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I like big books.

Foundation and Earth

Foundation and Earth - Isaac Asimov I really wanted to give this book like a four, but upon further reflection I just can't. Foundation and Earth is the conclusion of Asimov's masterpiece Foundation Series (I haven't read the two prequels yet) and it takes the series in a completely new direction. Which is wonderful, and also problematic. The Seldon Plan and the Galactic Empire on which the series were founded become side notes, mentioned in parenthesis and trivial in the wake of Golan Trevize's solving the ultimate human mystery in the story line: Where is Earth and why can't people find it any more. I have to admit, I loved the mystery and I loved the futuristic archeology, mythbusting and history work that went into the characters finding the planet and unraveling its mysteries. But the writing was just not A+ typical Asimov.

Golan Trevize becomes increasingly annoying. He is arrogant, pedantic, self-absorbed and just plain mean spirited. Hardly four pages go by when he doesn't have a philosophical argument with Bliss about whether or not its better for humanity to remain isolated individuals or to join together in a superorganism that spans the galaxy, giving up their individuality and humanity to become something far bigger and better. It's repetitive, esoteric and slows down the pace of the story for no good purpose. Once the argument is outlined, at the end of the last novel in the series no less, he then proceeds to beat the dead horse into a bloody pulp until I found myself, quite frankly, skipping pages. It got really old. Asimov also uses Trevize to give mini-astronomy lessons, which altogether weren't that bad and interesting. But he makes Trevize talk in this Sherlock Holmes sort of way where he's always giving the deductive and inductive evidence for every decision he makes - again annoying. "I decided we should go to Planet X because A) I'm hungry, B) the Stars align every so precisely in that direction, C) the women on the planet might be hot, D) the computer in it's complex model has illustrated a design flaw in the universe that intrigues me because: D1) the laws of physics forbid such anomalies, D2) blah, blah, blah, blah. You get the picture.

This novel was a plot success and a failure in the execution. I think that's my main problem with a lot of the "bad" books I read. People have good ideas and then muck it all up. I think by this point Asimov was really doing fan-service and really had no idea where the heck he was going with it. In fact, his wife comments in the afterword that he never wrote a sequel because he didn't know how to finish it, so he wrote the prequels instead. I can understand this. The plot shift at the end is dramatic and way out of left field. It's intriguing and quite genius and has enormous potential. It's a shame it couldn't be developed further. But this particular installment is in it's character development and dialogue is atrocious. Wikipedia it to clear up the mystery and move on with life.