Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Re-reading the Foundation series has been an interesting trip, with some really great ups and a few downs. But overall, I have to place the original Foundation trilogy in the brilliant category, with Prelude and Foundation and Earth in the above-average category, with Edge being fine and Forward trailing rather far behind. Alas. And I suppose it would be best to ignore the Second Foundation Trilogy that wasn't even penned by Asimov himself.
Here's the strange bit: Foundation and Earth is something of a rather huge departure from the spirit of the Foundation trilogy in that it recognizes many of its faults and proactively attempts to re-structure the course of Human History (as was seen in Edge).
Did I really fall in line with the whole Gaia argument? Well, sort of. It feels like a Deus Ex Machina and way too powerful without all the subtleties that would truly make up such a social structure, but even so, I do like the idea and have liked it by many other authors.
But apparently, even Asimov has his reservations and turns this novel into a rather happy, fun romp through the galaxy in an archeological adventure, diving down memory (and future history) lane, unraveling his own books all the way back to the Robots, the Spacer worlds, and, as the title suggests, Earth.
Every kind of human type gets a say in this adventure, commenting from their own unique viewpoints, as they unravel time. It was really fun and an easy read and it was extremely enjoyable when it comes to nostalgia.
And, honestly, since I read all these books in chronological order this last time, it actually FEELS like a great place to end the series, too.
The first time I read all these, it was by publication order, and that ended with Brin's sendoff of Hari Seldon. I really feel the similarities between F and E and Foundation's Triumph quite strongly, but between the two, I think F and E is the proper send-off.
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