Foundation's Edge

Foundation's Edge (1982) is a science fiction novel by American writer Isaac Asimov, the fourth book in the Foundation Series. It was written more than thirty years after the stories of the original Foundation trilogy, due to years of pressure by fans and editors on Asimov to write another,[2] and, according to Asimov himself, the amount of the payment offered by the publisher. It was his first novel to ever land on The New York Times best-seller list, after 262 books and 44 years of writing. Foundation's Edge won both the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983[3][4] and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1983,[4] and was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1982.[5]

Foundation's Edge
IsaacAsimov Foundation'sEdge
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
AuthorIsaac Asimov
Cover artistJoe Caroff[1]
CountryUnited States
SeriesFoundation Series
GenreScience fiction
Published1982 (Doubleday)
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
AwardsLocus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1983)
813/.54 19
LC ClassPS3551.S5 F6 1982
Preceded bySecond Foundation 
Followed byFoundation and Earth 

Plot summary

Five hundred years after the establishment of the Foundation, the Mayor of Terminus, Harla Branno, is basking in a political glow, her policies having been vindicated by the recent successful resolution of a Seldon Crisis. Golan Trevize, a former officer of the Navy and now a member of Council, believes the Second Foundation (which is almost universally thought to be extinct) still exists and is controlling events. He attempts to question the continued existence of the Seldon Plan during a Council session and Branno has him arrested on a charge of treason. Branno also believes that the Second Foundation still exists and is in control, but she cannot admit it publicly for political reasons, and treats that as a state secret, hence her alarm and her swift action.

So, she orders Trevize to leave Terminus to search for the Second Foundation. As a cover, he is to be accompanied by Janov Pelorat, a professor of Ancient History and mythologist, who is interested in the location of Earth, the fabled homeworld of humanity. They are provided a highly advanced computer-controlled "gravitic" ship with which to carry out their mission. Branno also sends out Munn Li Compor in another similar vessel to follow and monitor Trevize.

Indeed, the Second Foundation still does exist, but rather than being in complete control, as the First Foundation fears, it has similar worries. On Trantor, home of the Second Foundation, Stor Gendibal, a rising intellect in the Second Foundation hierarchy, discovers a secret he reveals to Quindor Shandess, the current First Speaker — that the Seldon Plan, which the Second Foundation diligently protects and furthers along, is being manipulated by some unknown group, one possibly more powerful than the Second Foundation, and whose reasons for so doing are not known. (This group is dubbed the "Anti-Mules" by Shandess, as they seem to possess powers similar to the Mule but to be using them not to destroy the Seldon Plan, but to preserve it.) Gendibal concludes that Trevize is a "lightning rod" sent out to locate and expose the Second Foundation. His ideas are not well received by the other Speakers, but he has the support of Shandess.

Trevize never intends to go to Trantor, believing that, once at the famous huge Galactic Library there, Pelorat will never leave. Trevize and Pelorat discuss Pelorat's interest in Earth and its legends, and Trevize realizes that Seldon's phrase "at the other end of the Galaxy" (the phrase he used to describe the Second Foundation's location) could mean Earth. His logic was that at the time of Hari Seldon, Terminus was the last planet to be inhabited (one end of the metaphorical galaxy) and, by definition, Earth was the first (the other end of the metaphorical galaxy).

However, there is no planet named Earth in the galactic table of planets. Pelorat, through his previous research, established characteristics that Earth must have: a 24-hour day, a 365-day year, and a large satellite. Once again no planet on file has these characteristics, but the galactic table of planets is missing a lot of information about a lot of planets. Nonetheless, Pelorat has a guess. He mentions having heard of a planet called Gaia, whose name he somehow discovered to mean Earth in some ancient language. Its exact coordinates are unknown, but it is known to be somewhere in the Sayshell Sector. Trevize decides that they must go there to follow up on this lead.

Gendibal demonstrates to the Speaker's Table that the brain of Sura Novi, a member of the Hamish, the rude people of farmers who inhabit and cultivate Trantor, shows a very subtle change to her mind that would be far beyond the Second Foundation's skills and abilities to make, and could only have been done by a much more powerful entity. He believes this to be the "Anti-Mules" and that they have a separate agenda with the Second Foundation as their unwitting pawn. Gendibal and Novi are sent to track Trevize and to determine the goals of the "Anti-Mules."

