Foundation and Chaos, by Greg Bear
I very much liked Foundation and Chaos. It has the Asimov feel and the Asimov tone, tied to genuinely (at least in the context of a Foundation novel) graceful prose. Bear bounces back and forth between Hari Seldon and the various forces of Daneel Olivaw. He opens with Seldon about to go on trial, and covers, in time, the same period as Asimov's very first Foundation short story. I'm not going to do a book review here -- but I will say that this is the novel, of the three, that felt the most like an Asimov novel. The plotting among the various factions of robots feels Asimovian, the final confrontation between mentalic humans and mentalic robots reminded me strongly of Asimov's Second Foundation faceoff between Bail Channis and the Mule, followed by the First Speaker and the Mule. The cleverest sequence has to be Seldon's trial: Bear recreates the trials as Asimov reported them, going into the motivations and backgrounds of the various characters in substantially more depth than Asimov bothered to, in his original short. It's a worthy expansion and a good read.
Foundation's Triumph, by David Brin
I enjoyed the Bear better than I enjoyed the Brin, and I enjoyed both of them better than I enjoyed the Benford. That said ...
I very much respect what Brin did here. He did what I'd have done in similar circumstances: it's evident from the work that he went back to the source, re-read Asimov end to end, took notes, looked at what worked and didn't work in Asimov's attempts to unify his storylines, took note of interesting questions left over from the likes of the infrequently read Empire books -- Pebble in the Sky and The Stars Like Dust and The Currents of Space. (I re-read Stars & Currents recently myself, and there are obvious and less-obvious references in Triumph to both of them.)
Brin even put together a pretty good timeline covering the events from Susan Calvin's birth to Foundation and Earth -- not the obsessively detailed timeline I'd pay money to see, but nonetheless -- writing this novel really didn't require the work Brin evidently put into it. I'm sure all three of these men wrote their novels from love -- they couldn't have made much more from the Foundation works than they made for their own novels, if any. But Brin is the guy whose work shows most clearly, and whose sympathy for Asimov's base work shines through most clearly.
I wish I liked the novel better. It's not Brin's fault I don't; it's too crammed with incident and ideas, and Brin doesn't take the time to slow down and linger with his characters. He has a lot to get in in this one novel, and might have been better served by two novels -- Douglas Adams stuck 5 or 6 books into his trilogy, I don't see why Brin couldn't have managed it. He doubtless had material, if not time or interest, for his own Foundation trilogy.
Next up, the novels of Steve Perry....
I'm going to edit TF and Devlin's Razor this weekend, and send them on to Immunity. Anyone with copy edits for either, please send them to me. Amy's reading a novel by Tanarive Due right now, and I'm promised a read of AI War's 1st half thereafter ...
I may have other good news about AI War soon. No promises.
I caught a little piece of The Little Mermaid, walking through Best Buy the other day ... Ariel singing "Part of Your World." I'm not sure there's ever been a purer expression of longing, put to music. Having seen Enchanted recently, I'd really like to watch The Little Mermaid again. I suspect my six year old's never seen it.
Still in court. (Going to be in court, one way or another, until Alan Rodgers dies, most likely. Cost of business stuff, there. Fortunately I expect to outlive Alan by thirty or forty years.) No complaints on my end, yet; the kids still haven't been forced to deal with Alan directly.