Foundation’s Triumph

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

After Isaac Asimov’s death, his estate authorized the writing of the Second Foundation Trilogy, which serves as a prelude to his landmark Foundation Trilogy. Three highly accomplished science- fiction authors have each contributed a volume: Gregory Benford began the trilogy with FOUNDATION’S FEAR (1997), Greg Bear’s FOUNDATION AND CHAOS followed in 1998, and the trilogy is completed with this volume.

In FOUNDATION’S TRIUMPH, Hari Seldon has little motivation to live since he has completed his life’s work: establishing the first and second Foundations, which are based on his mathematical predictions of psychohistory. Hence, he jumps at the opportunity for a little adventure that takes him, illegally, off-world. Through this adventure, the reader is reintroduced to many pivotal characters from the previous volumes. Ultimately, however, there is little action, adventure, or intrigue in the novel, as each situation evolves into lengthy discussions and debates about the primary themes: stability vs. chaos, free will vs. predestination, the rights of the individual vs. the best interest of the group.

These long discussions do bring closure to much of what had been introduced in the first two volumes, however there are issues left unresolved, leaving the opportunity open for future volumes. This volume does not stand alone; character development and the fundamental arguments were established in the earlier volumes. In sum, the novel works for those following the series but will not draw in new readers.