Study Guide

Foundation Part I, Chapter 8

By Isaac Asimov

Part I, Chapter 8

  • Gaal and Seldon sit together in a taxi, and Gaal asks whether it's true that Seldon's death would hasten the Empire's fall. Like George Washington himself, Seldon informs his colleague he cannot tell a lie.
  • Soldiers are waiting for them when they arrive at the university. They'll be under marital law for the next six months while they pack for the move. Gaal tries to argue that six months isn't enough time, but Seldon hushes him and brings him to his office.
  • There, Seldon informs Gaal that six months will be plenty of time. Why? Because with psychohistory on his side, "the actions of others are bent to [Seldon's] needs" (I.8.21).
  • That's right, folks. Seldon foresaw and predicted the whole thing. Exile. Terminus. The works. He's even been packing for two and half years already.
  • Gaal wonders why Seldon aroused the fears that forced him into exile in the first place, and why twenty thousand families must be forced to travel to the end of the Galaxy.
  • All, we might add, pretty legit questions.
  • But Seldon doesn't answer—wouldn't want to ruin the surprise for the readers now, would he? He just says that two scientific refuges will be built, one on Terminus and another at the other edge of the Galaxy at a place called Star's End.
  • Oh, and Seldon's going to die soon. Details, details.
  • But Seldon isn't bummed about it. He tells Gaal that his successors will continue the scheme (whether they want to or not, it seems).
  • As for Seldon, his part in this grand space opera is coming to a close.
  • Universe Factoid: if you've read the entire book, you'll notice something interesting. The second Foundation, the one at Star's End, never appears. It's hardly even mentioned. So, why does Seldon add this little detail? Because it becomes ultra important much later on. The second Foundation makes its long overdue arrival in the third book of the trilogy, Second Foundation.
  • And let us tell you: the wait is well worth it.