A Review of Foundation and Earth

Foundation and Earth (Foundation, #5)Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

If you’ve been reading my reviews over the past few months, you’ve seen my reviews of Asimov’s Foundation books. I finally read the hugely known and loved Foundation trilogy and was not impressed. I thought the first book was poorly written, I thought the second book was so horribly written and the characters so one dimensional and the plot lines so inane, I didn’t even finish it and gave it one star. The third book of the trilogy satisfied me and salvaged Asimov’s reputation for me. Still, I was unimpressed. Then, last month I read the fourth Foundation book written some 30 years later, Foundation’s Edge. I thought it was excellent! A definite five star book. The writing was fluid and mature. It seemed that over the previous 30 years, Asimov must have taken several graduate level creative writing classes and learned a few things, thank God. I mean, he actually used transitions! I enjoyed that fourth book so much, I sought this fifth and final Foundation book out to eagerly finish the series. Unfortunately, Foundation and Earth is again an Asimov disappointment and is so annoying, I’m not even bothering to finish it, again, after reading over 200 pages. What a waste.

In the previous book, the council member of the First Foundation, Golan Trevize, accompanied by historian and companion, Janov Pelorat, go out in a world class Foundation starship in search of both the Second Foundation and Earth. Meanwhile, a Second Foundationer is traveling to intercept them, intent upon modifying Trevize’s mind to follow the Seldon Plan to its finish while the Foundation Mayor is bringing warships with her to find Trevize to attack and destroy the Second Foundationer, and if Trevize is collateral damage, oh well. They converge at a hidden planet called Gaia, which the two space explorers find and discover is inhabited and alive with a hive mind. Everyone and everything, including the animals, plants, and even the rocks, are alive and joined together in memory and feeling, capable of great power, desirous of having Trevize make a decision between the two Foundations and them, their desire to turn the universe and everything in it into Galaxia, so that ultimately all planets and everyone and everything on them all join together for the greater good, greater peace, greater happiness. Trevize chooses Gaia and that’s how the fourth book ends.

In this book, we’re back on Gaia, but Trevize is grumpy as hell. He’s not sure he made the right decision and since it’s the biggest decision in the history of the universe, he has to know. And, for some unknown reason, the only possible way he can know is to find and go to the mythical first world of Earth, wherever that is, if indeed it exists at all. There he will find his answer. Why? We’re never told.

Naturally, Pelorat, who wanted to find Earth in the first place, decides to accompany him and Pelorat’s new Gaian girlfriend, Bliss, who is Gaia – literally – goes too, to help “protect” them. Which creates all sorts of problems for she and Trevize. See, Trevize is seriously pissed about the hive mind and the fact that Bliss speaks for and indeed is all of Gaia. He feels that can’t be as good as having one’s individuality. Etc. Bliss feels otherwise, and attempts to explain the benefits of being connected to all beings and things on the planet to him, which he just shrugs off. And as they start traveling to planets, they start bickering. And arguing. And fighting. And it.doesn’t.ever.stop. Oh my God, all they fucking DO is fight and bicker, page after page. It’s fucking relentless and they beat a dead horse over and over, repeating the same tired crap, such as “Bliss did you control my/his mind?” and “I am Bliss but I am also I/we/Gaia.” There’s only so much of that you can see repeated on virtually every other page if not more often before you want to hurl the book at the wall and stomp all over on it. It’s damned infuriating. Why Asimov feels he has to shove this crappy dialogue down the readers’ throats relentlessly and repeatedly is beyond me, but it’s stupid. Really stupid. And, I think, the sign of a poor writer, trying to extend word count so as to make some more money by making his word count quota. I would think he would be better than that.

Trevize, who was a pretty decent and shrewd explorer in Edge is simply really unappealing in this book. Indeed, he’s downright unlikable. Okay, he’s a major dick. He is rude to Pelorat, brutish and mean to Bliss, and apparently cruel to a child called Follum later in the novel. Pelorat is insipid and boring. Bliss says the same things over and over. I guess she’s limited verbally by being a damn planet. The characters, like many of Asimov’s, have no depth and simply argue with each other throughout this overly long book. There’s virtually no action and little of interest. Just bickering and fighting. Oh joy. Oh creativity. Oh brilliance. Oh yeah, for some strange reason, unlike the previous Foundation books, there’s a lot of sex in this book. A lot. I generally don’t mind that sort of stuff, but it makes it stand out from the rest and not necessarily in a good way.

One thing I hadn’t stopped to realize with the fourth book that I liked so much is that the book deviated from the much celebrated Seldon Plan, although it plays a key role in the book. In this book, it’s hardly mentioned. It’s almost as though the Foundation never existed. Is this even a Foundation novel?

This book, like its predecessor, is better written than the original trilogy, in terms of writing style and writing devices and grammar. But the story and characters suck. I really found myself hating each of them and dreading turning the next page as I read through it. Thus, as I said, after about 200 pages, I had had enough. I can only take so much fictional fighting. There’s too much fighting in the world going on in real life. Why use your down time to read it? I was going to give this book two stars because it’s both an Asimov and Foundation book, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I really don’t think it deserves two stars. I given better books two stars. This is a one star book. If you’re reading the Foundation series, avoid this one. You don’t need to read it and it doesn’t really add anything to the story. Definitely not recommended.

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