The fifth novel in Asimov's popular Foundation series opens with second thoughts. Councilman Golan Trevize is wondering if he was right to choose a collective mind as the best possible future for humanity over the anarchy of contentious individuals, nations and planets. To test his conclusion, he decides he must know the past and goes in search of legendary Earth, all references to which have been erased from galactic libraries. The societies encountered along the way become arguing points in a book-long colloquy about man's fate, conducted by Trevize and traveling companion Bliss, who is part of the first world/mind, Gaia.
Listen to all of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, including (in chronological order):
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Larry McKeever does not do characters with enough distinction so it is next to impossible to tell when the characters are changing and who is saying what. Would be a good fit for documentaries but not novels.
I have not been able to listen to the entire book, in fact I could not get through the first couple of chapters. I'll update my review if I can go back some time and actually finish listening to the book.
The physical book, yes.
The narrator has the most monotone, soulless, and dry reading I've ever heard. I actually think it probably takes an immense amount of skill and effort to read with absolutely zero personality, inflection, or tone. Maybe he'd be good for reading me a science textbook, but nothing else. It was especially jarring coming from the excellent narrator in the rest of the series. I stopped the book over a dozen times in the first hour because i just couldn't go on, and I eventually put it down for a week. Finally, I decided to power through because I had to know how the series ends. Talk about a buzzkill. What a way to end a fantastic series. I was so disappointed (in the narration, not the story).
Tip: listen to it at 1.25 or 1.5x speed. It will make the mind-numbingly-slow way he reads much more tolerable, and since he already sounds like a robot, it doesn't make him sound any less human.
Great book. Until Audible re-produces it, just this once buy it in paperback.
This book is a painful requirement for those who love the Foundation trilogy and the Asimov world. It is a requirement because it is the keystone that ties all the stories together, but the passion for this book was terrible. In the introduction Asimov writes he was offered x amount of money for y amount of pages and you get the feeling from the first chapter that he was just trying to fill his word requirement.
The main characters constantly argue the same points over and over again, nothing is left to subtly (like Star Wars episode III), and the narrator is dispassionate. Larry McKeever's voice adds age and takes away so much from the main character. I had to listen to it on 1.5x as to not fall asleep.
The end of the novel (NO SPOILER) is intriguing and thoughtful and makes this book a requirement for the Foundation-ers like myself.
Get the book and muscle through it.
I was really looking forward to finally finishing this series and enjoyed the story overall; however, the narrator was a bit mechanical in his delivery. Previous reviewer's noted the mechanized delivery but as I really wanted to listen to it, I decided to just deal with it. It wasn't too bad but it gave a very emotionless tenor to the story in some parts as if it was being delivered by the automated voice on my Kindle. If you're like me and "need" to hear the end of the story, you may be able to get beyond the somewhat toneless delivery. But, if you're looking for anything close to what Scott Brick did for the other books, you'll be disappointed.
Aside from the narrator, there were times in the book I wanted the "action" to move forward, there were several "lulls" in the story when the primary character's seemed to be "arguing" or "discussing" the same points over and over without actually coming to any conclusion. I found the female character to be whiny and incapable of following many thoughts out to a logical conclusion despite being part of a "super-collective". Her ineffectual "handling" of "the child" infuriated me to no end as she failed over and over to reason out or even see the points being made by the main character.
Given the "flaws" in the characters as I saw them, the explanations given by the "ultimate" final character helped me better understand the thought processes the characters were supposed to be attempting to get across. I'm not sure that it could have been done any better, especially in light of the fact I wish there was one more book to let the readers know what happens next...
Would Galaxia flourish? What happens when Daneel downloads his consciousness into Fallom? Will Fallom become the super monster I believe s/he will become? Will Fallom discover that it was Bliss and not Golan that "stole" her from Solaria...
If you ask me, I'll probably tell you. If you don't want to know, don't ask. If you ask anyway, that's where the 1% non-truthful comes in.
I read all the reviews about how the narration was less than satisfactory. But really? I don't think even Scott Brick could have made this book interesting. I don't remember it being so dry and uninteresting on the read, but I read faster than I listen so the story didn't get a chance to get on my last nerve like this audio version did. I can only hope that had Asimov survived, his next Foundation book would have been *much* more interesting and a lot more lively. And that a narrator could be found that didn't read like he was doing a picture book for kindergartners in the media center.
Isaac absolutely... I've listened to the whole series. Larry McKeever I can do without. I'm not sure if it was him or the engineering of the audio but it's very disjointed (long pauses whenever they switch characters). Larry also does a lack luster job of bringing the characters to life. I just wish Scott Brick who narrates a number of the other titles in the series did this one as well.
Always Golan Trevise
I read the original Foundation trilogy as a teenager in the 1960s, and I was wondering how much I would recall after all these years. I was pleasantly surprised that I remembered very little, and so I delved in, starting at the beginning. Scott Brick can take even a mediocre story and make it worth a listen, and I was able to enjoy the series as I was unable to in my youth. When the next book in the series was read by Mr. McKeever, I was concerned about the change but, of course, I could not skip this volume as it is part of a whole.
I was stunned… and not in a good way. While Mr. McKeever READS well enough, he does not NARRATE. I felt like I was listening to a children's book written by a completely different author. Even worse, I got the feeling that it was being read by children. The inflection in the voice is all wrong. Stressful situations are read in a matter-of-fact tone rather than with the intensity that is required. None of the dialogue comes across with any degree of realism or believability, and the story itself seems plodding. Pauses in the reading are dreadfully long, and I forced myself to finish the book because Mr. Brick returned to narrate the next… and then all was right with the world again. I could not believe that a reader/narrator could actually make a book seem as though it was written by an entirely different person until listening to this one. I'm rating it 4 stars (would prefer 3-1/2) for the part that the novel plays in the entire series, but that's it.
About the same
The last words - The enemy of mankind may already be among us
the reading was a little mono-tone, i liked the other foundation novels better
I want to write a passionate defense of Larry McKeever as narrator. I think the comments about his performance on this adaptation have been extremely unfair. His style of narration is different from Scott Brick's, I grant that. But McKeever is extremely good in his own right. In fact, I like some of McKeever's interpretations better (I think he is better with female characters, for example, and I like his portrayal of Pelorat even more than Brick's). Don't get me wrong--I love Scott Brick and what he does with the novels. But I think McKeever is just as good, and I have come to appreciate McKeever's different style, which is a bit more subtle than Brick's and leaves more to the imagination. So--don't steer clear just because there's a different narrator here. McKeever is also excellent.
Asimov returned to this series after many years to continue the Foundation story, and it is apparent that he forgot how to write good science fiction in that time. The basic premise of the story is that Golan sets out to find Earth to confirm his decision for Galaxia at the end of book 4. The resulting story is mostly one boring conversation after another between Golan and his traveling companions about pointless minutiae. Furthermore, Asimov has thrown in a good dose of gratuitous sex to fill in the lack of story, aggravating me further. I always considered such tactics to be the mark of an uninspired author. If Asimov wants to write about topless women standing there to offer herself to his little band when they go planet hopping despite all reason and logic to the contrary, then he should focus on selling his story to junior high school boys. I on the other hand like a bit more realism to my science fiction. The first 4 books were way better than this one. After laboring through 75% of this book, I no longer have the will to finish it. I don't care if they find Earth, and quite frankly I think Asimov made this story up on the fly to reach his page requirements for his publishers.
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