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Literature / Foundation and Earth

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Trevize ceased his pacing and looked intently at Dom. "If I find Earth, I will find out what it is hiding-"
"Hiding or being hidden. Once I find that out, I have the feeling I will know why I have chosen Gaia and Galaxia over our individuality.
—Chapter One, ”The Search Begins"

First published in 1986 by Isaac Asimov, this is a direct sequel to Foundation's Edge. Despite having sided with Gaia in the previous story, Golan Trevize is still worried about his decision. He convinces Janov Pelorat and Blissenobiarella to continue with the search for humanity's homeworld.

Leaving Gaia, the three embark on The Quest to find "Earth". Along the way, they travel to several exotic locations, including Comporellon (actually Baleyworld from Robots and Empire), Aurora (from The Robots of Dawn), Solaria (from The Naked Sun), Melpomenia (a new Spacer world), Alpha (actually a planet around Alpha Centauri, a new Settler world), and finally Earth (which they discover has been dangerously irradiated).

At each planet they visit, they discover clues that lead them closer to Earth, and also dangerous threats that Bliss uses as an argument in favour of Galaxia. Trevize continues to argue against her, until they find Earth and the secret it holds. He finally realizes how Galaxia represents humanity's only chance. The Outside-Context Problem that people should have realized for thousands of years, yet never truly occurred of them to ask, can only be faced with the unity promised by a galaxy-wide superorganism.

Unable to think of the next step in the story, Dr Asimov followed up with a Prequel instead, Prelude to Foundation.

Foundation and Earth provides examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: After meeting R. Daneel Olivaw, Trevise speculates there's probably one sentiant race on average in each galaxy with The Milky Way Is the Only Way being the reason humanity hasn't encountered any. He assumes that in the rare case of two races in one galaxy that a war would be likely with the victor race continuing to invade other galaxies so humanity would have to unite to defend the Milky Way.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: The three protagonists head off from Gaia to explore the galaxy in their search for the lost homeworld of humanity. As they track the clues to older and older colonies, they encounter several planets with little-to-no humans left. Trevize is the pilot, Pelorat the expert who figures out the clues, and Bliss provides (with help from Gaia) the muscle.
  • Aggressive Submissive: Mitza Lizalor is a high-ranking member of the government on a Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny Planet of Hats and is socially dominant with her people and in conversation with Golan, the protagonist. She also quite likes sex but is disappointed with the guilt that men on her planet feel about it, so the protagonist uses his supernatural intuition to dominate her in bed. She remains most satisfied, although Golan does realize he should make further visits to the planet and her office few if he doesn't want to go Out with a Bang.
  • All Animals Are Domesticated: When the main characters visit a planet whose human inhabitants have been gone for centuries, Trevize spends over half a chapter (while Bliss and Pelorat are exploring ruins) reflecting upon how, in the entire galaxy, there are no dangerous fauna (or flora) after twenty thousand years of humans domesticating everything. The subversion, of feral dogs, takes Trevize and the rest of the group by surprise.
  • All Myths Are True: The stories about Earth and other references to the robot novels, while believed by few, are surprisingly accurate despite happening tens of thousands of years before the events of this novel.
    • Mitza Lizalor, from Comporellon, believes that Earth was punished for using robots, and that is why it became radioactive. Speaking for Compelloran, she believes that all of the planets that used robots have been punished and no longer exist. Vasil Deniador adds on information about Settlers/Spacers and supposition on how robots create a Terminally Dependent Society, which is why the first group died out.
    • Bander mentions an Earthman visiting Solaria, and a Solarian woman leaving the planet to influence galactic politics. These are references to The Naked Sun and The Robots of Dawn.
    • According to the people of Alpha Centauri, Earth became radioactive (and they blamed the Spacers for making it happen), back during the era of Elijah Bailey, had enormous cities and underground buildings. The gradual disappearance of these cities and the euthanasia of people over sixty begin to tie this setting with that of The Empire Novels. New Earth, in orbit around Beta Centauri, was founded by the last remnant of Earth's population.
