by Isaac Asimov. 224 pages. Gnome Press, New York, N. Y.
It was with difficulty that this reviewer read this book and with even more difficulty that he wrote this review; certainly it will bring down the wrath of Asimov fans.
Isaac Asimov is an ,educated, articulate man, but he is neither a writer nor a story-teller. Heavy-handed and ponderous, Asimov grinds out ream after ream of elephantine prose about his ridiculous "Galactic Empire," filled with endless philosophizing, (on a juvenile level) obscure sociological fantasies, and massive technological monologues.
Hari Seldon, Bayta Darel, Han Pritcher and Arkady Darel'skitter about the Galaxy, involved in improbable activities in the improbable "Second Foundation" fighting desperately to save themselves from the villain to end all, the "Mule."
Second Foundation is a sort of modern Graustark. Asimov's preoccupation with kingdoms and empires would have been quite fitting four decades ago, but now . . . What connection this has with science-fiction is hard to understand. Asimov's stories are the "soap opera" of science fiction. Not to be compared with the excellent "space opera" of Doc Smith or Campbell some twenty years ago!
You might say, "Stop the vituperation—what's the story about?" I'll answer,. "Princesses and kingdoms, empires and galaxies and fairy godmothers. Even Mules! In short—nonsense!" Read it if you must, but don't say that you weren't warned — it's not a good book!
Asimov's disgruntled response in Peon, and. Bott's reply in Imagination, will be published here soon in a forthcoming blog post.