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Title: Forward the Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Genre: Science Fiction
Scanner: Barley Bearhorn
Series: Last in the Foundation Series
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For nearly fifty years, Isaac Asimov thrilled millions of readers with his internationally bestselling Foundation Series, a spell-binding tale of the future that spans hundreds of years and dozens of worlds. Here, now, is Forward the Foundation, the seventh and final volume in the series. Completed just before his death, it is the Grand Master's last gift to his legions of admirers.
Here, at last, is the story Asimov fans have been waiting for, an exciting tale of danger, intrigue, and suspense that chronicles the second half of hero Hari Seldon's life as he struggles to perfect his revolutionary Theory of Psychohistory and establish the means by which the survival of humanity will be ensured: Foundation. For, as Seldon and his loyal band of followers know, the mighty Galactic Empire is crumbling, and its inevitable destruction will wreak havoc Galaxy-wide ...
A resounding tour de force, Forward the Foundation brings full circle Asimov's renowned Foundation epic. It is the crowning achievement of a great writer's life, and a stunning testament to the creative genius of Isaac Asimov.
Isaac Asimov began his Foundation Series at the age of twenty-one, not realizing that it would one day be considered a cornerstone of science fiction. During his legendary career, Asimov penned over 470 books on subjects ranging from science to Shakespeare to history, though he was most loved for his award-winning science fiction sagas, which include the Robot, Empire, and Foundation series. Named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by the Science Fiction Writers of America, Asimov entertained and educated readers of all ages for close to five decades. He died, at the age of seventy-two, in April 1997.
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"I could not have written this book forty-or thirty, twenty, or even tenyears ago. That is because, piece by piece, over the years, I have been working back to Foundation's source: Hari Seldon. Today I enjoy the gift given to me by time: Experience (some might call it wisdom, but I will refrain from such bald self-aggrandizement). For it is only now that I am able to give my readers Hari Seldon during the most crucial, creative years of his life ...You see, over time, Hari Seldon has evolved into my alter ego... In my earlier books Hari Seldon was the stuff of legend-with Forward the Foundation I have made him real."
-Isaac Asimov, June 1991
DEMERZEL, ETO- . . . While there is no question that Eto Demerzel was the real power in the government during much of the reign of Emperor Cleon I, historians are divided as to the nature of his rule. The classic interpretation is that he was another in the long line of strong and ruthless oppressors in the last century of the undivided Galactic Empire, but there are revisionist views that have surfaced and that insist his was, if a despotism, a benevolent one. Much is made, in this view, of his relationship with Hari Seldon though that remains forever uncertain, particularly during the unusual episode of Laskin Joranum, whose meteoric rise-
ENCYCLOPEDIA GALACTICA *
* All quotations from the Encyclopedia Galactica here reproduced are taken from the 116th Edition, published 1,020 F.E. by the Encyclopedia Galactica Publishing Co., Terminus, with permission of the publishers.
Hari," said Yugo Amaryl, "that your friend Demerzel is in deep trouble." He emphasized the word "friend" very lightly and with unmistakable air of distaste.
Hari Seldon detected the sour note and ignored it. He looked up from his tricomputer and said, "I tell you again, Yugo, that that's nonsense." And then-with a trace of annoyance, just a trace-he added, "Why are you taking up my time by insisting?"
"Because I think it's important." Amaryl sat down defiantly. It was a gesture that indicated he was not going to be moved easily. Here he was and here he would stay.
Eight years before, he had been a heatsinker in the Dahl Sector-as low on the social scale as it was possible to be. He had been lifted out of that position by Seldon made into a mathematician and an intellectual-more than that, into a psychohistorian.
Never for one minute did he forget what he had been and who he was now and to whom he owed the change. That meant that if he had to speak harshly to Hari Seldon-for Seldon's own good-no consideration of respect and love for the older man and no regard for his own career would stop him. He owed such harshness-and much more-to Seldon.
