These are a few excerpts from the book with a little commentary from moi (okay, more than a little).
Conceive it! It is a world the size of a handkerchief, of a fingernail; with resources so petty, power so minute, a population so microscopic as would never suffice the most backward worlds of the dusty prefects of the Dark Stars. Yet with that, a people so proud and ambitious as to dream quietly and methodically of Galactic rule.
Why, they are so sure of themselves that they do not even hurry. They move slowly, phlegmatically; they speak of necessary centuries. They swallow worlds at leisure; creep through systems with dawdling complacence. And they succeed. There is no one to stop them. They have built up a filthy trading community that curls its tentacles about the systems further than their toy ships dare reach. For parsecs, their Traders – which is what their agents call themselves – penetrate.
A description of the awesomeness that is the Foundation. Simply superb.
Cleon II was Lord of the Universe. Cleon II also suffered from a painful and undiagnosed ailment. By the queer twists of human affairs, the two statements are not mutually exclusive, nor even particularly incongruous.
See what he did there? Hehehe..
Mayor Indbur was the third of the name and the second to succeed by right of birth, and he was the least of the three, for he was neither brutal nor capable – but merely an excellent bookkeeper born wrong.
To him, a stilted geometric love of arrangement was “system,” an indefatigable and feverish interest in the pettiest facets of day-to-day bureaucracy was “industry,” indecision when right was “caution,” and blind stubbornness when wrong, “determination.”
Character descriptions are the USP of this series. These are supposed to be directly from the encyclopedia prepared by the Foundation.
“Were I to use the wits the good Spirits gave me,” he said, “then I would say this lady can not exist – for what sane man would hold a dream to be reality. Yet rather would I not be sane and lend belief to charmed, enchanted eyes. Yet not alone for eyes and face,” babbled the clown, as his words hurled past each other in heightened frenzy, “but also for a mind, clear and sturdy – and kind as well.”
How the court Jester serenades Bayta (an important female character)
The sense of foreboding in this simple, single statement is inescapable!
It was strange that a world which had been the center of a Galaxy for two thousand years – that had ruled limitless space and been home to legislators and rulers whose whims spanned the parsecs – could die in a month. It was strange that a world which had been untouched through the vast conquering sweeps and retreats of a millennia, and equally untouched by the civil wars and palace revolutions of other millennia – should lie dead at last. It was strange that the Glory of the Galaxy should be a rotting corpse.
Someone talking about Trantor, the thriving capital of the erstwhile Galactic empire. A testament to the impermanence of life and the inevitable decay that awaits everything.
The game’s over, and I’d like to tell you a story. It’s a weakness of mine – I want people to understand me. I call myself the Mule – but not because of my strength – obviously–
The mule. Profound, mysterious, intelligent and all conquering. What a character!