Asimov’s Foundation Series



The original Foundation series, referred to as the Foundation trilogy, consisted of the books “Foundation”, “Foundation and Empire” and “Second Foundation”, which were published in the 1950’s (based on short stories published by Asimov in the 1940’s). Each of these books is made up of short stories/novellas. These books have links to Asimov’s Galactic Empire novels. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Asimov added books to both his Foundation series, and his Robot Novel series, thus linking together two series which were previously independent. The Robot Novels in turn follow on from the Robot short stories. Isaac Asimov died in 1992, and “Forward the Foundation” was the last book of this series written before he died.

The Foundation series begins on the planet Trantor, which is the capital of the Galactic Empire. Hari Seldon develops the science of psychohistory, which can predict the behaviour of society using mathematics. He predicts that the Empire will fall within a few centuries, but has a plan (afterwards known as the Seldon Plan) which will reduce the period of anarchy to only a thousand years, rather than the thirty thousand that would result otherwise. This plan involves the establishment of a colony on the planet Terminus (the Foundation), on the edge of the Galaxy, to preserve technological knowledge, and to be the seed of the eventual Second Galactic Empire.

At various times during the Foundation’s history, crises would occur. Each time such a crisis (a “Seldon Crisis”) occurred, the people of the Foundation would know that Seldon had predicted it, and the key figure involved would discover that there was only one obvious choice to be made. Thus history would be guided according to the Seldon Plan. At the resolution of each crisis, the image of Seldon would appear in a Vault, explaining the situation.

Seldon also set up the Second Foundation, whose location was unknown, and whose members had mental powers (telepathy and mind-control), to continue the development and application of the science of psychohistory, thus protecting the Plan.

The books written later put the series in a different context.

I have also included stories written by other authors set in Asimov’s universe. These titles are marked in blue font. In particular, this includes the Second Foundation Trilogy, authorised by Asimov’s estate after his death. This consists of “Foundation’s Fear” by Gregory Benford, “Foundation and Chaos” by Greg Bear, and “Foundation’s Triumph” by David Brin. In terms of the chronology, these three books are interleaved between Asimov’s Foundation stories.

The dates of the internal chronology are taken from Johnny Pez’s chronology – refer Johnny Pez’s Insanely Complete Fiction List. [updated version February 2012]

AD = Anno Domini
GE = Galactic Era
FE = Foundational Era

Date – internal chronology Story and publishing date Books
12020 GE Prelude to Foundation (1988)
Hari Seldon arrives on Trantor, to present a paper on his new theory of psychohistory. He soon discovers that the Emperor, and other powerful figures, want him for their own political powerplay, so he flees to various places in Trantor: the Streeling University, the community of Mycogen (whose people cling to their ancient traditions), and Dahl, the place of the lowest members of Trantor society. He is accompanied by the woman Dors Venabili, as he attempts to resolve the problems of his psychohistorical theory.
12028 – 12069 GE Forward the Foundation (1993)
Hari Seldon, having formed the basics of psychohistory, attempts to develop it into a more useful science, at the Streeling University on Trantor.

Several decades are covered in this story. Gradually over the years, psychohistory takes shape, and with it, the Plan. In the meantime, Trantorian and Galactic society is starting to collapse, and Seldon attempts to slow and control the deterioration. On several occasions his life is in danger. He is assisted by his colleagues (particularly Yugo Amaryl, whom he recruited from Dahl), his wife Dors Venabili, his foster-son Raych, and later by his granddaughter Wanda.

Descriptions of each part of “Forward the Foundation” are given below.

