Foundation and Earth - Isaac Asimov

Foundation And Earth - Isaac Asimov

In the fifth and last instalment of his Foundation series, the oh-so-enlightened Isaac Asimov decides that it is a good idea to introduce a whole lot of sex into his previously quite prudish storyline. Golan Trevize, with his companions Bliss and Janov Pelorat (who are, you know, at it), go on a space quest for Earth, humanity's original planet. Their journey takes in a society of hermaphrodites, at least one use of bribery-sex, and lots and lots of ogling.

 

The thing is, watching Asimov trying to write about sex, let alone a romantic relationship, is kind of like listening to your grandparents discussing the same thing: you know it happened, but you really don't want to hear about it from them. I get the feeling he was trying to be all groundbreaking and exploring-the-boundaries-of-humanity in a Heinlein-y way, but if that's so he fails epically. He struggles to find the correct pronoun for a hermaphrodite: not happy with "it", he settles on "she" because the being in question happens to look a bit female, a choice which sort of defeats the point of having such a character in the first place. And all the women have ulterior motives, of course. And Pelorat thinks it is appropriate to call his much younger girlfriend Bliss "dear child". Ick.

 

Ooh, but there are robots in space, and it all gets quite exciting towards the end, so I'll forgive Asimov a little bit. Still, probably the weakest of the Foundation books.