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Foundation's Fear Paperback – 1998

Book 8 of 10 in the Foundation Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Eos; Reprint edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061056383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061056383
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,077,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

He fills in blanks that were blank for a good reason, it is boring to go into too much detail.
Joseph Mcgill
This book could be interesting only to those who read other Foundation novels - without Asimov's original series, this one would be complete waste of time.
Milos Eric
The only good thing I can say about the work I put into reading this mess is that I now know NEVER to read/struggle-through another Benford book/mess.
Tim Walter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

148 of 151 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a loyal reader of the 'Foundation', 'Empire' and 'Robot' series and of Asimov himself - it was pure joy to find the series being continued by well-respected authors after Asimov's death. That joy has now turned into dread as I close the covers of 'Foundation's Fear'.... Bear better be better or else Brin won't get a look in. ;-)
In honour of the clear and conciseness of the Good Doctor....
1. This is NOT a Foundation book. Those who are going into it with that expectation please ditch it now - or else you'd end up like me and hate the book. This is a Benford book set in a 'Benford-altered' Foundation universe.
2. Having never read Benford before this, I hope this is not his normal style. Perhaps the author noticed the mess himself, as hinted by the comment in the Afterward: "Those who think it is easy to write clearly ... should try it"). Hallmark of a badly written novel - when you find yourself grappling to UNDERSTAND what the author is trying to say through that ornate prose and end up not even caring whether you do or not. Nobody writes as clearly as does Asimov, but surely they can find someone who does better than this!
3. The neologisms ... UGH! Perhaps it's just me, but lots of techno-babble does not equal hard SF. Intergrating technical information seamlessly into the narrative is a skill that Benford doesn't seem to appreciate. And calling a spade a spade does not detract from the science. Words such as 'mathist', 'stim', 'sim', 'pan'; 'meritocrats', 'tiktoks', 'memes' etc etc etc do not add to the narrative. It took me 8 pages to figure out what a 'pan' is - call me dumb if you will but I don't believe this kind of thing doesn't detract from the story.
4. Professor of Physics or not - Mr.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By "chase421" on March 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Firstly, I have read all three books in the new series. I would ask you to save your money, as the only real reason you would want to read these books is if you are an Asimov die-hard, and must include anything remotely Asimov-ian in your collecion.
I must say, though, that if you are insistent on reading this series anyway, skip this first one. Oh my God. Nothing like Asimov (as you can tell by these other reviews). Even Daneel acts differently, which is a shame.
It truly seems that when the Asimov estate approached Benford to write this novel, he quickly read the Foundation series, then merely tied in several story ideas Benford himself was working on anyway, slapped them together with a minimum of stitching, and turned them into something remotely Foundational.
I also noticed that you can get no real sense of time (in later books, Hari and Dors's pan adventure is explained to be quite a long period of time's worth, but you can't tell that at all from Benford's book -- it seems like only a week at most). As a matter of fact, if you read Bear's or Brin's entries (which are much better by the way -- Greg Bear's is more action-oriented and fast-paced, where poor David Brin has to bat clean-up and seems to do more explaining for the whole mis-begotten affair than anything else) you'll see the other two authors almost trying to shy away from Benford's novel: there's hardly anything mentioned in Bear's book regarding the Voltaire and Joan sims until the end (thank goodness -- they were annoying and the most pointless characters in this book, and, unfortunately, they were the majority of it), and Brin worked with the sims as best he could.
Avoid the first book, but give the other two a try.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By AntiochAndy on November 2, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Normally, I do a lot of my reading on the train (BART for those of you familiar with San Francisco), getting to and from work. An engrossing book keeps me awake and I read it relatively quickly. "Foundation's Fear", especially the first half of it, set a recond for putting me to sleep. There were days in when I only managed to read a couple of pages. A paragraph or two and I'd be out, even before the train started moving. As others here have pointed out, there is a lot of boring dialogue and description and much of it focuses around the Voltaire and Joan of Arc artificial entities. Hundreds of pages of philosophical noodling and descriptions of imaginary scenes conjured up in cyberspace become numbing.
Then there's psycohistory! Asimov used it as a vehicle to further his plot, he didn't try to flesh it out in detail. Benford does, and it just doesn't work on that level. If elaborate statistical analysis worked that well think what it could do to major sports. He also indulges in long-winded detailing of psychohistory's graphical output. This also goes on and on. And there's the imperial government, which is autocratic, but also seems to be subject to democratic constraints at the same time.
Benford discusses in the "Afterward" all the considerations involved in extending Asimov's Foundadtion series, and there were many. To his credit, he didn't try to imitate Asimov's style and he introduced technologies not used in the original books. And some parts of the book are faster-paced and more entertaining. I thought the section on "Panucopia" was the best, but there were other good scenes.
This book has it good points and its bad ones. It's two hundred pages too long and there are inconsistencies that are already well-documented by others. On the whole it isn't very satisfying. Those wanting to do the full sequence should be prepared to plod through, others probably should bypass this one altogether.
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