Study Guide

Foundation Part I, Chapter 7

By Isaac Asimov

Part I, Chapter 7

  • New day; new trial. This one strikes Gaal as different though, since it's just Seldon, Gaal, and the five judges sitting at a table. They are even offered cigars—one assumes with coffee and maybe some small, delectable treat. It seems only proper.
  • Turns out, it's no longer a trial. The Commissioners' interest lies only with the safety of the state (read: their jobs).
  • They accuse Seldon of making a fuss, even though no one alive will even be around to see the events he's so concerned about.
  • But Seldon replies that his concern is one of "idealism" that links him to the "mystical generalization to which we refer by the term, 'humanity'" (1.7.9).
  • Chen wonders why he doesn't just get rid of Seldon by having him executed that very night.
  • Seldon's response is that the "tale of my interrupted trial will spread through the Galaxy. Frustration of [his] plans to lighten the disaster will convince people that the future holds no promise for them" (1.7.14).
  • Wha? In other words, people will get really bummed out if they know Seldon has been executed.
  • But hold on. Didn't we find out earlier that hardly anyone knew Seldon was being tried, no press was allowed to attend the trial, and that Seldon's research wasn't published because of its terrifying nature? So, then how…what?
  • Okay, okay. Setting potential plot holes aside, Chen puts a pin in the whole "executing Seldon" thing.
  • They take up discussing Seldon's grand encyclopedia. The Commission wonders if perhaps Seldon could create the encyclopedia but do so elsewhere. Maybe far away from them and on another planet? Hint, hint.
  • Seldon thinks that might work. That's good, Doc, because the Commission has already chosen a planet. There, Seldon will work, and the people of Trantor will be told he's going to prevent the fall of the Galactic Empire.
  • Small side note: this is a nice way of saying it's either exile or death. (Not as tasty as cake or death but still not much of a choice.)
  • What planet? Terminus, a tiny hunk-o-rock way out in the boondocks of the galaxy.
  • Fair enough. Seldon accepts his exile