts with separate plots and characters. both showcase a more formidable enemy than the foundation’s had so far, and as such they provide a much more dangerous adversary.

this also further explores the fact that even though hari sheldon’s psychohistory predicts societal trends and mass behaviors across the centuries pretty accurately, it does not account for the actions of exceptional individuals.

that brings us to the two exceptional individuals blocking the foundation’s path.

in part one, we have the still-decaying galactic empire, represented by an ambitious young general who is determined to conquer the newly-risen power that calls itself foundation. in part two there’s the mule, a mutant warlord with inexplicable powers who wants to establish a second empire seven-hundred years before hari sheldon’s predictions.

and he’ll glady annex the foundation to achieve it.

© Michael Whelan

i’ll be honest: reading this one was a bit of a challenge.

it seems that the short stories and chapters of the first book were more in favor of asimov’s writing style than i initially thought. because if you give him over a hundred pages for a story… well, the underwritten characters start getting grating, the mysteries in the plot get slow and yawn-inducing, and slightly unsatisfying plot resolutions become more unsatisfying.

especially the first part was unbelievably boring to me. i really liked the premise -- of course a centuries-old empire would not fall instantly, and it makes sense that even after a couple of hundred years they would still be one of the stronger players in the galactic game of chess. the idea of them coming after the foundation was pretty neat.

but general bel riose was just another cardboard commander, the emperor a middling old fool, and the two others trying to stop the plot are incredibly prone to annoying monologues and farfetched ideas. also, it ends on such an anti-climactic note that it gave me even more of why-did-i-read-this-again? feeling.

the second part of the book, luckily, kind of redeemed the experience for me. (and apparently, i was not alone in this, because part two won the hugo award on its own.)

because lo and behold, it gives us two things i thought asimov was allergic to: we get a lot more descriptions of planets, civilizations, and architecture AND we have a woman as a main character! bravo!

bayta is a foundation historian who’s part of an underground resistance and believes the foundation is heading for another sheldon crisis because it’s following in the footsteps of the galactic empire. together with her husband toran, she starts seeking information on an outside threat that has risen beyond the stars: the mysterious warlord who calls himself ‘the mule’.

their quest brings them to multiple planets across the galaxy, assisted by psychologist ebling mis and the mule’s former court jester. while the mule advances, conquering planet after planet, they soon start to realize they need to find the second foundation -- hopefully they will have the means to defeat the mule.

part two brought me genuine distress as well as investment in the storyline. the mule is a mysterious but interesting villain; you keep wondering what his endgame is, as well as whether he’d actually be capable of raising a better second empire than sheldon ever predicted.

one of the more poignant scenes is this: every time a crisis approaches, a holographic video of hari sheldon appears in what the foundation has come to call the time vault. sheldon will talk briefly about the crisis he’s predicted, and vaguely allude to how the foundation should proceed now. but this time around…

the big reveal at the end and the final few chapters are rather easy to see coming even if you only paid a marginal amount of attention, but i found it interesting to note here that the mule appears to be a pretty convincing blueprint for a certain type of villain. and that is rather cool, considering how long ago this was published -- and before the whole superhero comic book rush, too.

overall, it still has the same little annoyances that the first book had, though there is a definite increase in immersive descriptions. but all powerful leaders are still obsessed with having a smoke, and rigid gender roles are still firmly in place.

in my most radical of opinions: skip part one, and read part two. because that’s the cooler story even if the characters still remain somewhat flat.

read my review of the first book here.

3.0 stars.
Profile Image for Adrian.
558 reviews198 followers
June 19, 2017
Well I first read this back in the mid 70s and have re-read it (non Gr) many times since. In my view the trilogy is comparable (if not better than) LOTR which I often say is my favourite all time book. What a quandary.

As their "series" read, I am reading the Foundation series ( the 7 volume version) with SF Aficionados. I have now re-read the first 2 of the original trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed. Ok so I only read them last year but each time I (re)read them I am truly astonished by the wide ranging scope of Asimov's vision. Wonderful series of books that can be read as a trilogy, as 7 (septology?) or if one wishes to include the Asimov Robot and Empire novels its a lot more (other (Asimov estate authorised) authors have also increased the Foundation series even further).
Profile Image for Hosein.
170 reviews86 followers
March 13, 2023
نمی‌تونم انکار کنم که عاشق علمی تخیلیم، اما بنیاد واقعا فرسایشیه. منم دقیقا مثل خودِ آسیموف نمیفهمم که چطور کتابش این همه طرفدار داره و "شاهکار" حساب می‌شه. مطمئن یه داستان کلاسیک جذابه اما تحمل کردنش برای 340 صفحه اعصاب پولادی می‌خواد، حتی برای یکی مثل من که از این سبک لذت می‌بره.
Profile Image for Pat the Book Goblin .
423 reviews124 followers
May 26, 2018
Wow! Such a great book! I couldn't put it down! This book tied in the loose ends of Foundation, and Foundation and Empire really brought it all together with a huge bang at the end! I can’t wait to read Second Foundation to see what happens!!

