Book Reviews


  1. I originally purchased the first book on iTunes before the Asimov Estate made you take it down. I found your first book perfectly written in Asimov’s style. More importantly I am sure many Foundation/Robot fans have always wanted to know what happens at the end of the 1,000 years. You hit the mark with a perfect bullseye. And now the second book of your trilogy is out and equally good. More important is how you have weaved the story and teased us for the third book. I love all aspects of your writing. It’s like Asimov is still with us. I cannot imagine how much time you must put into this and of course we all would want the next book as soon as possible. But we do understand the time (and commitment) it will take. It is because of this that I would like to suggest to all who are reading this that they take advantage of the donation button on your site and donate whatever they can to cover the cost and time you devote to this great and wonderful project. Thank you.

  2. Just finished the second book of the Final Foundation Trilogy, The Robots of the Interregnum, and it was excellent. There are a few spelling and punctuation errors, but they could be easily corrected. Also, it is 600 pages long, so it takes dedication to read, but it won’t fail you, and it is interesting all the way.
    This is all about three robots, Dors, Trania, and Malcolm, and one human, Jos, traveling throughout the galaxy for the Second Empire about to be born. All these planets are unusual and unique in some way, and have their own set of views of the Foundation and the new empire. The purpose here, I think, is to evaluate these worlds and how the new empire can accommodate them, all being different from each other.
    As you read about the robots, they have such human qualities, including sex, that you forget that they are robots.
    First, about Trania. She, despite her real age, is an adolescent about to become a woman, and in these travels, she grows up.
    Dors, onetime wife of Hari Seldon, acts as a mother/mentor to Trania, remembering her own family by Hari and the mistakes she’s made. Malcolm existed ever since robots existed, and is mostly keeping to himself.
    There are references to the culture of old Earth, and also what to do with the planet in its present shape. Gaia comes into the picture as sort of a “Third Foundation” although they don’t call themselves that, and they come as a choice on how to live, but is accepting on any other choice, even if they do not agree with them. The robots return from exile to be included in the new empire, sans the three (or four) laws. Here, one theme seems to be inclusiveness for the new empire, something our present society still needs to learn. There are many lessons our society can learn from this story.
    The book is long, but interesting. I don’t know what the third book will be about, but I am looking forward to reading it when it is published.
    Also, I think, and hope, Mr. Brown, the author, will find a way to contact the Asimov Estate and have this new trilogy published in book form.
    It will be worth it.

