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Foundation and Chaos: The Second Foundation Trilogy Mass Market Paperback – May 30, 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is book number two in the new Second Foundation Trilogy being written by hard science fiction authors Gregory Benford, Greg Bear, and David Brin, otherwise known as the "Killer B's." In this book, Bear continues where Benford's Foundation's Fear left off, as the trial of legendary psychohistorian Hari Seldon is about to begin. Bear writes with a style uncannily similar to Foundation creator Isaac Asimov's, and he even manages to incorporate some of Asimov's own writing in the novel. Aside from the trial, Bear also focuses on the nearly immortal robots that serve the Foundation, including R. Daneel Olivaw, who is set to guide one of the Foundation's first great undertakings. But Olivaw runs into trouble from an unexpected quarter, his best operative, Lodovik Trema, whose positronic brain has been irrevocably altered in a strange accident that has given him freedom from the supposedly immutable laws of robotics. --Craig Engler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"EXCITING AND WELL WRITTEN."

-- Publishers Weekly

"Exciting and well written." --" Publishers Weekly""Brings out the complexities of a galactic empire that Asimov never filled out." --" Denver Post"

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Product Details

  • Series: Second Foundation Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; First Paperback Printing edition (May 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061056405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061056406
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a hard hard book to review.
Firstly, I must congratulate the author who did a fantastic job after the 1st mess of a book to put the series back together again. The concise, clear style is much appreciated by this reader (despite what anyone may say about individuality and style, the readers here are the original fans of Asimov and therefore probably prefer the Good Doctor's style! ).
But more damage is done precisely because of this. Benford's work I can completely ignore because it is so far from it's foundations (sorry ;-)) that it's virtually unrecognisable. The same cannot be said about 'Foundation and Chaos'. It's an easily recognisable/acceptable episode in the Asimovian Galaxy.
Spoiler alert: I'm going to discuss plotting, characters and theme here.
Firstly, thank you Mr. Bear for getting rid of (or as much as you could) wormholes, memes, sims and most of the other unnecessary additions by Benford.
Secondly,why is everyone focusing so much on robots? This is the FOUNDATION series - a series originally about human resourcefulness and ability to triumph, remember? This is NOT THE ROBOT series. Just because the Good Doctor decided they take place in the same universe doesn't mean robots now fill every page of a FOUNDATION book. In the 3 foundation novels that robots were mentioned (F&Earth, Prelude and Forward), only 1 novel had a significant portion of the novel devoted to robots. In this new series we are presented with 2 (and mostly likely 3) novels packed full of robots.
Don't take me wrong - I like the robot series very much - probably more than I did the original Foundation series. I whooped with joy when Daneel appears in 'Foundation and Earth' and was glad to greet him like an old friend in all subsequent novels.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I hate repeating what has been said in the other reviews, but let's be honest and admit that FOUNDATION'S FEAR by Gregory Benford was abysmal, and this book by Greg Bear has done much to get back on track. I did groan a bit when the sims, Joan of Arc and Voltaire, came back in it, but Bear got stuck with them thanks to Benford's bizarre plotting, and did what he could with them.
Basically, this deals with Hari Seldon's trial and the conflict between two factions of robots, those who identify with Susan Calvin, the pioneer in Robotics, and those who identify with the legendery R. Daneel Olivaw. Throw in a couple of mentalists at odds with each other, and you have a rather good Foundation novel.
Read FOUNDATION'S FEAR if you think you must, but it's not necessary because this far better written second novel stands well by itself.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unlike Foundation's Fear (the first book in the new Foundation trilogy), I can categorically recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Foundation saga started by Isaac Asimov. Granted, you have to read Foundation's Fear to really get the full benefit from this book - but this story was told in a much better fashion and one that, in my opinion, was more true to the Asimov mold of writing and thinking. (In fact, a few times it was easy for me to forget that this was not vintage Asimov.)
The story is very well fleshed-out and the plot (and plotting) are excellent, including the political aspects. (After all, Hari Seldon always operated in the sphere of the political regime). I highly recommend it. It makes slogging my way through the first book in the new trilogy (which I was not as thrilled with) well worth the effort. Foundation and Chaos also ties in very nicely with the events from the Part I section of the original 1951 Foundation novel and fills in a lot of gaps as well as keeping the wonderful Robots-Foundation combination story going. We also get a little taste of what the events in Asimov's Foundation and Earth foreshadowed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was actually disappointed by this series as a whole, having built up quite an expectation in my mind after learning that it was a collaboration by three of my top five favorite SF authors (Stephenson and Sterling make up the balance). Benford's tedious start made me think twice about continuing the series, but the promise of Greg Bear made me come back to it. And I wasn't disappointed. (At least until I moved on to Brin's contribution.)
It really seemed to me like this series wasn't as much a collaboration as a competition... Bear seems to take pains to instantiate his own ideas and opinions about the Robots/Empire/Foundation universe at the expense of Benford's. (And later, Brin will do much of the same.) I much rather would have seen a true collaboration that brought out only the best of the authors involved (much like the Niven/Pournelle collaborations do). Unfortunately, we're subjected to something that comes across as literary oneupsmanship.
But I give Bear 4 stars for his effort, which is easily the most "Asmiovish," in my opinion. Not that Asimov wasn't tedious (like Benford), or didn't take lurching left turns (like Brin), but of the three novels in this series, Foundation and Chaos was most like what I expected. Brin's conclusion is easily worth reading, if you make it this far, but don't expect it to be better than this one.
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