"Look, Hari," he said, chopping at the air with his left hand, "for some reason that is beyond my understanding, you think highly of this Demerzel, but I don't. No one whose opinion I respect-except you-thinks well of him. I don't care what happens to him personally, Hari, but as long as I think you do, I have no choice but to bring this to your attention."
Seldon smiled, as much at the other's earnestness as at what he considered to be the uselessness of his concern. He was fond of Yugo Amaryl-more than fond. Yugo was one of the four people he had encountered during that short period of his life when he was in flight across the face of the planet Trantor-Eto Demerzel, Dors Venabili, Yugo Amaryl, and Raych-four, the likes of which he had not found since.
In a particular and, in each case, different way, these four were indispensable to him-Yugo Amaryl, because of his quick understanding of the principles of psychohistory and of his imaginative probings into new areas. It was comforting to know that if anything happened to Seldon himself before the mathematics of the field could be completely worked out-and how slowly it proceeded, and how mountainous the obstacles there would at least remain one good mind that would continue the research.
He said, "I'm sorry, Yugo. I don't mean to be impatient with you or to reject out of hand whatever it is you are so anxious to make me understand. It's just this job of mine; it's this business of being a department head-"
Amaryl found it his turn to smile and he repressed a slight chuckle. "I'm sorry, Hari, and I shouldn't laugh, but you have no natural aptitude for the position."
"As well I know, but I'll have to learn. I have to seem to be doing something harmless and there is nothing-nothing-more harmless than being the head of the Mathematics Department at Streeling University. I can fill my day with unimportant tasks, so that no one need know or ask about the course of our psychohistorical research, but the trouble is, I do fill my day with unimportant tasks and I have insufficient time to-" His eyes glanced around his office at the material stored in computers to which only he and Amaryl had the key and which, even if anyone else stumbled upon them, had been carefully phrased in an invented symbology that no one else would understand.
Amaryl said, "Once you work your way further into your duties, you'll begin to delegate and then you'll have more time."
"I hope so," said Seldon dubiously. "But tell me, what is it about Eto Demerzel that is so important?"
"Simply that Eto Demerzel, our great Emperor's First Minister, is busily creating an insurrection."
Seldon frowned. "Why would he want to do that?"
"I didn't say he wants to. He's simply doing it-whether he knows it or not-and with considerable help from some of his political enemies. That's all right with me, you understand. I think that, under ideal conditions, it would be a good thing to have him out of the Palace, off Trantor . . . beyond the Empire, for that matter. But you think highly of him, as I've said, and so I'm warning you, because I suspect that you are not following the recent political course of events as closely as you should."
"There are more important things to do," said Seldon mildly.
"Like psychohistory. I agree. But how are we going to develop psychohistory with any hope of success if we remain ignorant of politics? 1 mean, present-day politics. Now-now-is the time when the present is turning into the future. We can't just study the past. We know what happened in the past. It's against the present and the near future that we can check our results."
"It seems to me," said Seldon, "that I have heard this argument before."
"And you'll hear it again. It doesn't seem to do me any good to explain this to you."
Seldon sighed, sat back in his chair, and regarded Amaryl with a smile. The younger man could be abrasive, but he took psychohistory seriously-and that repaid all.
Amaryl still had the mark of his early years as a heatsinker. He had the broad shoulders and the muscular build of one who had been used to hard physical labor. He had not allowed his body to turn flabby and that was a good thing, for it inspired Seldon to resist the impulse to spend all of his time at the desk as well. He did not have Amaryl抯 sheer physical strength, but he still had his own talents as a Twister-for all that he had just turned forty and could not keep it up forever. But for now, he would continue. Thanks to his daily workouts, his waist was still trim, his legs and arms firm.
He said, "This concern for Demerzel cannot be purely a matter of his being a friend of mine. You must have some other motive."
"There's no puzzle to that. As long as you're a friend of Demerzel, your position here at the University is secure and you can continue to work on psychohistorical research."
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