“Second Foundation” by Isaac Asimov (Gnome Press, 1953)

Second Foundation
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Part Three of Three

Second Foundation, the concluding volume to the first Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov was originally published in 1953.  Using the same format of dividing the book into two parts, the first – “Search by the Mule” – takes place shortly after Foundation and Empire as the hunt is on now for this second foundation that has eluded the Empire, the Foundation, and all the inhabitants for a very long time.  This first part is told from the viewpoint of the executive council of the second foundation who knows full well of the galaxy’s interest in discovering the elusive planet.  The council is aware of the Mule’s intent to find them and even though the determined ruler has psychic powers, the executive council has psychic abilities of its own in store for him, as well as a fool-proof plan in place.

The second part of the book, “Search by the Foundation,” takes place sixty years after this first part.  With the First Foundation now in ruins after the war, plans are afoot to discover the Second Foundation; the only problem is no one has any idea where it might be.  The ends of the galaxy have been searched all to no avail.  It seems that the Second Foundation will never be discovered, until we meet Arcadia Darell – a fourteen year old girl – who has snuck onto her uncle’s ship traveling to Kalgan where the Mule’s palace stands; it is here she will discover the answers and finally know the location of the Second Empire.

Second Foundation continues in the same style as the first two books in the trilogy, and while readers might expect an explosive finish from the unpredictable beginning from so many years and centuries before, the ending is a quiet one, however it is one fitting in with the trilogy as a whole and like any great mystery, the pieces to the answer were there all along.  Readers may enjoy getting to the end, and then starting over once more to look for the clues along the way.

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Originally written on February 26, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.