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Foundation's Triumph (1999)
by David Brin
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061056391, Mass Market Paperback)Isaac Asimov's 1951-53 Foundation trilogy is a rough-hewn classic of far future SF, honored with a unique 1965 Hugo for Best All-Time Series. It begins with "psychohistorian" Hari Seldon mapping the best possible course for humanity's next millennium, after the fall of the doomed Galactic Empire. Late in life Asimov revisited the series and awkwardly linked it with his popular robot stories--introducing vast conspiracy theories to explain the Empire's total lack of visible robots.
Asimov's estate authorized three SF notables to fill out Seldon's life in the Second Foundation Trilogy, which David Brin here wraps up after Gregory Benford's Foundation's Fear and Greg Bear's Foundation and Chaos. Chaos is the new keyword, because chaos theory seemingly makes nonsense of psychohistorical prediction. Whole planetary populations can lapse into chaotic rebellion despite secret mind-controlling agencies behind the scenes. So Seldon makes his last interstellar journey, harried, lectured, and even kidnapped by the warring factions of robots and not-quite-robots that have long manipulated humanity. The robots' dilemma:
"We are loyal, and yet far more competent than our masters. For their own sake, we have kept them ignorant, because we know too well what destructive paths they follow, whenever they grow too aware."
Brin does his best with Asimov's overcrowded legacy, skillfully steering Seldon to an insight about the much-foretold future that satisfies both the old man and the reader, with a spark of human free will and constructive chaos shining through the grayness of predestination. Asimov would have approved. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:03 -0400)