The one thing that stuck out was no sense of time passing during Part I of this novel, especially during the space conflict where references to the passage of days or weeks do not present themselves to make events seem like they are taking place. The biggest problem was the sudden appearance of a reinforcement of the fleet from the Empire even though there was no reference that it could happen and we were assured previously in the novel that none would be forthcoming.
Then, without it seeming like more than a day or so, the fleet is suddenly bolstered by ships from the Empire.
When I finally put down the book after finishing the last page, I was ready to run out and buy the next book in the series to find out about The Second Foundation, and see if it is going to be able to stop the Mule…
This novel flowed smoothly from the previous one in the series, and very well could have been just a continuance of it.
What happened in the first 200 years, covered by the previous novel, was referred to whenever needed to give perspective to current events and show the continuity of the growth of the Foundation.
Introducing major characters or events which would ordinarily be mundane or drawn out, is handled with a unique style as quotations from the ‘Encyclopedia Galactica’. These quotations are well-structured to give the maximum information about the person or subject in just a few short sentences, thus setting up the major theme or event to come.
The storyline of the last half of the novel involves the ability of one man to change the course of history. It shows that it is possible to make changes happen, in the face of tremendous odds, and it is a great analogy to the ‘one man, one vote’ theory of Democracy. “Your vote counts” is what we are told in a Democratic society, and in this case we can see how that ‘one vote’ counts.
The fall of the Empire was foreseen by Psychohistory, and we have been told of the impending demise since the first novel. But to just drop on the reader that the Empire was sacked in the last half of the novel, when there was a very much alive Empire in the first half was leaving me wondering how and who did the sacking and destroyed the Empire.
There is a jump in time between Part I and Part II of the novel, with each part having its own threat to the Foundation. The interim between the two parts is explained, albeit briefly, by a quick summary of the threat we will be reading about, and then a quick chronology of how they came to power.
However, time appears to have little relevance in Part I since no reference to time passing during the events that are occurring are made. In fact, as the Imperial ships are encircling the Foundation home world, without any other ships from the Galactic Core having been sent, suddenly we find out that a fleet of reinforcements had arrived.
This could probably be explained away, somehow, but in rereading the conflict again, the same conclusion is reached that there is not sufficient attention given to how much time has elapsed during the engagement to make the situation feel like it happened over a period of time. It felt like only a day or two at most went by.