  • Apocalypse How: The protagonists trace clues back to the lost homeworld of humanity. When they find it, the planet is still fatally radioactive, with no known lifeforms surviving.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: A major reveal, R. Daneel Olivaw, a Three Laws-Compliant robot, has been benevolently guiding humanity's path the entire time. The prequels also explore this conspiracy, including the way the spoiler character had helped Hari Seldon develop his Seldon Plan.
  • Bio-Augmentation:
    • The Solarians are a psychokinetic variation, operating their entire estates directly by channeling thermal energy through their transducer lobes and using it to power machinery. Combined with their extensive use of robots, this allows every Solarian to exist almost entirely independently of their fellows, and thus never needing any kind of physical interaction. To take this to its ultimate conclusion, they have also re-engineered themselves as hermaphrodites who can reproduce via parthenogenesis. Isaac Asimov's Solarians eventually genetically re-engineered themselves into a race of hermaphrodites with psychic powers in the name of their world's social code, opposing any physical contact between human beings.
    • The humans of New Earth are expert bio-engineers. In addition to having developed the majority of species on the ocean planet, they are also attempting to engineer themselves into amphibian-like creatures that can spend their time in water as well as on land.
  • Black Box: Trevize specifically labels himself as a "black box" because Gaia considers his intuitive ability to be right something unexplainable. He then uses it to badger Gaia into letting him search for Earth because he thinks it's related to why he chose Galaxia as humanity's destiny. When he defends himself from attack on a Death World, Bliss/Gaia starts to understand/sympathize why Trevize dislikes the ability.
    Bliss: On Gaia we say, 'to know without thought.' You don't like knowing without thought, do you?
    Trevize: It bothers me, yes. I don't like being driven by hunches. I assume my hunch has reason behind it, but not knowing the reason makes me feel like I'm not in control of my own mind-a kind of mild madness.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: While the book itself only shows relatively minor examples (extreme xenophobia of various strains and problems with comprehending the concept of personal face-to-face relationships, as an example), the possibility of truly alien morality is a key plot point. The question driving Trevize is why did his intuition point to Gaia as the most correct option of the three given of First Foundation, Second Foundation or Gaia. At the end of the book, he realizes that the possibility of this trope is the reason — the First Foundation was out at least partly for other reasons, but the Second Foundation was excluded because their entire system is centered around psycho-history — which, among other implicit assumptions, assumes that there are only ever human populations with human responses, and hence would be incapable of handling truly alien ways of thinking, including moral systems.
  • Boldly Coming: The protagonists find only a few planets inhabited by humans (there are no alien races) on The Quest, and Golan Trevize finds a sexual partner on each of them. One of his companions complains about his philandering due to the way they've been to two planets with humans (for only a few hours each time), and both times he found someone to have sex with.
    Golan: Erotomaniac? Come, Bliss. Twice on this entire trip. Twice!
    Bliss: We were only on two worlds that had functioning human females on them. Two out of two, and we had only been a few hours on each.
  • Boxed Set: In 2018, Editora Aleph, a Brazilian publisher, printed Fundacao: declinio e ascensao. Roughly translated into English, this means Foundation: Decline and Ascension. Both Sequel and both Prequel novels are here; Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, Prelude to Foundation, and Forward the Foundation.
  • Brawn Hilda: Mitza Lizalor, the Comporellonian Minister of Transport, is tall, strong and athletic. When Trevize is alone with her he's acutely aware that in a physical confrontation she would wipe the floor with him. The current clothing fashions of her world also make her look less feminine in Trevize's and the reader's eyes.
  • The Bro Code: Golan Trevize invokes the code while on planet Comporellon to convince another guy to let Bliss through customs without identification documents. He implies that Pelorat is cheating on his wife with "Miss Bliss", and that documenting their excursion together will cause Pelorat endless problems when he returns home to Terminus. The customs official agrees, but warns him that they'd immediately start working on how to cover their ass at Trevize's expense if anything went wrong.
    "There is a kind of free-masonry among males," Trevize was grinning, now, "and one male doesn't betray another fellow male. He would even help, if requested. The reasoning, I suppose, is that it might be the helper's turn next to be helped. I presume," he added, turning a bit graver, "that there is a similar free-masonry among women, but, not being a woman, I have never had an opportunity to observe it closely."
  • Canon Welding: This novel uses The Quest to have Trevize and company travel to several worlds established by The Caves of Steel and sequels, such as Aurora and Solaria. At the ultimate goal of their search, Earth, they discover R. Daneel Olivaw, the secondary main character from that series. One of them also describes the plot of Nemesis in a fictional context.
  • Cliffhanger Wall: Asimov admitted he didn't know how to continue this story and made the last two Foundation books prequels.
  • Cover Drop: The image from the 1987 cover by Del Rey/Ballantine, which is used repeatedly thereafter, has a figure in a spacesuit climbing a crumbling statue. This scene occurs on Melpomenia, the only planet they visit that doesn’t have an atmosphere to support human life.
  • Death World: Each world they visit is some form of extreme environment that is deadly to humans, despite having been terraformed for human use.
    • Comporellon (actually Baleyworld from Robots and Empire), was one of the first planets terraformed by the Settlers from Earth. This planet is practically frozen, so the people build their cities underground and wear heated coats. At first, the government tries to take the Far Star from the protagonists, because it is one of the first gravitic ships, but Trevize convinces the Minister to let them keep it.
    • Aurora (from The Robots of Dawn), where humanity has died out and the planet is slowly de-terraforming itself. Previously domesticated animals, such as dogs, have become feral. When one such pack discovers Trevize, they chase him up a tree, where he continues to think about how All Animals Are Domesticated is Subverted when generations of animals occur with no guiding human hands while worrying about how he and the others will escape from the wild pack of dogs.
    • Solaria (from The Naked Sun), which doesn't have a hostile biome, is nonetheless deadly, because the human population has genetically engineered themselves, and modified their Three Laws-Compliant robots to conform to their definition of human, which makes "half-humans" like the protagonists fair game for the Killer Robots.
    • Melpomenia (a newly introduced Spacer world), was at some point in the past rendered uninhabitable for humans due to radical climate change; the only life form able to survive was a carbon dioxide feeding 'moss'.
    • New Earth (actually a planet around Alpha Centauri, a new Settler world), is an ocean world whose terraforming project was never completed. The genetically modified humans living on the only habitable island seem perfectly peaceful and welcoming, however. Until one of them reveals that they had been planning to kill all four of the protagonists, and encourages them to leave before an implanted virus can be activated.
    • Earth (the objective of their quest), turns out to be nothing more than a graveyard of a planet, with a crust too radioactive to land on. Above this memorial is The Moon, where R. Daneel Olivaw has been hiding in a terraformed subterranean (sublunarean?) cavern.
  • Defiant Strip: A PG-rated version when the protagonists have landed on the world of Comporellon in sub-zero temperatures. Bliss is suffering terribly from the cold, but rather than be frisked she throws her heated coat off and points out that the thin blouse and slacks she's wearing underneath couldn't possibly conceal a weapon.
  • Didn't See That Coming: It's not until the climax that Trevize realizes that the fundamental flaw in Seldon's Plan is it doesn't account for nonhuman intelligences, such as aliens.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: After failing to find humanity's homeworld in the previous story, Trevize, Pelorat, and Bliss embark on The Quest to discover Earth's location because someone went to a lot of trouble to deliberately obfuscate it. What they eventually find is a radioactive grave. Disappointed, they are preparing to leave when a child they picked up messes with the ship's controls and they think to check the Moon, where R. Daneel Olivaw has hidden himself while manipulating the galaxy for multiple thousands of years.
  • Earth That Was: Pelorat continues to run into myths that establish Earth is "gone"; having been destroyed, made radioactive, lost in hyperspace, or somehow dangerous.
    Trevize: "One way or another every people with an Earth-legend consider Earth to be unapproachable.”
  • Energy Weapon: The microwave laser that Trevize carries with him isn’t very useful on Aurora when a pack of dogs menaces him. His blaster can kill the dogs, but since it gives no indication of cause, it doesn't drive them away; he ends up using a different weapon, designed simply to induce pain, to chase the dogs away. It’s even less useful on Solaria, when the local telekinetic takes it away from him and drains the power from it. It does save the day on Melpomenia, when Trevize uses it as a sterilizer on the "moss" that has started growing on his and Pelorat's spacesuits.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Pelorat discovers that they’ve found a star named Alpha, he’s excited because the name means "first", and therefore this must be the first solar system of humanity.
  • Exact Words: When the trio attempt to hire a taxi on Comporellon, they find out that the 'taxi-driver' is merely someone driving the vehicle (which may not even be a taxi).
    Security Officer: If I were a taxi-driver, I would take you where you want to go. Since I'm not, I take you where I want to go.
    Pelorat: Pardon me, you certainly seem to be a taxi-driver. You're driving a taxi.
    Security Officer: Anyone might drive a taxi. Not everyone has a license to do so. And not every car that looks like a taxi is a taxi.
  • Eternal English: We find out here that the letter F has been flipped horizontally by the time of the books. The population of New Earth still use the original F and are surprised to see the name in the side of the Far Star.
  • Exposition of Immortality: As part of the surprise ending, R. Daneel Olivaw calmly announces that he is, in fact, twenty thousand years old. He goes on to discuss some of the events of earlier installments of The 'Verse, making mention of Elijah Baley and other long-deceased parties.
  • Fan of the Past: Pelorat, a historian, wishes to find the mythical origin planet, Earth, and ends up following absurd myths about a radioactive planet with a massive moon, in a solar system with a gas giant with a massive ring system, and so on. The bizarre part is that, despite continually going on about how much these things get exaggerated and altered over the years, the actual source material they're working from seems more or less correct, even when it shouldn't be, and they still don't believe it.
  • Flowery Elizabethan English: A long-forgotten colony on Alpha Centauri has a population speaking an archaic dialect (stated to be "Classical Galactic") of the Common Tongue so old that they comment upon the mirroring of "F" in the ship’s name, and their sentences are peppered with "thee" and "thou", and use "score" in their numbers (meaning twenty). Hiroko describes her planet as "a fair-visaged world", meaning it is beautiful.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • Id: Golan Trevize is the temperamental and impulsive hero of the group. Gaia remarked in ‘’Foundation's Edge’’ that Trevize can be ‘’right’’ in a way that nobody else is, due to the way he unconsciously synthesizes information. He dislikes Gaia because he is frightened of losing his individuality, and thinks of a galactic Assimilation Plot as the worst thing that can happen to humanity. He has embarked on a journey to find Earth, in the hope that finding it will help him understand why Gaia is the ‘’right’’ answer for humanity’s destiny.
    • Superego: Blissenobiarella/Gaia represents the complete sublimation of an individual to the social order, where the social order includes the planet/galaxy, including the inanimate parts. She/they/Gaia refers to people like Trevize and Pelorat as "Isolates", people who must struggle with rules and authority to conform to the social conventions of a population. She/they/Gaia operates by nearly constant democratic decision-making, and seeing the way Isolates rationalize breaking the rules and mistrust proves to her/them/Gaia that Isolates are always operating self-destructively instead of cooperatively. Bliss/Gaia is just as emotional as Trevize is, which often leads to high-tension arguments about who is right.
    • Ego: Janov Pelorat represents a balance between being impulsive individualism and collective consensus. With Bliss, he is engaged in attempting to become Gaia, and she warns him that it will only really make him "less Isolate", rather than truly joining. He often observes while Trevize and Bliss argue over Individualism vs Collectivism, occasionally awarding the argument to one side or the other. He is actually the least emotionally-driven of the group, caught up in old myths and histories concerning Earth, helping Trevize in his search.
  • From Cataclysm to Myth: The ultimate fate of Earth, largely abandoned after massive irradiation 20,000 years earlier, is the subject of dozens of myths in various parts of the galaxy. The protagonists use old myths about Earth to discern where it is/was. Many of the legends are distortions of events from Robots and Empire.
    • Comporellon (and Pelorat's records thereof) says that it was founded by Benbally, and used to be named Benbally World (the oldest records say Baleyworld). It believes it had been settled from Earth, which has developed a lethally radioactive crust.
    • Solaria says that a few other Spacer worlds tried to stop the Settler expansion by destroying Earth, but it backfired, causing the Settlers to expand even faster.
  • Fridge Logic: Despite having lived on a planet with clouds that would obscure parts of the sky, Pelorat apparently never made the connection that those same clouds should obscure a view of the ground from space. (See Surprisingly Realistic Outcome, where he assumed he would be able to view the surface detail of any planet he visited.)
  • Future Music: All music in the Foundation is made via electronics and computers, to the point that Trevize is horrified when he learns that the Alphans actually scrape and blow and bang on physical objects to make it. It turns out to be not as bad as he expected... except, of course, for the accordion finale.
  • Ghost Planet: The characters discover some of the planets where space-faring humans first settled in ruins and devoid of intelligent life. Aurora and Melpomenia, both Spacer planets. When they finally find it, Earth counts, too, having a crust that is far too radioactive to even land their ship on.
  • Grand Theft Me: At the climax, one character announces that they plan to bodysnatch (or at least "merge" with) Fallom in order to live just a few more centuries. R. Daneel Olivaw has been The Ageless for tens of thousands of years, and it's becoming difficult to make repairs and impossible to make upgrades. He wants Fallom's body for her youth and transducer lobes.
  • Hermaphrodite: The Solarians have genetically engineered themselves into hermaphrodites capable of inducing pregnancy in themselves, because their idea of freedom is to depend on no other person and to never meet anyone.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: Solarians are Transhumans who have became Hermaphrodites and bio-engineered "Transducer Lobes" in their brains, which harnesses local thermal energy to give them Mind over Matter powers.
  • Immediate Sequel: This story picks up within a week of Foundation and Earth's ending. Especially unusual since Foundation stories usually have a gap of decades to centuries.
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople): In-Universe, when the protagonists visit Comporellon, they learn that it was once called Balleyworld, and before that, Benbally World.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing:
    • The genetically engineered and hermaphroditic Solarians insist on being called "it" — since, after all, they are not half humans like us, but complete, perfect beings. Any gendered terms are insulting because they imply that it is less than a whole human.
    • When the characters have rescued a Solarian child, who must now live in a human society instead of among the Solarians (who would kill the child because of the surplus population), they feel more comfortable with a gendered pronoun. The characters call the child "her", partly on the grounds that she is capable of giving birth, making this example played straight.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Trevize and Bliss have a disagreement over Trevize's ruse to bypass one world's immigration official, with Trevize eventually claiming that "[S]ome of the rules are themselves trivial. [...] Why should we have to suffer for that?" But as Bliss explains:
    "If we only obey those rules we think are just and reasonable, then no rule will stand, for there is no rule that some will not think is unjust and unreasonable. And if we wish to push our own individual advantage, as we see it, then we will always find reason to believe that some hampering law is unjust and unreasonable. What starts, then, as a shrewd trick ends in anarchy and disaster, even for the shrewd trickster, since he, too, will not survive the collapse of society."
  • Language Drift: As a historian, Pelorat is familiar with the effects of time on language, and he discusses language speciation with Trevize. Their initial arrival on Solaria is complicated by the fact that the house robots only speak the Solarian dialect, which Pelorat can only barely fake as it is a static instance of language from Robots and Empire. However, Bander and the Guardian robots have watched hyperwave communications and have learned modern Galactic Standard.
  • Last of His Kind: R. Daneel Olivaw is the last surviving sentient robot in an age where robotics are Lost Technology. There are some other robots on Solaria, and Daneel created other robots to help him; but he's the last one from the era he was created.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: On Comporellon, Elijah Baley is quietly worshipped as one of the people who saved humanity from the Earth and the Spacers (with their evil robots). He is a "culture hero" whose very existence is doubted, and R. Daneel Olivaw, a biased source, claims that Baley was even more amazing than the myths say.
  • Long Game: At the climax, Golan Trevize discovers R. Daneel Olivaw, from Dr Asimov's Robot Series. Since Robots and Empire, Daneel has been guiding human history, trying to preserve human ability to define their destiny, while preventing human foibles from destroying the race. He encouraged the creation of Gaia and hid the planet from the first galactic empire. He encouraged Hari Seldon to develop Psychohistory and establish the First and Second Foundations. He even manipulated Bliss and Golan to bring Fallom with them.
  • Lost Technology: As they explore the Spacer Worlds, Pelorat is excited over the idea that he might encounter robots, because their use has pretty much disappeared from the galaxy, but the myths/records Pelorat has found shows that they used to be pervasive. At the end of the book, the heroes meet the last surviving one.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • On Comporellon lives Vasil Deniador, whose definition of "Skeptic" includes vacillating between beliefs based on what evidence has been presented, and denying anything without firm evidence.
    • Pelorat gets excited when they arrive at a system where the star is named "Alpha", which he explains is the name of the first letter of an ancient alphabet, and is therefore the name of Earth's sun.
  • The Milky Way Is the Only Way: Up until now, the Foundation series has been set within the same Milky Way. Pelorat asks Golan why that is, since all places are the same distance away by hyperspace. Dr Asimov gives a pretty good explanation: ships traveling through hyperspace are affected by objects with mass that lie along the line that connects the starting and the ending point of the jump. The greater the mass or the distance between them, the greater the effect. This is the main reason why starships in the Foundation Universe use several small jumps instead of the single long one. And with every jump requiring several days to calculate the new jump coordinates, intergalactic travel would take a long, long time.
  • Mind over Matter: The Solarians have "transducer lobes" on the sides of their brains. These allow them to direct any ambient energy flow into doing work that they desire, without the need to touch the thing they want to move. They can exert this effect over a kilometers-wide estate without having to think about it.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: Trevize is cornered by feral dogs on the deserted planet Aurora. He shoots one to try to scare the pack away, only to watch the survivors eagerly devour the dead dog's remains.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: R. Daneel Olivaw, who is The Ageless, has so many memories now, it's preventing him from forming new memories.
  • Naming Your Colony World:
    • Alpha is known by the inhabitants as 'New Earth', and they're descendants of the last humans to be evacuated from Earth.
    • Melpomenia is named for Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy. Its tragic ending is that it was rendered uninhabitable for humans due to radical climate change; the only life form able to survive that was a carbon dioxide feeding 'moss'.
  • Neologism: Trevize lampshades that he's making up the word "uniquities" to describe two different ways in which one thing may be unique.
  • New Neo City: We visit an early colony called New Earth.
  • Not My Driver: After landing on Comporellon, the protagonists request a taxi. Naturally, the one that picks them up has a driver working for the government, which would like to take their Cool Starship from them. They're taken directly to the official in charge.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: "The Foundation believes in the Seldon Plan, though no one in our realm can understand it, interpret its details, or use it to predict. We follow blindly out of ignorance and faith, and isn't that superstition?" So Trevize, by (publicly) questioning the accuracy of the Plan (starting in the previous book), has started moving away from this specific superstition.
    • He also believes that Gaia's blind belief in the rightness of his intuitions is something that needs to be questioned.
      "[Y]ou do not know why I should be right, or how safe it would be for you to follow that decision. You are only willing to go along out of ignorance and faith, and are even annoyed with me for trying to find evidence that will remove the ignorance and make mere faith unnecessary. Isn't that superstition?"
  • Outside-Context Problem: By the climax, Golan Trevize comes to the conclusion that this trope is the main reason why he chose Gaia over the Second Foundation. Psychohistory and the Second Foundation's means of manipulation and planning are based on human behaviour (the Mule thought like a human, he just had an ability most others do not have), leaving them open for problems if faced with truly alien ways of thinking.