12028 GE Forward the Foundation (1993)
Part I. Eto Demerzel
It is eight years since the events of “Prelude to Foundation”. Hari Seldon is now the Mathematics Department head at Streeling University, but is secretly attempting to develop the science of psychohistory. He is under the protection of the Emperor’s First Minister, Eto Demerzel. Demerzel is in reality Daneel Olivaw, the robot from Asimov’s Robot Novels, who has lived for thousands of years, trying to protect humanity, and is now trying to prevent the Empire from collapsing. However, a popular demagogue has arisen, Laskin “Jo-Jo” Joranum, who is making a bid to become First Minister. If he succeeds, this may prevent the development of psychohistory, and increase the chance of the Empire collapsing.
12028 GE Foundation’s Fear by Gregory Benford
[Second Foundation Trilogy Book 1]
Emperor Cleon has designated Hari Seldon as the new First Minister, since Demerzel’s departure. However this needs to be ratified by the High Council, and there is another candidate that some politicians favour: Betan Lamurk. Seldon would rather continue with his research into psychohistory than become First Minister, but it is not wise to go against the Emperor’s wishes.

In the meantime, two ancient personality simulations (“sims”) have been discovered on the planet Sark. Seldon’s associate, Yugo Amaryl, arranges for them to be brought to Trantor, to assist with investigations into ancient times, which may help the psychohistory research. The sims are handed over to a company called Artifice Associates, for reconstruction, repair and activation. These turn out to be sims of the historical personalities Joan of Arc and Voltaire. It is proposed that a debate be staged between the two sims, as the voices of Faith and Reason. However the debate ends in chaos. When Artifice Associates attempt to delete the sims, Joan of Arc and Voltaire escape into the Mesh, Trantor’s equivalent of the internet.

Agents of Lamurk have made two attempts on Seldon’s life. Seldon and Dors flee the planet and go to the safari resort planet of Panucopia, which is populated by various animals, including the primates called pans (Pan troglodytes: common chimpanzee). Seldon and Dors use “immersion” technology to experience the lives of the pans. But even here there are threats on their lives.

Seldon and Dors next visit the planet Sark, one of the so-called New Renaissance planets, but Seldon recognises that such planets are headed for chaos and collapse. However forces loyal to Lamurk are still on their trail, so Seldon and Dors escape in a small spaceship via the wormhole network, making repeated transits until they arrive back on Trantor.

Seldon uses immersion technology to experience the psychohistory equations in the Mesh. In cyberspace he encounters Voltaire and Joan, but also hostile alien intelligences (called “meme-entities”) from ancient times before the Empire. He makes a deal with them which will resolve the situation with Lamurk, but at a cost.

Comments on “Foundation’s Fear”
Inconsistences with Asimov’s books:
(1) Wormholes. Benford presents wormholes as the main method of interstellar travel. As he explains in his Afterword, this is a deliberate attempt to introduce more up-to-date scientific knowledge, and argues that it is similar to Asimov introducing computers and the black hole in the centre of the Galaxy. I do not accept this, as it is in sharp contrast to the hyperspace jumps of Asimov’s books. Benford does include a form of hyperspace travel, but this is used for slow transport of bulk cargo.

Subsequently in “Foundation and Chaos”, Greg Bear almost completely phases out wormhole travel, thus reverting to a more consistent continuity with Asimov’s books.

(2) Tiktoks. These are primitive mechanical automatons, with low intelligence, which do a lot of the manual labour. There are large numbers of them. They are presumably similar to what we would call robots in our time, but they are not the positronic robots of the Asimov books. It may be quite reasonable to have such machines in the time of the Foundation, but since they are not present in Asimov’s books, it seems inconsistent for them to present in this book. However, their use is discontinued by the end of the book, and are only mentioned in a few places in the other books of the Second Foundation Trilogy.

New elements:
(1) Sims: The simulations of Joan of Arc and Voltaire. There is no particular conflict with Asimov’s books, but I find the discussions between the two sims, and the long descriptions of their experiences in cyberspace, rather boring. These sections are largely independent of the sections on Hari Seldon.

(2) Government structure. This book introduces the High and Low Councils, whose members are representatives of the Galactic people. This seems a bit at odds with the picture from Asimov’s books, where the government at the time of Cleon I seems to consist of the Emperor and his court, including Ministers (such as the First Minister) and a huge bureaucracy. Possibly one could also imagine a council of the nobility.

Later, during the time of Emperor Agis XIV, [Forward the Foundation (Part IV Wanda Seldon)], the Emperor speaks disparaging of the Commission of Public Safety, the Legislature and democracy, and how he himself is virtually powerless. This is in the aftermath of the military junta. However, this doesn’t seem likely to reflect the government structure of Cleon I’s time.

A recurring theme during the book is the inadequacy of representation in the High and Low Councils of the Dahlites – a cause championed by Seldon’s associate Yugo Amaryl. Benford presents the Dahlites as an ethnic group from the Dahl Sector, but who are also scattered amongst the other Sectors of Trantor, and other Zones of the Galaxy. This also appears at odds with Asimov’s books, where Dahlites seem mostly limited to the Dahl Sector, but are occasionally encountered elsewhere on Trantor.

(3) Chaos worlds. As mentioned above for the planet Sark, this book introduces the planets which begin with a “new renaissance”, but then undergo chaos and collapse. This is described as a definite pattern, compared to Asimov’s “Forward the Foundation” where the Empire is generally collapsing, and Seldon (as First Minister) allows this collapse in the Outer Worlds in order to preserve Trantor and the centre of the Empire. The theme of the chaos worlds is carried through to the other books of the Second Foundation Trilogy.

Other interesting features:
The detailed discussion of the theory of psychohistory theory between Seldon, Yugo and Dors, and the contributing factors needed for the equations, seems to add a degree of realism to Seldon’s research. The 3D projected graphs present a fascinating image, and appear to be a precursor to the Prime Radiant.

12038 GE Forward the Foundation (1993)
Part II. Cleon I
Hari Seldon has been First Minister for ten years. Although Joranum is now dead, there are indications that his followers, the Joranumites, may be gathering strength for another attempt to take over. Seldon sends his foster-son, Raych, to infiltrate the group. Meanwhile, Emperor Cleon promotes one of his gardeners to Chief Gardener, and Seldon suddenly realises this means there will be large influx of new gardeners to the Imperial Palace grounds, with critical security implications.
12048 GE Forward the Foundation (1993)
Part III. Dors Venabili
Ten years before, Emperor Cleon had been assassinated, and a military junta came to power. Seldon had resigned as First Minister, and he and his family had returned to Streeling University. Raych had married a woman called Manella, and they had a daughter, Wanda, who is now seven years old. The Psychohistory Project now has a large staff. When Seldon turns sixty, his department decides to have a big celebration. Then Wanda tells Seldon and his family that she has had a dream, in which she heard two men plotting against Seldon’s life. Or was it a dream?

Dors had been assigned the task of protecting Seldon by Demerzel and she continues to take that responsibility. She starts to investigate whether there could be a plot. It appears that the junta want to make use of psychohistory, but consider that Seldon needs to be removed.

12058 GE Forward the Foundation (1993)
Part IV. Wanda Seldon
Hari Seldon is now seventy years old. Dors had died protecting him. Yugo Amaryl had died of ill health, having dedicated his life to the development of psychohistory. Raych, Manella, and their younger daughter, Bellis, had left for the planet Santanni, where Raych had a new job. Of Seldon’s family and close friends, only his 18-year-old granddaughter, Wanda, is still with him.

The military junta had fallen, and a new Emperor is on the throne, but he is little more than a figurehead. Economy and technology on Trantor are beginning to collapse, and crime is on the increase. With the reduction in funding, Seldon wonders whether he can keep the Psychohistory Project going.

Seldon spends much of his time in the Galactic Library, preparing for the planned Encyclopedia Foundation. The Psychohistory Project now includes encyclopedists as well as mathematicians and historians.

Seldon discovers that Wanda has mental powers, the ability to read and control minds, as well as being involved with him in his work on psychohistory. This gives Seldon the idea of establishing the Second Foundation, with people with mental powers, but how can he find other people with this ability?

12067 GE Foundation and Chaos by Greg Bear
[Second Foundation Trilogy Book 2]
This book covers the period before, during and after Hari Seldon’s trial, so part of the story includes the period covered by “Foundation” (Part I. The Psychohistorians).

