booksForward the Foundation is the second prequel to the famous Foundation series and is in fact written last and published posthumously. Structured as 4 short stories, which can easily be independent from each other (with the exception of their common character Hari Seldon),  Forward the Foundation follows the development of Hari Seldon’s psychohistory.

10 years have passed, which have brought numerous changes to Trantor. Hari’s best friend and ex-first minister Eto Demerzel has disappeared and Hari has replaced him as first minister – a position he openly detests. The psychohistory is no longer a good but unpractical idea – it has slowly started to develop and attract mathematicians, historians, and other followers. The empire, as Hari and his psychohistory correctly predict, is in demise. Numerous groups attempt to usurp the power and the trone, while the outer worlds, the ones far away from the center Trantor, are rebelling against the Galactic empire and fighting for independence.

In the midst of this turbulence Hari Seldon is fighting prejudice, shortsightedness and pure evil to save the progress of the psychohistory. Forward the Foundation is more disturbing and dark than its prequel. As the story unfolds Hari loses not only the support of the ruling party, but also the people closest to him. As he slowly dives into desperation, a sudden discovery of his granddaughter’s special skills once more gives a kick-start to the psychohistory and puts the foundation of …well the two Foundations. The end of Forward the Foundation marks the end of an era but with hopes in place for the revival of the greatest human civilisation ever. Thanks to only one man, named Hari Seldon.

I would say no more because it would definitely ruin the pleasure of reading the novel but simply put Forward the Foundation continues the amazing pace set by Prelude to Foundation. It is engaging to the point of obsession. I have wondered for nearly 700 pages what the Foundation would be and when it was finally revealed, it was nothing I have ever imagined it to be. Which proves (although it doesn’t really need proving) that Asimov is a great storyteller, an author who gently leads his characters through his complex Universe, who never lets go of their hand and who makes sense of everything. His science-fiction seems entirely plausible and I would be surprised if a 100,000 years from now the world doesn’t have its Trantor and its Galactic Empire.

The end of Forward the Foundation marks the end of the prequels that Asimov wrote much later than the original series. The next book, which logically follows according to the author’s notes, is Foundation. I am excited to see whether a novel written more than 40 years before its prequel, will follow smoothly into the story.

More from Isaac Asimov:

Prelude to Foundation