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Foundation and Empire (Foundation #2)
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Series Read: Foundation > Foundation Series Book 2: Foundation and Empire

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message 1: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 1227 comments Mod
Welcome back to our series read of Asimov's Foundation!

This month we read the second: Foundation and Empire.

The book is a "fix-up novel" (thank you Dan for that definition in the last thread) composed of two novellas that were originally published separately but who have come together in a shotgun marriage to form this here book. We wish them the best of luck!

The second novella "The Mule" won a Retro Hugo Award in 1996.


Phil Jensen | 111 comments My personal favorite of the Foundation series. The Mule is a really memorable character. Asimov gets a lot of flak for his characterization, but when I stop to think about it, some of my favorite SF characters- Susan Calvin, R. Daneel Olivaw, and the Mule- were created by him.


message 3: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 1227 comments Mod
which series or book is Susan Calvin from?

I'm a fan of Olivaw, at least from the one book I've read that featured him (Caves of Steel). fascinating character.


Phil Jensen | 111 comments mark wrote: "which series or book is Susan Calvin from?"

She was from the original I, Robot short stories. In true Asimov fashion, she has no romantic interest. Her only passion is solving robot logic puzzles! With her brain! She's the Earth's greatest robo-psychologist! You got a robot problem? Call Susan Calvin!

I was really disappointed when they replaced her with Will Smith for the movie. Also they replaced logic puzzles with explosions. This is why "Foundation" will probably never get a good movie treatment. They would have to replace nerdy scientists with The Rock and psychohistory with chase sequences.


message 5: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 1227 comments Mod
she does sound interesting. looking forward to reading those stories.


message 6: by Wastrel (new)

Wastrel | 53 comments Phil wrote: "mark wrote: "which series or book is Susan Calvin from?"

She was from the original I, Robot short stories. In true Asimov fashion, she has no romantic interest. Her only passion is solving robot l..."


Yeah, they were planning a Ron Howard movie of Foundation, which would have been... can't think of an appropriate adjective for that.

The current plan is for a multi-season TV series by Jonathan Nolan (Memento, The Prestige, Interstellar, Person of Interest). Which could be... interesting? Unfortunately he seems to have gotten temporarily side-tracked into a side-project called "Westworld", which has taken more of his time and energy than originally intended, so it's not clear when production will actually start on Foundation, if it ever does.


MadProfessah (madprofesssah) | 44 comments I hope it does!!

Would love to see an HBO miniseries about the Foundation series.


Robert Edward | 2 comments I'm sorry I missed last month's discussion. I received the first trilogy as a gift when I was a kid, and read Foundation plus about halfway through Foundation and Empire. About six months ago I decided to take another crack at it; I bought the entire series and read them straight through on Kindle. I did a sort of "Machete Order" where I read Foundation, Foundation and Empire, then read Prelude, then Second Foundation, Foundation's Edge, back to Forward the Foundation, and finished with Foundation and Earth.

I liked both halves of this one. The first half, about General Riose, is really a continuation of the first serial and would have worked just as well as another (seventh?) installment of the original Foundation serials.

The Mule could have been a standalone book, and I'm glad his story carries into the next (save that conversation for August).

These books truly don't have a lot of "action" in them; I think they continue to survive as classics because of how well Asimov writes dialogue and interaction between characters. Each character's motivations and plans become clear to us so we understand why things play out the way they do. The ambitious general who sees the end of his empire in the face of change, the paranoid emperor presiding over the end, the weak, hollow leadership structure of the complacent Foundation dependent on Seldon to save everything-- the characters drive the story more than the battles (he even skips over the final fall of Trantor in the bridge between stories).

I figured out who was really the Mule, but not much sooner than did Bayta. Certain details left me confused, but the next book explains or resolves them. His overall story arc is clever, even if he ended up retconning a few details when he returned to the series after the original trilogy.

This is a great discussion group!


Katy (Kathy_H) | 82 comments Finally have my copy and should start reading this week. Looking forward to it.


message 10: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 1227 comments Mod
I plan on starting this weekend. also looking forward to it!


message 11: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (Kathy_H) | 82 comments It is nice to know that I won't be reading alone.


message 12: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 1227 comments Mod
ha! we can talk about it together. everyone else can look on in shame, jealousy, and remorse for not joining us. Katy & Mark for the win!


message 13: by Katy (last edited Jul 12, 2017 12:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (Kathy_H) | 82 comments Awesome! I do wish I was the personal space invader though.


message 14: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 1227 comments Mod
Only one personal space invader allowed! those are very important mod rules, you know. this group can only handle so many 80s video game references and only so much personal space being invaded.


message 15: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (Kathy_H) | 82 comments ;)


message 16: by Rafael (last edited Jul 18, 2017 08:03PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rafael da Silva (Morfindel) | 43 comments Wow! I have to confess that that ending was not a big surprise. I was suspecting of it since 3/4 of the book.

I liked it more than the first book.

I am anxious for the next book.


message 17: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (Kathy_H) | 82 comments Read the first part of the book. Great read so far , I'm getting into this world more


message 18: by mark, personal space invader (last edited Jul 22, 2017 03:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 1227 comments Mod
also read the first part. enjoyable! although in many ways it was a longer version of what came before: a new threat arrives to challenge Foundation... Foundation agents debate and one of them is proactive... in the end, passive engagement + superior technology = Foundation wins.

I can see how this could become a bit dull after a while, but for now I'm still interested. the first novella did a good job itself of illustrating the inherent predictability of these sorts of narratives while showing that there was still room for surprising things. mainly in the character of Ducem Barr.

Ducem's attitude is for most part a complacent *shrug, it will work itself out, psycho-history means Foundation always win* but later acts out in a very individualistic and human way (the surprising assault on the general and his basic motivation of revenge). and in the end, even though Ducem's actions were exciting and moved the story forward, it becomes clear that those actions were essentially meaningless since the Foundation was going to win whether or not he did anything. that pointless trip to Trantor was a fun way of illustrating that.

I am hoping that the Foundation faces more serious threats - although it is hard to imagine a more serious threat than the Empire! but Asimov seems to understand that his stories need to be more than simply showing how psycho-history means Foundation always win.


message 19: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (Kathy_H) | 82 comments Finished the book. II agree with Rafael that the ending was not a complete surprise. And I am anxious to read the next book also.


message 20: by Wastrel (new)

Wastrel | 53 comments mark wrote: "also read the first part. enjoyable! although in many ways it was a longer version of what came before: a new threat arrives to challenge Foundation... Foundation agents debate and one of them is p..."

Not to give away what comes after, but: of course you can't predict what could be a greater threat to the Foundation! Because the more you can predict it, the more Hari Seldon already predicted it...


message 21: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 1227 comments Mod
ha! that is a very intriguing comment.


message 22: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday (happyendoftheworid) | 1227 comments Mod
I read the rest of the novel and man that novella "The Mule" is fantastic! the best thing I've read by this author so far. he packs in so much in such a short space and made it so breezy yet still thoughtful. I loved that feeling of puzzle pieces slowly coming together. I think I figured out who The Mule was fairly early, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment. The Mule himself was very well-done and probably the most sympathetic character yet in the series.


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