I know we’re a bit late on this one–Japan in the middle was a bit distracting–but to be perfectly honest I felt my attention wandering pretty bad on this one.
Like Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation consists of two parts, the first taking place a mere five years after the conclusion of the last part of F&E. The Second Foundation (the entity, not the book) has come to the forefront, with everyone obsessed with discovering its location. This book also gives us sections from unknown Second Foundationers throughout as they work to counteract first the Mule, and later the First Foundation, in their efforts.
I think part of why I had a hard time staying connected is that I thought it was a little obvious, especially in the second story, where the Second Foundation was (and, later on, who the First Speaker was) and then I was generally a little annoyed at the red herrings deployed in the later part of the book.
We’ve got a female main character for the second part again, but it’s not as satisfying because the other characters don’t treat her terribly well (she’s only 14) and Asimov himself invalidates everything she does later on. That’s a person pet peeve of mine–I dislike ineffective main characters, even if they make sense from a plot perspective.
The whole series is a bit interesting from the standpoint of the fact that it seems like Asimov didn’t really plan the whole thing out, and just added things as they made sense as he went along. I swear the Second Foundation was not mentioned in the first book.
From a plot standpoint, I don’t understand why the First Foundation sees the Second Foundation to be such a threat, to the point where they feel that the Second Foundation has to be destroyed. In theory, both foundations are necessary for the completion of the Seldon Plan. Sure, the Mule throws the whole thing off, but I don’t understand why the First Foundation feels so threatened, and why they don’t want to work with the Second Foundation to fix things.
As we come to the end of this readalong, I’d have to say I found the books interesting but not really…hm. They didn’t hit any of my sweet spots. I don’t think I’d recommend them to someone else. At this point, I don’t think I would read the later books, though I do admit that I am a bit curious about how it all turns out.
Well, Squiders, what’s your opinion of Second Foundation and/or the trilogy as a whole? What was your favorite book? (Mine was Foundation.) Anything else to note before we move on?
Not sure what I want to do for the next readalong, so if you have suggestions, let me know.