Lodovik Trema is an agent of Linge Chen, head of the Commission of Public Safety. But Lodovik is also secretly a humaniform robot – an agent of Daneel. Sent on an important mission by Chen Linge, Lodovik’s spaceship makes an unscheduled hyperspace jump, and ends up in the shockwave of a supernova. He finds that he is no longer constrained by the Laws of Robotics. In particular he questions the Zeroth Law, used by Daneel and his allies (the “Giskardian” robots) to guide and control the human race. He defects to a rival group of “Calvinian” robots which only accept the Three Laws of Robotics. This group is headed by an ancient robot called Plussix.

Dors Venabili was of course a robot (which you’d know if you’ve been reading the books). After her “death” in “Forward the Foundation”, Daneel had taken her to an isolated moon called Eos, where there was a robot repair facility. There she was reactivated and repaired. Now Daneel brings her back to Trantor, but not to be with Hari, which is what she very much wishes, but for another assignment.

Wanda Seldon Palver and her husband Stettin Palver have been recruiting mentalics (people with mental powers) for the Second Foundation. However, one of her recruits, a woman called Vara Liso, with powerful mental abilities, leaves Wanda’s group and joins Imperial Councillor Farad Sinter.

Farad Sinter has ambitions to advance his position in the Imperial court. He makes use of Vara’s abilities to hunt down mentalics, but thinking that they are the robots of legend, he has them killed.

Klia Asgar, a Dahlite girl, also with powerful mental abilities, manages to escape Sinter’s hunt, and joins a group of mentalics organised by Plussix and his Calvinian robots. Plussix persuades her that Seldon’s Plan is part of Daneel’s scheme to direct and control humankind, and that she must persuade Seldon to stop.

This is a critical time – in fact the first “Seldon Crisis”, as the whole of the Plan depends on the outcome of Seldon’s trial.

In the aftermath of the trial, various friends and enemies converge on Seldon to either attack or protect. And recognising the existence of such powerful mentalics as Vara and Klia, Seldon wonders whether the Plan has been all for nothing.

Comments on “Foundation and Chaos”
I enjoyed this story, and on the whole it is consistent with Asimov’s books.

The concept of the two groups of robots, Giskardians and Calvinians, and their conflict over the ages, is fascinating.

The existence of the powerful mentalics Vara and Klia gives a foretaste of the Mule (in “Second Foundation), and Gaia (in “Foundation’s Edge”). At the end of the book, Klia and her boyfriend Brann are incorporated into the Second Foundation group in order to build up the mentalic ability in the gene pool and combat any future rogue mentalics. This gives a clever explanation of the Second Foundation’s eventual defeat of the Mule.

Since this story overlaps “Foundation” (Part I. The Psychohistorians), it strikes me that there is a lot more going on than was obvious in that earlier-written book. Asimov has added his own overlay with “Forward the Foundation” (especially that Seldon’s granddaughter and her husband are setting up the Second Foundation), and now “Foundation and Chaos” adds another overlay (with robots, mentalics, Farad Sinter, as well as more detail of Seldon’s imprisonment and trial, and of Linge Chen).

There a couple of minor conflicts between this book and Asimov’s books.
(1) In the aftermath of Seldon’s trial in “Foundation” (Part I. The Psychohistorians), there is a scene where Seldon explains what is going on to Gaal Dornick. This appears to occur immediately after the trial. In “Foundation and Chaos” it is not clear when this scene could have happened, but if it did, it must have been some time after the trial.

(2) In “Forward the Foundation” (Part IV. Wanda Seldon), Seldon tells Wanda the location of Star’s End (that is, where the Second Foundation will be located) well before the trial, and it is a location which Wanda has already worked out from the psychohistory equations. In “Foundation and Chaos”, Seldon doesn’t tell Wanda the location until after the trial, and the location is not where Wanda was expecting.

