Foundation's fear / Gregory Benford.
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 March 1997
Here begins the Second Foundation Trilogy. Isaac Asimov wrote the first trilogy all by himself, but the second is a project that Benford begins and David Brin and Greg Bear will carry on. The overall intent is to cover Hari Seldon's career before the original trilogy's events. As Benford's contribution commences, Seldon is the leading candidate for first minister of the empire and naturally attracts rivals, opponents, and outright enemies, both on account of his political prominence and out of suspicion of his theories, which approximate early versions of psychohistory. Eventually, in this book's most absorbing part, he and his humaniform robot wife must flee to a primitive planet where they narrowly escape murder while their minds occupy humbler primate bodies. With some luck and the aid of the venerable R. Daneel Olivaw, an elder statesman of the humaniform robot community, they finally return to Trantor. The book continues, more successfully, Asimov's late efforts to reconcile the Foundation stories with his robot novels and also profits from the fact that Benford is a more visual writer than Asimov. His rendition of Asimov's concepts is distinctively his; the many readers who probably would fall rapaciously upon any continuation of one of the most durably popular sf conceptions should appreciate it. ((Reviewed March 1, 1997)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews
LJ Reviews 1997 March
Hari Seldon, now a candidate for first minister, finds himself embroiled in a psychohistorical conundrum?he must deal with the re-created personalities of Joan of Arc and Voltaire, who surface as computer simulations. Gifted storyteller Benford (Far Futures, LJ 12/95) makes the characters come alive. Isaac Asimov's estate authorized this extension of Asimov's "Foundation" series; expect additional volumes from Greg Bear and David Brin. Highly recommended. Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information.
PW Reviews 1997 February #4
Set thousands of years in the future, this novel begins the Second Foundation Trilogy, a prequel to Isaac Asimov's famous original (1951-1953) about the waning centuries of a galactic empire. The story opens with Hari Seldon, the protagonist of the Asimov series and discoverer of psychohistory, learning that his prospects of being appointed First Minister of the Empire are interfering with his research and spawning a horde of enemies. He and his humanlike robot wife, Dors, must flee, undergoing an enlightening but perilous adventure as their minds are transferred into the bodies of primates on a distant planet. Meanwhile, computer simulations of the minds of Voltaire (supremely skeptical) and Joan of Arc (supremely faithful) take on lives of their own and discover a potentially catastrophic computer virus planted by aliens who themselves exist only as electronic memories. Benford (Sailing Bright Eternity) writes up to his usual high standard and excels in bringing Asimovian concepts such as the planet-wide Imperial capital city on Trantor to vivid, visually compelling life. This novel stands well on its own, but much of its readership likely will be followers of Asimov's Foundation tales. To them, a warning is due: the next novel in the trilogy will be written by Greg Bear; the third, by David Brin. Will authors of such high caliber necessarily pull so much Asimov out of the Foundation that it will be no longer be his? The answer lies in the future, but, for now, this return to a touchstone of SF's Golden Age stands as a richly rewarding delight. (Mar.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews