Asimov’s second book in the Foundation Series, it was immediately apparent to me what would happen. Perhaps the cover of the book gave it away, and I certainly will not give it up myself, Dear Reader. Suffice it to say that it was well drawn out and the answer doesn’t become clear until you’ve gathered all the pieces; but I still saw it coming from a galaxy away.
The story overall is that of escape and secrecy. Hunting down and stopping the Mule is imperative to the future of the universe. In the series, there is something called the “Seldon Plan” in which the “psychohistorian” Hari Seldon mapped out a course for the rejuvenation of the Second Empire through mathematics. With this plan, he projected that the future could be guided into peace and prosperity. The thousands of years of squalor and barbarism could be avoided. Setting up a Foundation on a small planet in the outer rim, it was filled with scientists and it prevailed for centuries. All who tried to conquer it were met with defeat, even when the Foundation didn’t lift a finger.
However, Seldon’s plan did not include a mutation. A variable in the formula that even the great Seldon overlooked. Maybe not “overlooked”, but got seriously wrong.
Bayta and Toran, the two main protagonists of this story, start their search for any and all information that may lead them to the formidable Mule that the whole galaxy fears. And by chance they are accompanied by the Mule’s Clown, Magnifico. A very sorry and queer creature that doesn’t want anything else more than to be as far away from the Mule as possible. Learning that the Mule is capable of emotional control, they are met by old friends that have been converted to the side of the Mule. Although their mental capacity is untouched, they are converted in to loving pawns of the mutant powers of the Mule.
Throughout their travels they are almost always met with resistance and sometimes even the chance of death. As they travel to different planets in search of information or simply running away from immenent danger, the galaxy seems to fall in to the control of the Mule behind them. Every where they go, The Mule’s men are looking for Magnifico. With not being able to tell who’s side anyone is on, Bayta figures out all the pieces to the puzzle just as their friend, Ebling Mis, is about to tell them the location of the Second Foundation. The only thing in the way of The Mule’s constant expansion of his dynasty. After defeating the Foundation, the weight of his existance is apparent to everyone that thought the Foundation could not be destroyed. In a sense, the destruction of the first was a majour victory. However, with the news that there is a Second Foundation only intices The Mule to further his conquest.
Which will happen in the next book, which I have already read and written about.
My favourite part of the whole book was when all of the psychologists and noblemen from the galaxy gather at the Time Vault where Hari Seldon reveals parts of the Seldon Plan to them and they are all astonished and utterly confused when Seldon’s Hologram explains what should be happening and which obviously is not. Leading everyone to think that Hari Seldon was crazy. At this, I literally chuckled throughout the whole thing, as if I too was sitting there in the futuristic chrome seats of the Time Vault.
So, I continue my journey in this epic series of Asimov, and I have finally collected all of the books, including the prequel that I didn’t even know existed. (Thank Goodness for awesome bookstores with great prices!) Until next time, Dear Reader! Thanks for reading.
Post Scriptum- Any suggestions on awesome Sci-Fi books? I’d love to get more books!