On Sayshell, Trevize and Pelorat meet a scholar called Professor Quintesetz, who is able to give them the co-ordinates to the mysterious planet known as Gaia. Traveling to Gaia, they discover that it is a "superorganism," where all things, both living and inanimate, participate in a larger, group consciousness, while still retaining any individual awareness they might have, such as among the Gaian humans. Pelorat slowly falls in love with a Gaian woman named Blissenobiarella (commonly called Bliss), who explains that Trevize will be forced to decide the future of the galaxy — whether it will be ruled by the First Foundation, the Second Foundation, or by Gaia (who envisions an eventual extension of its group consciousness to the entire galaxy, thus forming the new entity Galaxia).

Gendibal is met by a First Foundation warship, commanded by Mayor Branno. As Gendibal's mental powers stalemate with Mayor Branno's force shield, Novi reveals herself as an agent of Gaia. Once she joins the stalemate, the three are locked until Trevize can join them.

Bliss explains to Trevize that he had been led to Gaia so that his untouched mind, a mind with remarkable intuition, can decide the galaxy's fate. He also learns that the stalemate between the First Foundation (Branno), the Second Foundation (Gendibal), and Gaia (Novi) was intentional, and that through the ship's computer, he can decide who shall ultimately prove victorious.

Trevize decides upon Gaia, and through mental adjustments, Gaia makes Branno and Gendibal believe they have won minor victories, and that Gaia does not exist. But Trevize is troubled by one final piece of missing information, about who or what has removed all reference to Earth from the Galactic Library at Trantor, and the reason for this act. He announces his intention to find Earth, since without knowing the answers to those questions he cannot be certain his choice was the right one. Trevize also mentions that he chose Gaia because that was the only choice of the three that was reversible in case his choice should prove to be wrong, due to the large length of time required for the formation of Galaxia.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Isaac Asimov Interview with Don Swaim Archived 2008-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Isaac Asimov Novel Wins a Hugo Award". The New York Times. Associated Press. September 6, 1983. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "1983 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
  5. ^ "1982 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-13.

External links

41st World Science Fiction Convention

The 41st World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), also known as ConStellation, was held September 1–5, 1983, at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. The chairman was Michael J. Walsh. Total attendance was approximately 7,000.

Dave Graham (climber)

David Ethan Graham (born November 10, 1981) is a professional rock climber. Professing to enjoy bouldering the most, he is one of the elite sport climbers and boulderers of his generation. Graham repeats classic routes or boulder problems as well as performing cutting-edge first ascents. He is known for climbing, in 2005 an 8C (V15) boulder problem (The Story Of Two Worlds, Cresciano, Switzerland). He is also known for his stance against grade-inflation and for his strong anti-chipping ethic. He writes an ongoing blog for the website of Climbing Magazine.

First Speaker

First Speaker is a post in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of stories and novels.

The Speaker is the effective leader of the Second Foundation. At meetings of the executive council of the Second Foundation, he/she always speaks first. The council (known informally as the "Table") consists of twelve Speakers. Each Speaker begins as a student, as at an institute of higher learning, and is expected to have made an original contribution to the Seldon Plan which has been scrutinised and accepted by the existing Board. Speakers frequently communicate via telepathy and generalised hand gestures, which can communicate a concept more clearly and directly than actual speech.

Whilst the title implies that the First Speaker is merely one of the twelve, in effect he/she is primus inter pares, and therefore in practice, the position holds more power than indicated. The position became more important through the history of the Foundation.

Foundation and Earth

Foundation and Earth is a science fiction novel by American writer Isaac Asimov, the fifth novel of the Foundation series and chronologically the last in the series. It was published in 1986, four years after the first sequel to the Foundation trilogy, which is titled Foundation's Edge.

Foundation series

The Foundation series is a science fiction book series written by American author Isaac Asimov. For nearly thirty years, the series was a trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. It won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. Asimov began adding to the series in 1981, with two sequels: Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, and two prequels: Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation. The additions made reference to events in Asimov's Robot and Empire series, indicating that they were also set in the same fictional universe.

The premise of the series is that the mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting 30,000 years before a second great empire arises. Seldon's calculations also show there is a way to limit this interregnum to just one thousand years. To ensure the more favorable outcome and reduce human misery during the intervening period, Seldon creates the Foundation – a group of talented artisans and engineers positioned at the twinned extreme ends of the galaxy – to preserve and expand on humanity's collective knowledge, and thus become the foundation for the accelerated resurgence of this new galactic empire.

Gaia (Foundation universe)

Gaia is a fictional planet described in the book Foundation's Edge (1982) and referred to in Foundation and Earth (1986), both by Isaac Asimov. The name is derived from the Gaia hypothesis, which is itself eponymous to Gaia, the Earth Goddess.

In this fictional universe, Gaia is located in the Sayshell Sector, about ten parsecs (32 light years) from the system Sayshell itself. It orbits a G-4 class star, and has one natural satellite (50 km or 31 miles in diameter). Its axial inclination is 12°, and a Gaian day lasts 0.92 Galactic Standard Days.