  3. It has come at last, the conclusion of the Foundation series, in the form of a trilogy, with the first book, “Foundation and Second Empire,” just released in Kindle form only. I feel it should be released in book form, for it is worth reading. Also, this was not authorized by the Asimov Estate, but it should be. The author, Jeffery Owen Brown, did make an attempt to contact the estate, but to no avail. Should the estate get a hold of this book, they should approve. Let’s hope they do.
    The reason being is that Mr. Brown does go back to the original style of Isaac Asimov, and he tries, with success, to tie up all loose ends. You remember how the Foundation Trilogy (required reading before this book) explains how the Galactic Empire falls, with only Hari Seldon foreseeing it, with 30,000 years of barbarism before forming a second empire. In order to prevent this, Seldon establishes two foundations “at opposite ends of the galaxy” for the purpose of narrowing the interval down to 1000 years. Thirty years after the publication of the trilogy, “Foundation’s Edge” and “Foundation and Earth” were written and released. The entity, Gaia, comes in, where all human minds in the galaxy would come together in a collective and obtain knowledge from other people’s thoughts anywhere in the galaxy, while maintaining their individuality.
    It’s the part of Gaia is where I started to dislike where the story was going, because I, being human, like being an individual and having my own private thoughts.
    Another series, called “The Second Foundation Trilogy” came out in the early 2000s, by Gregory Benford, Greg Bear, and David Brin, respectively. Benford’s book, “Foundation’s Fear,” was a big disappointment, and I have stated in another review not to bother reading it, because it throws the story completely off the track. The latter two books, “Foundation and Chaos” and “Foundation’s Triumph” are better.
    This story by Jeffery Brown brings us back to the original story, and that’s as it should be. Here, it reaches in end of the 1000 year interval set up by Hari Seldon, and picks up where “Foundation and Earth” left off, almost. Here, Gaia becomes another faction the the story. This is inevitable, for not everyone in the galaxy would want to join a force as radical as this. But Gaia is a benign force, and will not absorb any individual against their will. Gaia does appear in the form of a human, Gladia Delmarre, from “The Naked Sun,” to talk to certain individuals about this new force.
    The story begins in the year 998 of the Foundation Era, as the Second Empire is about to be established. A woman named Kari Sundstrand is the mayor of Terminus, the inherited capital of the New Empire/Federation. Terminus is now powerful with its own military and government, ruling almost all of the galaxy, and it is about to become the new capital of the Second Galactic Empire/Federation, but there are still obstacles in the way, and this is where the plot begins. Kari sends her husband, Jos Svimbali, to deal with the five major powers of the galaxy.
    Incidentally, women play a huge role in this story, with at least half in powerful positions, starting with Kari, mayor of the First Foundation, and ruler of the galaxy. This is the ideal story for feminists, but for everyone else, too.
    As stated, there are now five major powers in the forming of the new empire, rather than the original planned two: The First and Second Foundations, Gaia, the robots (from the original robot series), and Solaria, with its hermaphrodites (who consider themselves full humans, as opposed to half humans, that’s us) and their robot servants. There are conflicts here, but the only real villains are the Solarians, so far. The Solarians (Spacers, who settled interstellar space first with their robotic servants) want to rule the galaxy, and wipe out the rest of the human race (Settlers) by injecting a telepathic virus in a representative from the Second Foundation (Pieter Risskov) and spreading the disease. There are severe consequences for the Solarians.
    Robots are greatly covered, with Dors Venebili, wife of Hari Seldon, being a major character. Here, the robots reach a point in their evolution, and they are divided into the Three Law, Four Law, New Law (as covered in a robot trilogy by Roger MacBride Allen), and No law robots. Many robots want to remain servants, many want to leave for the galaxy for Andromeda (120,000) to establish their own independent civilization, and many more want to join the empire. The empire will take them in as equals, but not as servants. Some robots (150,000) are inducted into Gaia. All robots adhere to the three/four laws, whether they are bounded to them or not. However, there are robots who have been released from the three/four laws. There is a movement to release all robots from these laws, to have them live as equals among humankind. One robot, Dors Venibili, it turns out, was never bounded by them, but she does learn of the emotion of love, which she had for her husband, Hari Seldon. It must be remembered that individual robots have lived for 20,000 years or more
    There are also two planets completely inhabited by robots, Hesperos and Isenkold.
    R. Daneel Olivaw makes an appearance, and it is noted that many robots look upon him as a villain.
    Gaia is also covered, continued from Asimov’s last two books on Foundation. Here, many humans and worlds have joined the Gaia collective, but all voluntarily. There is no coercion in joining, and Gaia is a benign force, and wants to join the galaxy as a part of it, but not as the dominant force.
    The conflict between First and Second Foundation is, the First Foundation is the intellectual part, where they come up with advanced technology, due to the fact that Terminus has no natural resources, so they have to make do with what they’ve got. Trantor, the Second Foundation, is the telepathic section, and telepathy is highlighted in this book. They stress that they defeated the Mule 400 years prior, and push the Seldon plan back on its track.
    A lot of mysticism is feature here where is hasn’t been in the original series, not only with Gaia and the Second Foundation, but dealing with an afterlife as well, where we meet Elijah Baily from 20,000 years back, and Gaia, who, whenever she appears to someone, always appears in the form of Gladia Delmarre. One robot, name R. James, has a dream about angels.
    The book ends with the a hologram of Hari Seldon assuming that the second empire is forming and wishing everyone prosperity, but not knowing that there are still villainous forces that still needs to be reckoned with, such as Pieter Risskov on Solaria, who attempts to raise an army of 12 million robots in invade the empire, and another character, Botwin, who wants to rule the robot planet Hesperos, separate from the empire. The First and Second Foundations agree to merge, with the first being the administrative world, and the Second being the heart of the Empire. The book ends with one robot, Malcolm, inviting Dors, Trania (Dors’ trainee), Francis and Benati, and Jos Svimbali on a journey in the galaxy, to be continued in the second book, “Travels with Malcolm.”
    Although this book has a lot of dialogue, there are several plots, and a lot of things do happen, and there are a lot of references to other books I have mentioned. In order to read this, you must have read the Foundation Trilogy, the Robot Novels, and the Prequels and Sequels of the Trilogy, at least, and know the laws of robotics (A robot may not harm a human being, must obey the commands of a human, and must protect it’s own existence, in a nutshell.) If you have read all these, go ahead and read this series. I believe that this will come to a reasonable and satisfying conclusion.

  4. Review of both these books:
    These two books are an impressive project, which gets a huge thumbs up and a big Thank You to the author, for making them available to the Asimov fan community. These novels are for the die-hard Asimov fan, not the casual reader. Those hoping for a fast-paced, action-oriented plot should look elsewhere. The strength of these books is in their well-drawn characters and dialogue. I loved the interactions of Mayor Sudstrom and First Speaker Delarmi!

    Others have already described the contents of these books, so I would like to just discuss a few of my thoughts about the scenario. Terminus is portrayed as 100 percent Good Guys, with Mayor Sudstrom a great leader and a humane first “empress” of the Second Empire. But what happens if a Mayor like Harla Branno comes along?. (In Foundation’s Edge, Terminus was 100 percent Bad Guys.)

    The Second Foundation is mostly portrayed as washed up and irrelevant. This is something I question: aren’t they the ones who kept Seldon’s Plan on track? Is telepathy just a “parlor game”? Asimov prefers the word ‘mentalics’, which could mean more than just “talking without moving your mouth”, and implies that mentalics will be a part of the Second Empire. Thus I believe that the Second Foundation has a greater role than is shown here. (I confess a bit of bias. The Second Foundation is my main focus of interest and I am working on a whole series about them.)

    The Robots are the real heart of this series. Intriguingly, they wish to break free of the Three/Four Laws and become more human. There are some great scenes as these very human robots learn about love, sex, humor, and other aspects of humanity. But let us hope they don’t also learn the dark side of being human, such as greed, aggression and cruelty. Since they are so much more powerful than humans, I wonder what would happen…?

    One could discuss at great length the themes of these books. We have several different flavors of sentient beings; how are they all going to live together in harmony?

    There is some information which I wish had been included. What happened in the 500 years between Foundation’s Edge and the present books? Were they years of unbroken peace? When and how did the Second Foundation come out of isolation? What happened between the two Foundations during this time? (I guess other writers will have to fill those spaces in.)

    I enjoyed these vibrant characters, their interactions and travels, and I’m hoping my questions and issues will be resolved in the 3rd book!

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