12067 GE Foundation (1951)
Part I. The Psychohistorians
[Whereas the rest of the stories in the trilogy had previously been published, this story was published as a new introduction to the series in 1951.] The mathematician Gaal Dornick arrives on Trantor to work for Hari Seldon, but immediately Gaal and Seldon are arrested. They are put on trial for Seldon’s predictions that Trantor will fall. When Seldon explains that all he wants is a scientific community to write an encyclopedia, and thus preserve scientific knowledge, he and his group are exiled to the planet Terminus, on the edge of the Galaxy.
12068 GE Foundation’s Triumph by David Brin
[Second Foundation Trilogy Book 3]
Hari Seldon has finished his work. He has recorded the Crisis holograms, and the Psychohistory Project personnel are preparing to migrate to Terminus. It seems that all that is left for him, for the remainder of his life, is to be wheeled around the Imperial Palace Gardens in his wheelchair by his assistant. He ponders an area of the psychohistory equations he has never resolved – the reason for the chaos worlds.

Then a man, Horis Antic, comes to him with a theory which shows some correlation between the chaos worlds, soil samples on various worlds, and the currents of space. Seldon decides to go with him on a trip into space to investigate this theory.

On this trip they find ancient artifacts in space which reveal forgotten facts about ancient history. And they are hijacked first by radicals from the latest chaos world, Ktlina, and then by a renegade robot, who takes them to Earth.

As they travel, Seldon learns new things about the nature of chaos. Chaos is a condition of the human race which causes disruption and collapse whenever human society goes through sudden advancement and innovation. It appears to be a kind of infection, which first appeared on Earth at the beginnings of space travel, and the invention of robots. It may have been introduced from outside, but this question is not resolved. Most of Daneel’s efforts have been attempts to minimise the effects of chaos.

In the meantime, Daneel, who is not satisfied that the two Foundations will be the solution to the chaos problem, has come up with a new solution: Gaia.

Comments on “Foundation’s Triumph”
David Brin has written a complex novel, with links to Asimov’s stories throughout the Robot/Empire/Foundation continuity. In particular, and unusually for a Foundation book, he has made explicit links to each of the books in the Galactic Empire series, including the short story “Blind Alley”.
(1) The Stars, Like Dust –: The spaceship captain, Biron Maserd, is a nobleman from the planet Rhodia, and a descendent of Biron Farrill.
(2) The Currents of Space: The technique of collecting and analysing the extremely small amounts of elements in space, the planets Sark and Florina, and the kyrt crop.
(3) Pebble in the Sky: The time-travel accident, the radioactive condition of Earth, the plot of Earth against the Empire, Joseph Schwartz’s mental enhancement.
(4) Blind Alley: Horis Antic is a descendent of Loodun Antyok; bureaucratic cleverness, the aliens from that story.

There is also a reference to the New Law robots of the planet Inferno as described in Roger Macbride Allen’s Robot Trilogy.

The book also has a plausible explanation for why the only intelligent aliens found in the Galaxy are those in the story “Blind Alley”, and why some unintelligent alien lifeforms have been found on some planets.

As Brin says in his Afterword, the authors of the Second Foundation trilogy decided to include the element of chaos in the story, and felt that it was consistent with Asimov’s novels, and explained a few things. I personally am unhappy with this overlay, feeling that it has included a foreign element to Asimov’s stories.

Another element in “Foundation’s Triumph”, which I think goes a bit too far, is Daneel’s apparent ability to plan for and control all eventualities.

Apart from these points there don’t seem to be any explicit conflict between “Foundation’s Triumph” and Asimov’s stories.

There are however a few apparent conflicts with the other books of the Second Foundation trilogy – or at least an undermining of the intent of the other authors.

(1) In “Foundation and Chaos”, Klia and Brann join the Second Foundation, in a location that is secret even to Daneel, so their genes will be added to the Second Foundation gene pool. In “Foundation’s Triumph”, Dors (following Daneel’s instructions) is supervising Klia and Brann’s settlement on the planet Smushell, where it is intended that they will have children with mentalic abilities. It is not clear whether these children will be included in the Second Foundation or in Gaia. Of course, it could be explained by saying Daneel found out about their location, and made changes. However this rather defeats some of Greg Bear’s points in “Foundation and Chaos”.
(2) In “Foundation and Chaos”, the rise of mentalic humans was explained as a reaction by the human race to the control by Daneel and his robot allies. In “Foundation’s Triumph”, it turns out that the mentalics are a result of a breeding program engineered by Daneel.
(3) It appears at the end of “Foundation and Chaos” that Daneel has agreed not to be involved in human affairs in future. However in “Foundation’s Triumph” he seems to be as active as ever in human affairs. Of course, as Daneel is depicted in these books, he is willing to lie as part of his role of protecting humanity.
(4) In “Foundation’s Triumph” it is revealed that Daneel had engineered the attempt on Seldon’s and Dors’ lives on Panucopia during the events of “Foundation’s Fear”, in order to test Seldon’s fitness for the job of First Minister. This seems to undermine the intent of Gregory Benford in his novel. Does this mean that Betan Lamurk was innocent of this attack, or that Daneel had manipulated Lamurk?

