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Foundation's Triumph
David Brin
HarperPrism Books, 328 pages

Art: Jean Targete
Foundation's Triumph
David Brin
David Brin is a scientist and SF author who has won three Hugo Awards, two for Best Novel. His 1989 thriller Earth foresaw both global warming and the World Wide Web. A movie with Kevin Costner was loosely based on The Postman and Startide Rising is in pre-production. Brin's non-fiction book -- The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? -- deals with threats to openness and liberty in the new wired-age. His latest novel, Foundation's Triumph, brings to a grand finale Isaac Asimov's famed Foundation Universe. David is heavily involved in efforts to help use SF to benefit younger readers -- Webs of Wonder.

David Brin Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Heaven's Reach
SF Site Review: Infinity's Shore
The Good and the Bad: Outlines of Tomorrow (Essay)
Brin Bibliography
The New Meme (Essay)
David Brin Tribute Page
David Brin Tribute Page

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

In the 80s, Isaac Asimov began to knit his Foundation series to his Robot series. Because these works were not originally intended to form a whole, Asimov found that he had many incompatible features which could not easily be reconciled. In many cases, Asimov ignored these problems, concentrating on ways to join the series. Asimov also incorporated three novels which had originally been intended to stand on their own, the so-called Galactic Empire trilogy.

Following Asimov's death in 1992, and the posthumous publication of Forward the Foundation, his estate contacted Gregory Benford to write a sequel to the Foundation series which would tie up many of Asimov's loose threads. Benford arranged to write the first novel of a trilogy, with authors Greg Bear and David Brin writing subsequent books.

While Benford and Bear introduced many concepts which were foreign to Asimov's universe, David Brin has provided a worthy successor to Asimov's works in the form of Foundation's Triumph. What Brin seems to have done, is gone back and re-read the 14 novels and myriad short stories Asimov wrote, along with the related novels written by Roger MacBride Allen, Gregory Benford and Greg Bear. While reading, Brin seems to have compiled a list of all the incompatibilities and questions which occurred in the books. With master-craftsman skill, Brin has managed to write a relatively short novel which addresses all of these issues and provides reasonable explanations for nearly all of them.

In fact, while knowledge of Asimov's books is essential for reading and understanding Foundation's Triumph, the reader does not necessarily have to be familiar with the earlier books in the Second Foundation trilogy to enjoy Brin's novel. Certainly, some of the events which occurred in Foundation's Fear and Foundation and Chaos form the background to Foundation's Triumph, but their importance can be gleaned from the context Brin includes.

The story is set during Hari Seldon's final days. He has finished making the recordings for the time vault of Terminus and has begun to feel as if he has passed his prime. All of his closest friends are gone. His robotic companions, like Daneel Olivaw and Dors Venabili, are working on other assignments and his human companions are preparing for their exile from Trantor to form the Foundation. Seldon becomes interested in the amateur psychohistorical musings of a Horis Antic, one of the faceless bureaucrats of Trantor. The result is an examination of the Chaos worlds and a look to humanity's past.

The style of writing and issues addressed by Asimov in the Robot novels tended to be very different from what he did with the Foundation novels, and Brin manages to successfully capture the feel and substance of both. When he focuses on Hari Seldon, Brin is writing a Foundation novel. When he looks at Daneel Olivaw, the style changes to match the Robot novels. Unfortunately, the transitions are not always as smooth as one could wish and many of Daneel's discussions with his second-in-command, Zun Lurrin, come across as pedantic.

Brin has incorporated enough aspects of Asimov's earlier works that fans might even want to have copies of Asimov's books on hand so they can flip through to find the references. Events from The Stars, Like Dust and Pebble in the Sky play a large role in Brin's denouement while the dialogues between Daneel and Giskard are an important theme throughout the entire novel.

However, Brin has done even more than simply explaining Asimov's conflicts. Taking his cue from Asimov, who admitted to including loose ends as a means of making subsequent sales in the series, Brin has incorporated his own plot elements which can point to any of a number of sequels to his novel. Of course, whether or not there will be any further sequels will be at the discretion of Asimov's estate, but Brin has proven that there are authors who can handle Asimov's material with his voice and add to his legacy.

Copyright © 1999 by Steven H Silver

Steven H. Silver is one of the founders and judges for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. He sits on concoms for Windycon, Chicon 2000, and Clavius in 2001, and is co-chair of Picnicon 1998. Steven will be serving as the Programming Chairman for Chicon 2000. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is trying to get his short stories published and has recently finished his first novel. He lives at home with his wife and 3200 books. He is available for convention panels.

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