Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Great mystery, lots of cat and mouse, and subterfuge.
And, of course, there is the grand attempt to put the proto-empire back together after the Mule (Humpty-Dumpty) had shattered it. The Foundation is cocky. So sure of itself. And yet… the math must rule.
I'm still amazed at how well this and the other two books in the trilogy holds up. It's easy to let little things go like all the focus on Atomic Reactors when they've still got FTL. We could replace one technology with another and still have the same core story shine.
And it really shines.
Yes, SF has had tons of telepathic SOBs, but I still count the Mule as one of the most savvy and intelligent dictators to ever topple a galactic empire. The first half of this book deals entirely with him and his long quest to hunt down the Second Foundation. It is an obsession with him.
And all the while? Yeah, the Second Foundation remains elusive and scarily effective, eventually trapping and defeating the Mule with wit and brilliant conversations and logical traps that are brilliant. I can't recommend this series more. The core stories are still as sharp as ever, even if we as readers are jaded by 60 years of authors riding on Asimov's coattails. :)
The second portion of this novel was slightly more special to me, oddly enough, and no matter how much I loved the Mule, I really enjoyed the First Foundation hunting for the Second Foundation even more. The characters involved in it were wonderful.
The First Foundation always seems to get things wrong, but this the same as usual. :) Still, the surprise at the end stayed with me after 30 years between readings and still made me smile after my second reading, so that *is* a very good sign, is it not? :)
Yes, this trilogy still remains in my top 10 list of (single books or trilogies) out of all the books I've ever read. :) Great stuff.
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