In its course of settlement, the human beings on Gaia, under robotic guidance, not only evolved their ability to form an ongoing group consciousness, but also extended this consciousness to the fauna and flora of the planet itself, even including inanimate matter. As a result, the entire planet became a super-organism.

Hober Mallow

Hober Mallow is a fictional character in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series. He is the central protagonist of "The Merchant Princes", the final short story of Asimov's Foundation.

Janov Pelorat

Janov Pelorat is a character in the Foundation Series of books by Isaac Asimov. The two books in which he appears are Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth.

Pelorat is a professor of ancient history who has spent his entire life on his obsession of finding Earth, the mythical planet of human origin. He has a particular interest in myths and folklore. Janov's interest in Earth began when, at age fifteen during some indisposition, he was given a book of legends about the origin of humanity. On Terminus, Janov has collected a massive amount of data regarding the Origin Question, and is Terminus' foremost expert regarding Earth.

Janov Pelorat first appears in Foundation's Edge. He is described as white-haired, of average height and weight, and moves without haste and speaks with deliberation. He is 52 years of age but appears considerably older. He has been married in the past, and has a housekeeper named Kloda.Unusual for a historian of the futuristic society he belongs to, at the time he is first mentioned, he has never left the planet Terminus. Therefore, in addition to the resources available to him from the Terminus University Library, he makes use of interlibrary loans. Such loans can make use of "hyper-radiational signals", which are not described in the stories but appear to refer to a method of transmitting information over vast distances at speeds faster than light.When he is first described, he is beginning his first sabbatical and hoping to travel off planet for the first time. His goal is the planet Trantor, which was capital of the First Galactic Empire and the home of the Galactic Library (also known as the Library of Trantor, the Imperial Library, and the University of Trantor Library), which during the heights of the First Galactic Empire was the largest repository of reference material in the galaxy. No member of the Foundation has been to Trantor in 120 years.In the beginning of Foundation's Edge the Mayor of the Foundation notices Pelorat's existence for the first time and promises him that she will arrange for him to travel to Trantor. The Mayor informs him that he will travel to Trantor with the exiled councilman Golan Trevize.

Upon leaving Terminus on the small space ship Far Star, he and Golan Trevize begin their search for Earth. With only the two of them on board, Golan Trevize informs Pelorat that, as pilot and the person in control of the ship, he has decided they will not to go to Trantor but instead to seek out Earth directly with the information they already have.Instead of finding Earth, by way of the planet Sayshell, they find Gaia, a world which has developed a group consciousness, and is rumored to have destroyed any ships that have been sent to it. While on Gaia, Janov falls in love with a member of Gaia, Bliss. It is these three characters, Golan, Janov, and Bliss, with the addition of Fallom that continue the search for Earth in Foundation and Earth.

List of Foundation series characters

This is a list of characters in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.

Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel

Winners of the Locus Award for Best SF Novel, awarded by the Locus magazine. Awards presented in a given year are for works published in the previous calendar year.

The award for Best Science Fiction Novel was first presented in 1980, and is among the awards still presented (as of 2016). Previously, there had simply been an award for Best Novel. A similar award for Best Fantasy Novel was also introduced in 1980.


Mentalic is a term Isaac Asimov's Foundation series uses to cover a range of unusual psionic capabilities. Not precisely telepathic, the Second Foundationers are able to sense and adjust the emotions of humans. Gaia, the group mind of Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth, considers the Second Foundation an embryonic form of collective consciousness. Gaians are also described as mentalic, although they have the added abilities of adjusting non-human life as well as converting usable energy into work through conscious will alone (thermokinesis). It is implied that the Solarians use a special organ to turn heat into some manner of energy, but whether it psychokinetic or telepathic in origin, if not both, is not wholly specified. R. Daneel Olivaw, along with R. Giskard Reventlov, shared a robotic mentalic ability caused by errant programming by Vasilia Fastolfe. Giskard gained these abilities first, and then "taught" the secret (presumably transferring the programming) to Daneel. Both of their abilities were implied to be staggering and only limited by the First Law: Daneel, for example, claimed to be able to nullify all of Gaia's psychic power, a claim that Bliss (a native of Gaia) took seriously. Daneel also manipulated galactic history for millennia, both during the Empire and Foundation eras.

Mirror Dance

Mirror Dance is a Hugo- and Locus-award-winning science fiction novel by Lois McMaster Bujold. Part of the Vorkosigan Saga, it was first published by Baen Books in March 1994, and is included in the 2002 omnibus Miles Errant.

