Study Guide

Foundation Part II, Chapter 7

By Isaac Asimov

Part II, Chapter 7

  • Finally, we're in the Vault. Time to solve this mystery once and for all.
  • Hardin and the Board members wait anxiously, and a pre-recorded holograph of Seldon appears before them.
  • Seldon opens by saying he can't see them, can't properly greet them, and doesn't even know if anyone is in the room. So, smoke'em if you've got'em, or have a snack, or whatever: holographs don't care
  • Then the bomb drops. The Encyclopedia Galactica is a fraud. He never cared if it ever was completed. Da-da-DUM.
  • Its only purpose was to keep everyone, including the people of Foundation, from noticing Seldon's true intentions.
  • Now the people of the Foundation have been cut off from the Empire by the growing power of the Periphery Kingdoms.
  • Also, they can't know Seldon's Plan in advance because to know the plan means a chance they could change the plan. They just have to go with the flow of time and know that they're building toward the next Galactic Empire.
  • Super weak of you Seldon. Super weak.
  • So what choice do the people of the Foundation have? There is only one "action—that is, the solution to your dilemma—[and it] is obvious" (II.7.27).
  • After Seldon's recording ends, Pirenne turns to Hardin and admits he was right: the Board needs to give up control.
  • The obvious solution, it seems, was only obvious to Hardin.