  • The Plan: Every Ancient Conspiracy that takes place chronologically before this novel ends up being revealed to be part of Robot Daneel Olivaw's plans. He's more than 10,000 years old, he helped create the planetary consciousness Gaia, he helped convince Seldon to come to Trantor and complete his work on psychohistory so that he can create the Seldon Plan, and he turned the protagonists of this novel into a MacGuffin Delivery Service (because he's coming up against the limits of being The Ageless) in the form of a longevity boost in order to see it all through to completion.
  • Polka Dork: Surprisingly relevant, as the "climax" of the Alphan concert is an old coot playing an accordian.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: The main characters' search for Earth That Was takes them to a former colony world on which humans went extinct, leaving behind dogs that have reverted to wolf-like behavior.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: R. Daneel Olivaw's memory is full after existing for millennia. The only way for him to keep going is to merge with Fallon's brain.
  • Previously on…: This book contains an updated version of "The Story Behind the Foundation", explaining why his publishers insisted on him writing another book in the series.
  • Pronoun Trouble: The genetically engineered and hermaphroditic Solarians insist on being called "it" — since, after all, they are not half humans like us, but complete, perfect beings. When the characters have rescued a Solarian child, who will live in a human society instead of among the Solarians, they feel more comfortable with a normal gendered pronoun. They call the child "her", partly on the grounds that she is capable of giving birth.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Over the centuries, R. Daneel has had to repeatedlyy repair and replace all of his physical components and expand his memory capacity to avoid My Skull Runneth Over.
  • Really 700 Years Old: R. Daneel Olivaw, though it is closer to seventeen thousand at the time the series begins.
  • The Reveal: At the end of the book, Golan realizes that the reason why he chose to support Gaia's Assimilation Plot is that's the best way to survive intergalactic war, since any aliens who crossed intergalactic space could easily defeat a divided and squabbling humanity.
  • Sequel Hook: The story ends with Golan reflecting on the alien eyes of Fallon, implying a potential war between the Solarians and the Foundation. Unfortunately, Asimov didn't actually have any definite ideas for that sequel, so he ended up writing two Prequels before passing on.
  • Sex–Face Turn: It could be said that half the women Golan Trevize meets are entranced by his sexual prowess. Though it is revealed that R. Daneel Olivaw has been loosening said women's inhibitions to assist the protagonists in their travels.
    • Mitza Lizalor, Transport Minister for the planet of Comporellon, arranges for the protagonists to be kidnapped by a taxi immediately after arriving on-planet. The Foundation has asked all related worlds to find the Far Star and return it to Terminus. However, after she's arranged for a private conversation with Trevize, she brings up the sexual immorality of the Foundation. She likes sex, but is disappointed with the guilt that men on her planet feel about sex, and wants to see how good an "immoral" Foundationer is. Having been satisfied with him, she lets him return to his mission to find The Oldest.
    • Hiroko, from New Earth in the system of Alpha Centauri, quickly gets him alone and invites him to have sex with her. This is a Zig-Zagged Trope example, because this was how Hiroko infected Trevize with a lethal virus which would be used to kill all the Outworlders. However, once she heard Fallom's musical ability, the prospect of destroying a musical genius like her motivated Hiroko to warn the protagonists about the virus and encourage them to leave New Earth as soon as possible. Bliss tells Trevize that Hiroko was motivated to save them because of their brief sexual fling. Pelorat privately calls her out for lying to Trevize, just to make him feel better.
  • Shrouded in Myth: R. Daneel Olivaw informs his guests that 'culture hero' Elijah Bailey was a real man and even more extraordinary than the myth. Of course, he is slightly biased.
  • Single-Biome Planet:
    • When viewed from space, Solaria has a single unbroken continent that surrounds the equator, creating a temperate biome on a mostly ocean planet. Despite that, multiple landscapes are mentioned, such as mountains, grasslands, and forests. The people all live underground, making their uniform temperate ecology nearly pointless.
    • The planet Alpha is completely covered by water except for a single artificially created island (called New Earth), barely large enough to support a civilization.
