Saturday, December 27, 2008

Book 10: Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov

Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov.

Pages: 494.

How it was obtained: I purchased it from when I started reading the Foundation Series.

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 3 years.

Days spent reading it: 4 days.

Why I read it: I started reading the Foundation series a few years ago. I made it through the first 4 books and this was the next book in the series (in order of copyright).

Brief review:
Let me start off by saying, I LOVED the first 3 Foundation books, especially the first one (simply called Foundation). Isaac Asimov creates interesting situations that his characters must resolve, and they usually do so with interesting insights. Asimov wrote the first 3 books as a series of short stories, and they were later compiled into what became the Foundation trilogy. I would highly recommend those to anyone who enjoys a truly unique story.

Having said that, books 4 and 5 were different. Instead of being short stories, they were true novels. They stayed with the same characters the whole time. I personally think the characters are flat and boring. Asimov's strength is not characters but dilemmas. Unfortunately book 4 (Foundation's Edge) does not have enough dilemma in it, and almost turned me off from the rest of the series. I also really did not like how it ended. However, Foundation and Earth returned to Asimov writing more in short story format, even though he stays with the same characters, the story is revealed as they leapfrog from planet to planet in search of Earth.

I will not give away the plot, but it would say it was a decent story. Not the best in the series, but not as disappointing as Foundation's Edge. The conclusion felt a little awkward and forced. Asimov did some strange things with this series as it progressed forward. I think he wanted to make it seem like his writings as a whole were more planned out and connected than he originally intended. In the end it seems gimmicky. I'm sure there are some Asimov fans who enjoy the connections, but I would not number myself among them.

Overall, I would recommend this book to the fans of the Foundation series, but slugging through Foundation's Edge along with Foundation and Earth means reading nearly 1,000 pages of frankly sub-par Asimov. For reader's interested in something truly unique--check out Foundation, it really is superior. But realize that the first book (which is awesome) is the best it gets.

Stars: 2 out of 5.

Final Word:

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