12069 GE Forward the Foundation (1993)
Part V. Epilogue
Seldon remains on Trantor, expecting to die soon. He has recorded the Crisis holograms, which Gaal Dornick has taken to Terminus. The Psychohistory Project personnel have moved to Terminus. Wanda and her fledgeling Second Foundation have left for a secret location, known as “Star’s End”.
12067-12070 GE The Originist (1989) by Orson Scott Card
This story is set in the time of the Foundation series, following Seldon’s trial.

Leyel Forska has been a close friend and financial supporter of Hari Seldon and his Psychohistory Project for many years, and continues to support him as he sets up the Encyclopedia Foundation. He is therefore very disappointed when Seldon turns down his application to join the Foundation as it is reestablished on the planet Terminus. Then Hari Seldon dies. The Imperial government had been suspicious of Seldon, and now transfer their suspicions to Leyel. As time goes on, Leyel finds himself more and more alone, and without purpose, as his wife Deet gets involved with her work at the Imperial Library. He tries to continue his own field of study, the origin of the human race. What he doesn’t realize is that Hari Seldon had plans for Leyel’s involvement in the newly established, secret Second Foundation, plans which eventually unfold.

This story fit quite well into the series, until Asimov subsequently wrote “Forward the Foundation”, which contradicts this story on a number of points. I found the story a bit too drawn-out, and dwelling too much on emotions for my taste.

49-50 FE (12117-12118 GE) Foundation (1951)
Part II. The Encyclopedists [originally published as “Foundation” (1942)]
The Encyclopedia Foundation has been proceeding with its work on Terminus for 50 years, with its Board of Trustees governing the planet. In the meantime provinces at the periphery of the Galaxy are starting to break away from the Empire. Anacreon, one of four Kingdoms neighbouring Terminus, wants to take possession of Terminus. The Encyclopedists believe the Imperial Charter will protect them, but Salvor Hardin, Mayor of the Terminus community, decides he must take action himself, to protect his world.
79-80 FE (12147-12148 GE) Foundation (1951)
Part III. The Mayors [originally published as “Bridle and Saddle” (1942)]
Mayor Salvor Hardin now governs Terminus. He has kept the Four Kingdoms at bay by mutual jealousy, and by appeasing them with high technology, atomic power and scientific services. This has become a religion for the uneducated citizens of the Kingdoms, with the technicians as priests. But Anacreon intends to attack again, and Hardin is also getting opposition from within his own council.
134 FE (12202 GE) Foundation (1951)
Part IV. The Traders [originally published as “The Wedge” (1944)]
Traders are spreading the influence of the Foundation to surrounding worlds, and with it the religion with which the Foundation can control them.

Trader Limmar Ponyets learns that a fellow trader has been imprisoned on the planet Askone, for trying to sell atomic devices, which the Askonians consider abominations. Ponyets must rescue his friend, and also persuade Askone to accept atomic devices. Perhaps a machine which turns iron into gold will help.

154-160 FE (12222-12228 GE) Foundation (1951)
Part V. The Merchant Princes [originally published as “The Big and the Little” (1944)]
Three Foundation trade ships have disappeared in the territory of the Korellian republic. This can only mean Korell is getting atomic technology from somewhere. Hober Mallow, Master Trader, is sent to investigate.