Mule (Foundation)

The Mule is a fictional character from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. One of the greatest conquerors the galaxy has ever seen, he is a mentalic who has the ability to reach into the minds of others and "adjust" their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause. Not direct mind-control per se, it is a subtle influence of the subconscious; individuals under the Mule's influence behave otherwise normally - logic, memories, and personality intact. This gives the Mule the capacity to disrupt Seldon's plan by invalidating Seldon's assumption that no single individual could have a measurable effect on galactic socio-historical trends on their own, due to the plan relying on the predictability of the actions of very large numbers of people.

Robots and Empire

Robots and Empire is a science fiction novel by the American author Isaac Asimov and published by Doubleday Books in 1985. It is part of Asimov's Robot series, which consists of many short stories (collected in I, Robot, The Rest of the Robots, and The Complete Robot) and several novels (The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn).

Robots and Empire is part of Asimov's consolidation of his three major series of science fiction stories and novels: his Robot series, his Galactic Empire series and his Foundation series. (Asimov also carried out this unification in his novel Foundation's Edge, and its sequel, thus unifying the three series of fiction into a single future history).

In the novel, Asimov depicts the transition from his earlier Milky Way Galaxy, inhabited by both human beings and positronic robots, to his Galactic Empire. The galaxy of his earlier trilogy of Robot novels is dominated by the blended human/robotic societies of the fifty "Spacer" planets, dispersed over a wide part of the Galaxy. While the Earth is much more populous than all of the Spacer planets combined, its people are looked down upon by the Spacers and treated as second-class citizens. For a long time, the Spacers have forbidden immigration of people from the Earth. But Asimov's later Galactic Empire is populated by many quadrillions of human beings on hundreds of thousands of habitable planets; and by very few robots (such as R. Daneel Olivaw). Even the technology to maintain and upgrade robots exists on only a few out-of-the-way planets. Therefore, Asimov's novel attempts to describe how his earlier Robot series ultimately connects to his Galactic Empire series.

Second Foundation

Second Foundation is the third novel published of the Foundation Series by American writer Isaac Asimov, and the fifth in the in-universe chronology. It was first published in 1953 by Gnome Press.

Second Foundation consists of two previously published novellas originally published in Astounding Magazine (with different titles) between 1948 and 1950, making this the third volume in Asimov's Foundation series. Decades later, Asimov wrote two further sequel novels and two prequels. Later writers have added authorized tales to the series. The Foundation series is often regarded as one of Isaac Asimov's best works, along with his Robot series.

The term also describes the organization by that name which is the focus of the book. The organization's existence (and nothing more) had been revealed in Foundation, searched for in Foundation and Empire, and makes brief appearances in this novel. It would not be described in detail until Foundation's Edge.

Seldon Plan

The Seldon Plan is the central theme of Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series of stories and novels. The plan involves mathematically predicting the broad flow of human history on a large scale, in order that the future of the Galactic Empire can be improved.

The End of Eternity

The End of Eternity is a Hugo Award-shortlisted 1955 science fiction novel by American writer Isaac Asimov, with mystery and thriller elements on the subjects of time travel and social engineering. Its premise is that of a causal loop – a type of temporal paradox in which events and their causes form a loop.

In The End of Eternity, members of the time-changing organization Eternity seek to ensure that their own organization is founded as history says it was, by ensuring the conditions for that event happen as history says they happened. The protagonist, Andrew Harlan, is placed in a situation where he must decide whether to allow the "circle" to close and Eternity be founded, or to allow the opposite to happen and Eternity never to have existed.

Many years later, Asimov tied this novel into his broader Foundation Series, by hinting in Foundation's Edge that it is set in a universe where Eternity had existed but was destroyed by Eternals, leading to an all-human galaxy later.

Tod Swank

Tod Swank is an American former professional skateboarder, company owner (Tum Yeto distribution and Foundation skateboards), photographer, and musician. His mid-1980s skateboard 'zine, Swank Zine, was among the original wave of underground xeroxed press.


Trantor is a fictional planet in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series and Empire series of science fiction novels.

Trantor was first mentioned in Asimov's short story, "Black Friar of the Flame", later collected in The Early Asimov, Volume 1. It was described as a human-settled planet in the part of the galaxy not ruled by an intelligent reptilian race (later defeated). Later, Trantor gained prominence when the 1940s Foundation series first appeared in print (in the form of short stories). Asimov described Trantor as being in the center of the galaxy. In later stories he acknowledged the growth in astronomical knowledge by retconning its position to be as close to the galactic center as was compatible with human habitability. The first time it was acknowledged in novel form was in Pebble in the Sky.

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