Foundation and Empire is set around a century after the first book. At this point, the Empire has completely collapsed and the galaxy is divided into barbarian tribes vying for power. The Foundation is the most technologically advanced group but it doesn’t seek to conquer, only to hold on to its closest territories until Seldon’s predictions come to fruition. However, Hari Seldon never predicted—a mutant, called the Mule!

Throughout the book I was routing for the Foundation and my heart dropped when something horrible happened. (I’m trying so hard to keep this spoiler free)
The end was such a twist. I never saw it coming. I'm really good at predicting endings to movies and books and this one got me. I predicted the death of Viscerion from Game of Thrones but I never saw the ending of this book!

Foundation and Empire brought me back to the story. Foundation was a bit taxing since it seemed like an entire piece of dialogue but the story was intriguing. This book had many descriptions and the action was fast paced and everything I love about Sci-fi. Asimov really blew this one out of the water. Please let the third book be just as good or better than this one!!

Now, onto Second Foundation!!
Profile Image for Michelle.
146 reviews19 followers
February 14, 2012
I am baffled as to why I liked this book and the previous one in the series, at least I am baffled as to how to explain it. This is about as conceptual as it gets. There is no protagonist, or maybe the protagonist is the human race, which might sound kind of original and exciting, but it really isn't. The characters themselves don't really get that much characterization, they are pawns in a game with no players and they're only "on stage" for a brief episode and then the epic sweep of time swats them into oblivion. But, the idea of "psychohistory" being able to predict the future of huge numbers of people even though psychology fails to predict any single person's fate is catchy, and the book is full of that kind of conceptual messing around. This is number two in the series and nothing new to be added that I didn't say about number one previously.

So, I can't think of a single person I know to whom I would confidently say "oh yeah, you're going to looove this series" but yet it is supposedly a sci-fi classic and looooved by a whole bunch of people. I just don't know any of them, except the person who recommended it to me, and she already read it, so.
Profile Image for Ivana Books Are Magic.
523 reviews190 followers
October 28, 2021
Foundation and Empire felt like two novels in one. I mean I loved both parts of the novel so I have no complaints, but these two parts really did feel like two separate novels. Both parts of the novel are set in the same Universe but the characters are different in the first and the second part of the book. Moreover, there is a time gap between them- that is about a century long. The first part of the novel is about the conflict between Foundation and Empire and the second one about the war between Foundation/Traders and the mysterious Mule character. I believe parts of this novel were even published as different stories under different titles in various science-fiction magazines. Well, I'm happy to have read them in one book. The more Foundation stories, the merrier. (Someday I will reread all the Foundation books in perfect order, but since I didn't start with the first one, I don't see the point in insisting on any particular order to reading them. )

The first half of the book opens with a strong character- General Bel Riose of the Galactic Empire. There are many amiable qualities about him that make you root for him, even if you know that psycho-history dictates that Foundation will overcome the Empire. Technically speaking, Bel Riose is on the side of the bad guys, isn't he? However, he is quite likable, extremely capable and has a bit role to play. Bel Riose is intelligent, considering and brave. He is completely devoted to the Empire and never acts in his own self-interest. His men seem to adore him and one hardly wonders at that. Bel Riose holds Barr (a patrician from a captured world) a prisoner, holding his family hostage. The two often have interesting discussions. Bel Riose presents tempting arguments about the Empire, stressing how without it there was anarchy. As the novel enfolds, Bel Riose starts to explore Foundation more and more. Bel Riouse visits it and cannot grasp how its people can be so assured of themselves and their victory. Bel Riose senses danger and plans an attack while the Empire is so strong in resources. He is aware that with time, the Empire might grown weaker because nobody knows how to build proper spaceships anymore. Barr, still his prisoner, maintains that psycho-history proves that Foundation will win over the Empire. Bel Riose argues that it is completely senseless that such at tiny enemy should defeat the Galactic Empire, but he is wise enough to prepare for it. He captures a Trader Devers (a Foundation man) whom he treats as well as his other prisoner the patrician Barr but remains suspicious of them both. Finally, the general decides to launch an attack on Foundation. Is the Foundation ready for it? Will they hold? Will Bel Riose convenience the Emperor himself to support his attack on Foundation with all its might? The story only really starts there. I won't reveal what happens with Devers and Berr but I will say they are wonderfully crafted characters. The characters of the Emperor and his first counsel are wonderfully developed as well. Even some minor characters are quite vividly painted. The pacing is perfect, the construction of the plot is excellent and the story itself interesting and imaginative. Nothing to complain of here! Some great social-political observations, debates and analysis. Plus, I enjoyed how psycho-history always came up victorious. I love the whole Foundation concept. So far, I really loved all the Foundation novels I have read...and that brings me to the second part of this novel.

I liked the second part of the novel (perhaps even more than the first one) because there was an element of mystery there. It reminded me of Asimov's detective Robot novels. The story itself was so packed with action and information that I had to reread many a passage again. It really is quite clever. Sometimes I would miss a piece of information and I had to reread some parts again to be able to follow the story. There is an emotional touch to this part of the novel and there's a strong female lead that takes matters into her own hands. The ending is simply brilliant! Highly recommended!