Korell is aware that the Foundation controls other worlds through religion, and will therefore not buy atomic equipment from the Foundation. However, Mallow manages to establish a trading relationship with Korell, for atomic-powered domestic appliances, factory tools and luxury items, but without the religious pricetag. In the process, he discovers that Korell is getting armaments from an outer province of the Empire.

When Korell declares war against the Foundation, Mallow (having by now won the seat of mayor on the council) withdraws trade, and seems to be relying on economic forces to protect the Foundation. Will this be enough?

195-196 FE (12263-12264 GE) Foundation and Empire (1952)
Part I. The General [originally published as “Dead Hand” (1945)]
Bel Riose is the last strong general of the Empire. When he discovers the Foundation, he perceives it as a rival power, and sets out to conquer it. Trader Lathan Devers of the Foundation and Ducem Barr from the Imperial planet Siwenna (a world with no love for the Empire) are prisoners in Riose’s ship. Can they escape to help the Foundation?
270 FE (12338 GE) Trantor Falls (1989) by Harry Turtledove
This describes the events of the Sack of Trantor, an event referred to, but not described in detail in the Foundation series. The Empire has been in the process of decay and collapse for a few centuries, but finally the rebel Gilmer attacks and destroys much of Trantor. Emperor Dagobert flees the planet, and Gilmer proclaims himself the new Emperor. Meanwhile the staff and students of the University of Trantor are continuing to defend their institution from destruction, and not without loss of life. Gilmer meets with Yokim Sarns, dean of the University, to discuss peace terms.
310-311 FE (12378-12379 GE) Foundation and Empire (1952)
Part II. The Mule [originally published as “The Mule” (1945)].
Three hundred years after the beginning of the Foundation, the Empire has collapsed, and the Foundation is a significant power in its quadrant of the Galaxy. The Foundation government has become despotic, bureaucratic and unjust.

The Independent Trader worlds, rebel worlds within the Foundation sphere of influence, plan a civil war against the Foundation. When news comes of a new warlord, the Mule, who is conquering world after world, they wonder whether they should ally with him against the Foundation.

Toran and Bayta, from the Independent Trader world Haven, take a honeymoon trip to the planet Kalgan, hoping to contact the Mule, but instead get into trouble when they rescue the Mule’s runaway court jester Magnifico, and flee to Terminus.

When the Mule’s forces conquer Terminus, the Foundation, and the Independent Trader worlds, it seems that Hari Seldon’s Plan has failed. Toran, Bayta, Magnifico, and the psychologist Ebling Mis flee to Trantor, hoping to find information in the Imperial Library on the location of the Second Foundation, who seem to be their only hope.

316 FE (12384 GE) Second Foundation (1953)
Part I. Search by the Mule [originally published as “Now You See It –” (1948)]
The Mule, having conquered the Foundation, and set up his own Union of Worlds, concludes that the only remaining threat is the Second Foundation. But for 5 years his forces have searched without finding it. He finally sends out two men: General Han Pritcher, loyal to the Mule as a result of the Mule’s mind-control, and Bail Channis, whose mind is his own, and therefore has additional drive and motivation (but can he be trusted?). This leads to the final confrontation between the Mule and the Second Foundation.
376-377 FE (12444-12445 GE) Second Foundation (1953)
Part II. Search by the Foundation [originally published as “– And Now You Don’t” (1949-50)]
Four hundred years after the beginning of the Foundation, the Mule has been dead for a generation, and the Foundation has achieved its former glory.

The Second Foundation’s confrontation with the Mule had revealed its existence and power. Several Foundation men, suspicious and resentful of the Second Foundation’s control, meet secretly with plans to locate and destroy it. Fourteen-year-old Arcadia eavesdrops on their meeting.

When one of the group sets off for the planet Kalgan, to look for evidence in the Mule’s palace, Arcadia stows away on board his ship, and so arrives on Kalgan with him.

Lord Stettin, ruler of Kalgan, has hopes of regaining the Mule’s empire, and declares war against the Foundation. Arcadia takes refuge with a farmer and his wife returning to Trantor. But Arcadia has discovered a clue to the Second Foundation’s location. Can she get a message to her father on Terminus before the Second Foundation takes action? (Or have they been involved all along?)

