In 1986 my homeroom teacher was Ms Michaelson. She was a severe, skinny woman who thought that being entirely unreasonable instilled discipline.
The class was English and Ms Michaelson insisted that we arrive 10 minutes early for class. For the first five pre-class minutes, we wrote in our journals; the next five minutes were spent reading a book of our choice.
|A reasonable alternative to NyQuil|
I have no idea why I decided to bring Foundation's Edge as my book of choice. My parents' house is lousy with books. Books literally fall on your head when you open closets. I think I had originally brought Agatha Christie's A Cat Among The Pigeons, but that took me about a week to read. My guess is that I wanted something more challenging and that's why I picked up Foundation's Edge. But I was a teenager, so who the fuck knows what I was thinking.
Anyways, I did not like the book. I thought it was dull as all get-out until the last few chapters when something actually happened.
And so the book remained at my parents' house, in the basement.
Until this past Christmas.
You know what happens when it's Christmas, you have nothing to do, you're sick, and you're at your parents' house? You make bad decisions. Decisions like reading Foundation's Edge again to see if it's as dull as you remember it.
Spoiler: it is.
A good 90% of the book is blahblahblah. And by this I mean that 90% of the book is taken up by exposition fairies. Exposition fairies take over every single character for most of the book. And they go on and on and on. Paragraphs of dialogue take up entire half pages! Who the fuck cares how the fucking spaceship works? I don't. I care about where you're going and why. Who the fuck cares about how you calculated the fucking coordinates of the dumbass planet? I don't. Maybe someone does. Maybe some überfanboy somewhere is keeping track of all the tech and making sure it makes sense. But that fanboy is not me.
I was too busy skipping over pages and pages of this blahblahblah to get to some part -- any part -- where someone talked to someone about something not tech. I swear there should be a Bechdel Test for science fiction. I'm calling it the Snad Test:
- There must be at least two "regular" characters
- Who have a conversation
- That is not about tech
Sweet Cheesus on a Cheesestick! I think I had to wait til the before last chapter or something for a climax and dénouement to happen. And when it did, it was totally antclimactic.
Do you want a synopsis? Here's a synopsis:
Eons (millennia?) after the Seldon Plan, some guy named Golan Trevize decides that the Seldon Plan is going too well and that obviously the Second Foundation -- which was full of "scholars" with mind control abilities yaddayaddayadda -- had not been destroyed back in that other book (Second Foundation? Foundation and Empire? I don't know; I didn't read it.) and was still controlling their minds. So he gets booted off his planet and sent off to find these Second Foundation guys for reasons that are totally bizarre. Meanwhile, back on the farm, some guy from the Second Foundation gets attacked by a bunch of ruffians, and his Second Foundation buddies also send him off to do something because of Extra Tasty Contrivance. Oh, and Golan's bestie, whose name escapes me, is sent off to follow Golan because of Super Chocolatey Contrivance. Golan correctly guesses that his bestie is a Second Foundation operative, but that really doesn't matter. In the end, they all end up in the same place -- a planet called Gaia -- that is sentient or something. A whole lot of deus ex machina dust is sprinkled by the mind-control entity that is Gaia so that the entire implausible storyline makes sense.
There ya go.
Only read this book if you're suffering from insomnia and you find NyQuil distasteful.