The idea of the consequences of altering time and the increasing difficulty in keeping time from running off the rails. Probably only the very old concept of computing dated it. I loved how it made me think about the problems altering time would pose
Arthur C. Clarke's "City and the Stars" was similar in that it seemed contemporary and at points I couldn't stop listening. The difference being that Clarke's book I still think about as the far future it painted was fascinating.
I think that Paul made the character's distinct enough to not get mixed up during dialogues. Seems simple, but I doubt it is so.
There were points where I couldn't stop listening.
While I read most of Asimov as a young teenager, but somehow don't remember this one. Don't know how I could have missed it.
well written, thoughtful, provocative
I really enjoyed the rich ideas embedded in an interesting story.
He reads expressively without intruding his voice into the story.
changing the past
Asimov is a terrific writer and this book written in the 50's has aged well.
Science fiction is preoccupied with dystopian futures. Or at least it seems so to me. Of course, my sci-fi reading has been largely visual and of the Blade Runner variety. The future and its other worlds appear to be dark, greasy and metallic, with questionable hygiene facilities. Since I find reality pretty scary all on its own, I have never been drawn to this. But what about Star Trek, I think. Ok–there you have a utopian future, where mankind has figured some of its “issues” out in celestial therapy and is trying to move forward in a far more inclusive and holistic manner. Kudos to you, Rodenberry and Co. But talk of flux capacitators has never turned my crank, so to speak, and I’ve never joined the ranks of the hard core sci-fi fans. ComicCon will not be seeing me anytime soon.
Fantasy was more my cuppa. The notion of worlds where our rules of physics and matter did not apply, where rationality and realism had different faces, was far more intriguing than the manufactured worlds of sci-fi. Magic, dragons, mind-reading, wizardry–that was where it was at for teen-age me.
But last week I listened to Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity. The audiobook was on sale and I figured I’d stopper up one of what the German’s call my “Bildungsluecken,” or “holes in my education.” I spent the first half of the book groaning. Young bureaucrat finds a cute girl, has sex with her and it CHANGES HIS LIFE OMG. The love story between Harlan and Noys enters into the picture as a rather stock gendered trope: man, absorbed by work, is awakened to the possibilities of a full life through his introduction to a sensual, loving woman. He is rational and non-emotional. She is child-like and impulsive. He is uptight about sex. She thinks it is a fun game to play. The feminist listening to this in the car in 2012 groans inwardly, sometimes even externally.
These old tired sexual tropes exist alongside the funky time travel narrative, though, and the plot line involving Harlan and Cooper going into the past and planting information for the future, or sending messages to the future through knowledge of the past and how the future sees it is appropriately complex and compelling. Even the casual observer of sci-fi fiction and film can see how Asimov truly articulates the ethical and technological implications of time travel in ways that still occupy the writers of tv, film, and fiction. What would you go back to change? Why? and, ultimately, is this a good idea?
Against that background, the manipulators (Harlan) become the manipulated (thanks, Noys) and even the ossified gender trope sort of slips sideways into something else. She is not the passive child, and it made me happy to see Asimov play with my expectations regarding her role and then disappoint them. The book is 1955, though, and ends with the two of them in our era, in an unchangeable and immutable past, married, having babies, and leaving the world to its own devices.
As a yearning for normalcy in a post-WWII era, this vision makes sense. But since my intellectual investment in the story was in figuring out Noys’ purpose in the narrative, I was a bit bummed out that she wanted to be June Cleaver. Because she meets a boy, falls in love and IT CHANGES HER LIFE, OMG. Some tropes are evergreen and there is nothing new under the sun.
I've been listening to audio books for well over twenty years (even before audible was available). Secretly, I wish I could be a narrator.
Isaac Asimov crafted an excellent time travel novel that will keep you listening and begging for more with a surprise ending.
I am a television editor and producer. There are so many ways to tell a story, but novel writing is the purest form. I am working on my first novel. It is the hardest yet most satisfying endeavor of my life so far.
I'm a fan of time travel sci fi but this particular story is one of first of that genre that didn't grab me. Although the science is well explained, the characters ultimately fall flat. Unlikely love in an emotionless, timeless world serves as the catalist for all of the conflicts that ensue, but this love never feels real. This book's strength lies in its well thought out paradoxical speculations and I'm sure there are plenty of Sci Fi buffs who will get something out of it.
I thought the ending was actually the best part. It had a good twist that oriented us back into the time contueum that we currently understand as reality. But, unfortunately, it was too little too late.
The reader was acceptable. There wouldn't be much else Mr. Boehmer could do to spice this one up. I ended up listening to the second half of the book at 3x speed once I realized that emotional cadence played a very small role in this story.
I wouldn't necessarily exclude any scenes, but the story could benefit from exploring a smaller scope of time. The biggest scientific leap of faith in this book is the assumption that humanity will last over 100,000 centuries. That phenomenal span of time makes it difficult recognize or relate to the majority of the events intended to drive the story.
This novel was written in the mid fifties, at the dawn of the cold war, when sensibilities were certainly different from today's. For those readers who'd like to explore sci fi written during this era, novels by Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke might serve them better.
Incredible thought provoking book, makes you think and wonder about the threats of man evolving and adopting a god-like perspective on himself. When will progress be enough?
The brilliance of Asimov comes fully to bear in this time traveling prequel-of-sorts to the Foundation/Robot series. Mixed with the imagination and depth one comes to expect from the grand master of science fiction is wonderfuly insightful commentary on the nature of humanity and the structure of society that goes further than even Foundation in trying to explain who we are, where we are going, and why. Time travel, too, is given it's due and even to those well worn by many a hokey star trek episode the End of Eternity will feel fresh, and even exciting, as Asimov opens up the possibilities, and reprocussions, of human existence.
Yes. It's sophisticated, understandable and unique.
No comparison. This is the best time travel story I recall ever reading.
I read this over several occasions.
The reading seemed mechanical, and I checked it several times to see if it really was a speech-to-text engine. As the story progressed, I either adjusted or the performance got better.
When he discovers that Nuys was from the hidden centuries.
Slow, wooden, mechanical
Who can argue with perfection?