To conclude, I loved both parts of this novel. What I loved the most about the first one was the mature discussion of social and political matters (still relevant today). What I loved the most about the second one was how the mystery element blended perfectly with the story itself. I immensely enjoyed this novel!
Profile Image for Ian.
390 reviews64 followers
October 15, 2022
Second book in the original Foundation trilogy. Some inevitable dating, in a book 70 years old but on the whole it's stood up relatively well. Introduces the character of the Mule, the genetic mutant able to manipulate emotions and the thereby threaten Hari Seldon's secret plan to restore civilization to the galaxy. The series is a classic of space opera and fondly re-read from my early years.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,920 reviews1,255 followers
August 10, 2018
Whoaaaaa, it has been five years since I reread Foundation! I didn’t realize how long it had been. I’ve had Foundation and Empire, and most of the other books, sitting in a pile in my old bedroom for a long time. For some reason, I had it in my head that Second Foundation, the one book I was missing, was the second book in the series (I wonder why); I was waiting and waiting to find a battered, old copy of it at my used bookstore and never did. Eventually I broke down and bought it new, only to discover I could have kept going with the series anyway….

I was 23 when I reread the first book, and now I’m nearly 29! I feel like an entirely different person from 23-year-old Ben, let alone whatever delicate age I was when I first read this book. My key takeaway from this reread? Isaac Asimov is actually a crap writer. Strap in for a fun ride (or, if you are an Asimov diehard fan, maybe just … close this tab), because I am going to pick this thing apart.

Whereas the original book was a collection of short stories that, together, formed a larger plot, Foundation and Empire collects two novellas, “The General” and “The Mule”. Set some time after the first book, these stories tell, respectively, of the Galactic Empire’s last strike against the nascent Foundation, and of the rise of an eponymous mutant whose very existence throws off Hari Seldon’s precious psychohistorical predictions for the Foundation’s ascendance and safeguarding of the galaxy.

I see in my review of the first book I observed that it was mostly dialogue, and maybe that’s why it escaped the criticism I’m going to level here. Asimov’s prose is just bad. Like, someone did not restrain his access to the adverb vault. This is particularly egregious in the way he tags dialog. He has a great aversion to said, and when he must resort to it, he never fails to pair it with an adverb. Here’s a representative sample from a single page:

- Cleon II said peevishly
- Brodrig said patiently
- The Emperor sneered nastily
- said Brodrig smoothly
- Cleon II frowned heavily
- The Emperor laughed shortly

After a while, this started to grate on me. But it’s still possible to overlook it, right? I mean, writing style isn’t everything, as long as there is a good story….

Foundation and Empire isn’t all that impressive, story-wise. In “The General” we’re treated to an ambitious but frustrated eponymous antagonist: he yearns for the days of conquest, and going after the mysterious Foundation seems like the best way to reprise those. The story suffers for lack of a strong protagonist, though; the two characters who come close spend most of their time bickering about whether or not the Foundation will get through this without doing much to actually effect any change themselves. In “The Mule” there is more action and decidedly more setbacks; it is definitely a more interesting story. Yet it suffers from issues of pacing and characterization, with decidedly over the top bureaucrats.

This is by no means an original observation, either, but there is a conspicuous lack of women in this book. The first female character, Bayta, appears halfway through the book (at the beginning of “The Mule”), and Asimov describes her this way:

She wasn’t beautiful on the grand scale to others—he admitted that—even if everybody did look twice. Her hair was dark and glossy, though straight, her mouth a bit wide—but her meticulous, close-textured eyebrows separated a white, unlined forehead from the warmest mahogany eyes ever filled with smiles.

So she’s hot, but not too hot compared to other hot women, but still pretty hot—got it?

Anyway. I would be more charitable here if there were a really compelling story happening beneath these layers of sexism and purple prose. Asimov obviously has some intriguing, big-picture ideas here. But I’ve been reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s novella collection The Found and the Lost concurrently with this (and other) books. And Le Guin does this kind of so-called “soft SF” so much better. Her Hainish works deal with galactic societies over long timescales, yet she digs deeply into individuals’ stories. There is definitely a place for the shallower, flash-and-talk storytelling that Asimov is doing here, and I know it captured a lot of hearts and imaginations when it first came out. But as far as its place in the classic canon goes? Foundation as a series or an idea might deserve it, but Foundation and Empire is not particularly memorable or laudable, in my opinion.

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Profile Image for Timothy Urgest.
504 reviews263 followers
August 6, 2021
The Foundation has risen and challengers multiply like parasites.

Imperial warlords, Foundation dissidents, and an empire taking its last breath all vie for power in a galaxy that lies on the brink of barbarism and destruction.

I enjoyed Foundation and Empire; and though everything managed to sort itself by the end, I admit I got lost a few times regarding who was fighting for whom. What I like most about the series is seeing the future effects of small choices and conflicts. Characters are the players, but they are not the point. The point of the series is society’s advancements as a whole. Worlds remain to be conquered or liberated; we’ll see what happens.
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