Study Guide

Foundation Part V, Chapter 1

By Isaac Asimov

Part V, Chapter 1

  • This story opens with a man named Jorane Sutt telling someone that there may be a Seldon crisis on the way. Yeah, let's get right to it, shall we?
  • Hober Mallow seems less than impressed. He sees politicians shouting "Seldon crisis" whenever they're in trouble and sometimes just for funsies.
  • But when Sutt mentions nuclear weapons, Mallow agrees to at least listen.
  • Three trader ships have gone missing at Korell, and the Foundation can't afford to just ask the local leader, the Commdor, for fear of looking weak.
  • Also, those ships were nuclear, so only someone else with nuclear power could have beaten them.
  • That leaves two possibilities: either Korell has invented nuclear tech—which Mallow thinks is about as far-fetched as an invitation to a Sasquatch wedding—or the Foundation houses a traitor.
  • But what does this have to do with Mallow? After all, he's a Smyrnian, an outlander, born to a poor spacer who died shoveling coal before the Foundation took over. (He probably walked barefoot uphill in the snow both ways to school, too.)
  • But Sutt doesn't "care an electron" (seriously, his words, not ours) about Mallow's birthplace (V.1.25). He needs an outlander and a man who knows Korell to go there as a trader and keep his eyes open for anything suspicious.
  • Mallow accepts the job. After he leaves, Sutt heads to the mayor's office to check in. Sutt claims that Mallow could be a good actor.
  • The plot thickens.