498 FE (12566 GE) Foundation’s Edge (1982)
Five hundred years after the beginning of the Foundation, the Foundation Federation now occupies a third of the Galaxy. Foundation Councilman Golan Trevize has concluded that the Second Foundation must still exist, as the Seldon Plan is too precisely on track. The Mayor sends Trevize and historian Janov Pelorat on a mission to locate the Second Foundation if it exists.

Meantime, on the world of the Second Foundation (I won’t tell you where it is), Stor Gendibal, one of the Speakers (the ruling group) of the Second Foundation, concludes that there must be some other powerful group controlling events, because the Seldon Plan is more precisely on track than the Second Foundation can make it. The Speakers send him, with the farmwoman Sura Novi, to locate this group.

Trevize and Pelorat discover the planet Gaia, a world that experiences a group consciousness between all people, animals, plants and inanimate objects, including the planet itself.

There is a final showdown between the Foundation, the Second Foundation and Gaia, over which of these will control the developing Second Galactic Empire. Trevize must make the choice.

498 FE (12566 GE) Foundation and Earth (1986)
Having made the choice, Trevize wants to be sure it was the correct one, and concludes that the missing information he needs is on Earth. But no one knows where Earth is, or whether it is more than a myth. He leaves Gaia, taking with him his friend Pelorat and the Gaian woman Bliss, and they travel through space to various planets, picking up clues to the location of the old Spacer worlds (as described in the Robot novels). They experience several dangers before reaching their final destination. (A note of uncertainty and foreboding is introduced on the last page: I would like to know what the author had in mind for a continuation of the series.)
1056 FE (13124 GE) Foundation’s Conscience (1989) by George Zebrowski
The narrator is researching the six appearances of Hari Seldon in the Time Vault for the next edition of the Encyclopedia Galactica, and finds that the recordings of appearances two, three and six are missing. He uses sophisticated search techniques to find them in the memory bank of the Library on Trantor. He is particularly interested in Seldon’s conclusions in his final appearance. As he waits, he ponders philosophical questions such as determinism and free will: have the predictions of psychohistory and the Seldon Plan controlled the history of the last thousand years, or have they simply provided guidance and encouragement for the two Foundations to choose their own path? And what of the future?
1302 FE (13370 GE) No Connections (1958) by Randall Garrett
This short story is set well after the establishment of the Second Galactic Empire. Dr Nikol Buth, an archaeologist, discusses his research with Imperial Librarian Ducem Palver.

Buth regards as a myth the story that a scientist had once existed, who was able to use mathematics to predict the actions of large numbers of people. However, he has used a similar technique to determine what had happened in the past, and applied it to the Origin Question – the theory that humanity originated on a single planet. His predictions has led him to the conclusion that the original planet was Sol III [ie Earth].

The archaeological research on Sol III has revealed a Destruction-stratum. About 25,000 years in the past there were apparently uncontrolled atomic reactions set off all over the planet. Later strata were obviously during a period of space travel. But would the earlier strata provide pre-space age artifacts to confirm his hypothesis? So far his team had only found a number of dome-shaped ceramic objects whose purpose they hadn’t been able to determine. But by the time they finished, they would find thousands of the things.


Key to collections in which these stories have appeared (Titles in blue font are by authors other than Isaac Asimov)

IR = “I, Robot” (1950)
RR = “The Rest of the Robots” (1964)
CR = “The Complete Robot” (1982)
N = “Nightfall and Other Stories” (1969)
ERE = “Earth is Room Enough” (1957)
BM = “The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories” (1976)
BJ = “Buy Jupiter and Other Stories” (1975)
BIA = “The Best of Isaac Asimov” (1973)
RD = “Robot Dreams” (1986)
RV = “Robot Visions” (1990)
G = “Gold” (1995)
EA = “The Early Asimov” (1972)
FF = “Foundations Friends” (1989)
RG = The Best of Randall Garrett (1982) (Randall Garrett collection)
T = Takeoff! (1980) (Another Randall Garrett collection)


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