Isaac Asimov


Foundation and Earth

(Book five in the Foundation series)


This is a summary of a Fuller Review


I feel pretty sure that Asimov has a huge ego - that his protagonist is some sort of projection of his self image. Trevise is supposed to be a rigorous scientist of the highest intelligence, and in this novel his quest is to find out why he is always right.


Hubris city, but with no ironic undercutting.


Worlds and characters are flagrantly constructed merely as 2D sets for the strutting Trevise. His two companions acknowledge his greatness and tread around him accordingly. Pel is a sort of Dr. Watson. Every female is absurdly stylised : vain (jealous of any other female), motherly, and devoted. Oh, and stacked. We’re deep in James Bond/Star Trek 1 territory here.


There are plenty of contradictions and places where supposedly intelligent characters do stupid things.


This is obviously a book written on commission: he didn’t have any idea for another Foundation book, let alone a 500 pager, but his publishers wanted the money for a guaranteed seller. Asimov really should stick to short stories where you don’t need insight (particularly into character) or imagination, but can get by with a single novel ‘what if’. He reveals far too much about himself here, which in some authors is intriguing, but in him is disappointing.


August 2002