Saturday, January 19, 2008

Second Foundation

So I finished the third book in the original Foundation trilogy. (The other two being Foundation and Foundation and Empire.) Of the three, I must admit a strong preference for the middle novel. There is something magical that just works about Foundation and Empire. But that's not to say that Foundation and Second Foundation weren't enjoyable enough reads.

What can I say about Second Foundation? Well, it was originally published in novel form in 1953. It had previously been published as two separate short stories in 1948 and 1949. If memory serves me, around four hundred years have elapsed since the opening of Foundation. (It *might* be three hundred or five hundred. But my gut is saying four.) The stories share a theme--a strong theme. While all of the novels--the stories--have shared the theme of preservation and ambition, Second Foundation expands on that theme. This novel is all about the quest.

In the first story, those doing the questing are The Mule and the Mule's men. Han Pritcher, a character first introduced in Foundation and Empire, is one of the main characters. Bail Channis is a new character. He plays a rather large role in the story. These two have been paired together by The Mule to go on a quest--a search--for the Second Foundation. Their goal? To find out where it is so The Mule can finish his conquest of the Galaxy and rule supreme over all. Ambitious? Definitely! Doomed to fail? Probably. But the two have been given the mission without the option of saying no.

In the second story, those doing the questing are the descendants of Bayta and Toran Darell. Their son, Toran, and granddaughter, Arcadia, unknowingly hold the fate of the Second Foundation in their hands. Arcadia (or Arkady as she likes to be called) is only a teen--14 to be exact--but she is determined to have her chance for glory--her chance to be a hero. Her idol? Her grandmother who helped take down The Mule. Arcadia's quest? To be the one to find the Second Foundation. Her goal to help the Foundation destroy the Second Foundation. She's definitely an original, spunky kind of heroine. Very opinionated. Very determined. But can it be down? Can one person single-handedly do the seemingly impossible?

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