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Second Foundation is a science fiction novel written by Isaac Asimov, and published in 1953. It was the third book to be published in the Foundation series, following on from Foundation and Foundation and Empire. The in-universe chronology establishes it as the fifth book in the series. At its publication, Asimov intended it to be the end of the Foundation series, and indeed it very nearly was – the series was known as the Foundation trilogy for some 30 years. In 1982, however, due to pressure from fans, Asimov published a fourth book in the Foundation series, Foundation's Edge. Second Foundation was originally several short stories published in Astounding Science Fiction from 1948–1950, although with different titles.

One man understood the patterns of the Galaxy: Hari Seldon, the last great scientist of the First Empire. He developed the mathematics of psychohistory to the extent where he was able to predict the fall of the Empire, and the 30,000 year hiatus it would take before a Second Empire could take its place. He knew he could do nothing to stop the fall of the Empire, but he could shorten the era of chaos – from 30,000 years to just 1,000. His plan, the Seldon Plan, established two Foundations. The First Foundation was established on Terminus, and thrived as it became ever greater. But it was conquered by the Mule, a mutant with the ability to change minds: and, crucially, the Seldon Plan could not take into account the actions of individuals. The Mule had wrecked the Plan.

Or had he? For Seldon had established two Foundations. Nothing is known of the Second Foundation; it was created in utter secrecy. But the Mule knows that his empire is not safe while the Second Foundation exists. He, and the remnants of the First Foundation, will do whatever it takes to find it. This is the story of the search for the Second Foundation.

Reader's Reviews


Pretty good – better than Foundation and Empire – but all the mind-changing stuff is a little weird. Overall, good, and worth reading.


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Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 14+
  • Reading Aloud Age: 13+

The villain of the second part is suggested to be sexually interested in a 14-year-old girl – although the theme is not explored, and wouldn't be understood by a younger child. Indeed, the 14-year-old girl doesn't "get" it, either.

The Mule and the people of the Second Foundation are able to change people's minds and emotions.

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