  • Spoiler Cover: As can be seen on the main Foundation Series page, one recent edition of the book features an idealized image of a humanoid figure standing inside the Moon.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: While approaching Comporellon — the third planet Pelorat and Trevize could visit together — Pelorat thinks to himself that he assumed that you could just look at each planet's surface and see its features, such as seas, lakes, and landmasses. There's just one problem: "If a world was habitable, it had an atmosphere as well as a hydrosphere. And if it had both air and water, it had clouds; and if it had clouds, it had an obscured view."
    • In a related point, he decides that each planets' shifting cloud cover makes distinguishing between them from space basically impossible (or at least very difficult). Trevize points out that, even without using tools like radar, you can still use details such as the tilt of the planetary axis and orbital inclination to learn a few details, such as which hemisphere is currently experiencing winter. Not every planet has the exact same weather patterns.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: Solarians have engineered themselves into hermaphrodites in order to become independent from other humans... but their genetically modified bodies can now only give birth to embryos so small that artificial wombs and robotic care are the only way to procreate. Not that they mind, they've incorporated robots so deeply into their society that they've modified the First Law of Robotics so that only adult Solarians count as "human".
  • Three Laws-Compliant:
  • Time Abyss: R. Daneel Olivaw, AKA Eto Demerzel, AKA Chetter Hummin is 22,000 years old at the end of Foundation and Earth.
  • Transhuman: The Solarians have engineered themselves into being "whole" humans, meaning they contain both male and female genitalia, which they use to become pregnant with offspring and created "transducer lobes", which grant them the ability to direct any ambient energy flow into doing work that they desire, without the need to touch the thing they want to move.
  • Transhuman Treachery: The Solarians were socially-averse long before reengineering themselves into Transhumans. They represented an extreme of the Spacer culture, and in the intervening era since Robots and Empire, they've become even more extreme. They've redefined what counts as "human", excluding their own offspring and the rest of the galaxy. When Sarton Bander meets the protagonists, he entertains himself for awhile, but is compelled to kill them for trespassing on Solaria.
  • Truly Single Parent: The Solarians have engineered themselves into Hermaphrodites capable of inducing pregnancy in themselves, because their idea of freedom is to depend on no other person and to never meet anyone.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Unaware of potential manipulations by R. Daneel Olivaw, the protagonists act as a Macguffin Delivery Service, bringing Fallom to him so that he can survive to see the creation of Galaxia.
  • You See, I'm Dying: R. Daneel Olivaw reveals that despite having lived for millennia, he is now dying. However, he's figured out how to sidestep the issue that would otherwise cause his death, at least temporarily (barely a few thousand years more).
    PERHAPS it was because of the matter-of-fact way in which Daneel said it; or perhaps because a lifetime of twenty thousand years made death seem no tragedy to one doomed to live less than half a percent of that period; but, in any case, Trevize felt no stir of sympathy.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Solarians have modified themselves and their robots. Because of their unusual attitude towards socialization, they’re no longer exactly human, and have recalibrated the Three Laws to accommodate for that. On Solaria, you are not considered human unless you are an adult of the hermaphroditic race that calls themselves Solarians. The robots try to kill the protagonists because they represent an invasion of nonhumans.
  • What Other Galaxies?: Despite the Milky Way being the only galaxy in terms of plot throughout the whole Foundation saga, it's discussed that humankind has the narcissistic tendency to believe its home galaxy is the only important bit of the universe.
    Golan Trevize: Yet we speak so much and so often of the Galaxy that it is all but impossible for us to see that this is not enough. The Galaxy is not the universe. There are other galaxies.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: R. Daneel Olivaw explains to Trevize and the others about the way the Three Laws of Robotics limited his Psychic Powers, and how Giskard invented the Zeroth Law (in Robots and Empire). However, since he cannot be entirely certain that the known harm of manipulating people's minds would be balanced by the hypothetical benefit to humanity (per the Zeroth Law), psychic powers are almost useless. To decide what is injurious, or not injurious, to humanity as a whole, he engineered the founding of Gaia and Psychohistory.