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Foundation and Earth Mass Market Paperback – August 31, 2004

4 out of 5 stars 230 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The fifth novel in Asimov's popular Foundation series opens with second thoughts. Councilman Golan Trevize is wondering if he was right to choose a collective mind as the best possible future for humanity over the anarchy of contentious individuals, nations and planets. To test his conclusion, he decides he must know the past and goes in search of legendary Earth, all references to which have been erased from galactic libraries. The societies encountered along the way become arguing points in a book-long colloquy about man's fate, conducted by Trevize and traveling companion Bliss, who is part of the first world/mind, Gaia. Springing from the same impulse that has fed his myriad nonfiction work, the novel's debate is enlivened by Asimov's fervid curiosity and his restless urge to explain everything, right down to the human passions that have largely vanished from his fiction. In fact, the characters, the tie-ins to Asimov's Robot series and the search's revelations suffer from the impersonal neatness that has handicapped Asimov's other fiction. He has, however, found an ingenious way around his clumsiness with novelistic narrative by employing a formal fairy tale structure in which the different worlds represent tasks or gifts or wishes, their fair aspect hiding a deadly surprise. As a result, this rather lightweight addendum to the series breathes in a way his heavier, more substantial books seldom do. Paperback rights to Ballantine/Del Rey; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'One of the most staggering achievements in modern SF' The Times

Product Details

  • Series: Foundation (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (August 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553587579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553587579
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Without second thought I would say Asimov is my favourite SF author and the Foundation series is one my SF favourites. Precisely because I am so fond of both, I was very disappointed with Foundation and Earth.
The storyline does have its interesting moments and on the whole I found the quest for Earth ironically amusing from the reader's point of view. The fluency of the plot however, is continually hampered by long and unnecessary lectures. I have always respected and admired Asimov's scientific philosophy but in this occasion his reflections on individuality as opposed to collectivism are embedded in an endless and tiring debate between the Gaian Bliss and Trevize. The debate of this single topic is repeated so many times with such great length that after some time you become annoyed every time they start lecturing, wishing that they would arrange a scientific forum somewhere else, resolve the issue for once and all, then shut up for the rest of the plot.
The plot aside, the problem with this Foundation novel is that it is without the Foundation! Having been taken care of in the previous novel, the First and Second Foundations are only vague and trivial references within the novel. While two of the main characters (Trevize and Pelorat) are Foundationers, it wouldn't have altered the plot much if they weren't.
The real disappointment for me however was how the novel was concluded. The motivation of Asimov for this and the previous Foundation novel, I believe, was the fusion of the Foundation series with his excellent Robot literature. While he does so, in a reasonabl elegant fashion, the result and the ending, I am afraid, ridicules the Foundation saga in favour of the robots. It is almost as if one might not have read the Foundation trilogy at all.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the last book (chronologically) in the Foundation Series, and with Prelude to Foundation, the earliest, the Foundation Series has two excellent bookends, or, perhaps, "foundations", to keep it in place.
F&E is a continuation of Foundation's Edge, and is the story of Trevize, Pelorat and Bliss/Gaia's quest to find Earth, in an attempt to determine why Trevize's choice for the future of mankind is the right one.
The book deviates substantially from the rest of the series, but generally in a positive way. Whereas Asimov has a habit of making his primary characters out of cardboard, presumably to avoid the people getting in the way of the ideas he wants to express, F&E fleshes out the characters with a certain amount of personality. Whereas the rest of the Foundation Series tends to concentrate on worlds which, after a while, all appear similar, the worlds of F&E are different, frightening, and yet serve Asimov's agendas well. F&E also ties together the Robot series universe with that of the Foundation series far more substantially than the other books in the Foundation Series attempted to, portraying the futures of the Spacer worlds that Robot fans will be familiar with.
I'm guessing that the differences are ultimately why this has gotten a lower average review than the others in the series - it's not classic Foundation Series material, and any one expecting a collecton of stories involving a renegade Foundation leader visiting various rebelling worlds and outwitting the dimwitted monarchs that rule over them with some sort of smartarsed politics is going to be sorely disappointed. Hari Seldon makes no appearance. I don't recall even seeing the term "Seldon Crisis" in this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A forward to this book written by Asimov himself makes reference to his publisher's wish that he write additional foundation novels, and implies that their incessant demands eventually overcame his own reluctance to do so. Almost as if he's saying to the reader, "Hey, don't blame me for this steaming pile. They made me do it."

If I had Asimov's resume, I'd be reluctant to put my name on this book as well.

As the title implies, Foundation and Earth is about the protagonists' continued search for the world of origin. Unfortunately, unlike Foundation's Edge, the journey itself is not long enough to fill the requisite 500 pages, so we're subjected to endless interludes of casual conversation between protagonists which are completely irrelevant to character or story progression. A simple question will launch a character into a tedious three-page monologue that reads more like an essay than dialogue.

As other reviewers have said, the primary purpose of these later books was to tie each of Asimov's sci-fi series together into one universe. This works alright for the robots, but does more harm than good to the legacy of The Foundation.

If you've read the original Foundation novels, It's likely that no negative review will dissuade you from reading this one. Therefore, I commiserate with you in advance.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As the last chronological addition to the Foundation series before he died, Isaac Asimov gave SF readers a gem. The story begins immediately after the ending of Foundation's Edge, when Golan Trevize decided the fate of humanity that all should eventually form a single superorganism called Galaxia, enlarging the present superorganism called Gaia. The main characters are Trevize; Bliss, a part of Gaia; and Pelorat, a scholar. The drive of the story is a continuation of the previous book, in that Trevize seeks Earth, mainly to determine why all records of it have been expunged. Additionally, Trevize is allowing his previous decision to hinge upon the end result of their odyssey across the Milky Way - if he wants, he can reverse his choice and Galaxia will NOT go forward, and humans will remain the independent interactors we are today.
There are few clues remaining to direct them, and they first visit a planet the readers saw in Robots and Empire, though it was under a different name. The path of the three is constantly accompanied by debates between Trevize and Bliss about the nature of life and whether a superorganism is the best option. Based on the obstacles and encounters they meet, the end decision is relatively predictable.
In this novel, we see two of the spacer worlds, one which was the first, Aurora, and one which was the last, Soloria. First stop among the spacer worlds is Aurora, which gives a grim picture of what happens to a terraformed planet once the humans have gone extinct. Their trip to Solaria solves a riddle from R&E as to what happened to the Solarians. Again, not the most pleasant evolution of an advanced society. The implications of this visit really affect Trevize's decision.
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