It has to be in the top 3 of about 20 books I've listen to thus far.
I think Azimov does a great job in making the time travel concept seem perfectly believable in this future.
He certainly added a 'future' vibe to the entire book. I thought it added significantly to the experience.
Yes but I listen on my commute to work. This books was something I really looked forward to on my 45-50 minutes each way.
Ranks very near or at the top
The power of survival of the human spirit when dedicated to using science with all it's successes and failures and avoiding the comforting delusion of the safety of gods.
Don't know don't care.
Succeed and fail and expand. Our potential is unlimited.
It gave me some hope for us humans especially in these days when religion is pulling a new blanket of dark ages over us.
In the late 1950s I read every science fiction book and pulp magazine I could get my hands on including all of Asimov's marvelous stories and novels. But I seem to have missed this absolute gem.
Time travel stories typically exploit the paradox of killing your grandfather when he was a boy, changing history in a way that prevents you in the future from ever having a chance to make the trip backward, the perils of time-out-of-joint confusion, and action-movie dilemmas that demands lots of frantic action to put back right. This turns into repeated and familiar car chase motion, in 4 dimensions this time, but still not much more than shaky-cam car chases and gun shots. A different time gets treated simply as a different place. The unique dramatic aspects of time travel are submerged in a noisy drama of action and conflict. So, if you have a time machine, why are you in such a maniacal hurry all the time, dear writers? You can certainly adjust the dial a bit and arrive at your leisure.
Asimov has all of the compelling and unhurried aspects of time travel and does the plotting better than anyone else. Though I haven't seen it yet, even from the excellent reviews I believe that "The End of Eternity" is better and smarter than "Looper." You will certainly have more to chew on later.
Asimov's story is rich, complex, unexpected and wise. The story is absolutely the opposite of a linear plot where you can probably guess what's gonna happen next. You can't. The venue enlarges exponentially in scope and goes in directions you cannot anticipate, nor have ever seen anywhere else. And the 1955 vintage American English is a delight to read.
Wow! I loved it.
Every so often, an audio version of the book seems better than the print version because of the acting. This isn't the case, but that's not really a bad thing (I mean I get to listen to it while biking--kinda hard to read the print version doing that). However, when I started this book, I almost just turned it off due to the audio performance. Paul Boehmer reads it sounding like an automaton, with unnatural pauses in his sentences. At first I had a hard time trying to absorb the story because of his voice acting. However, after a while I became engrossed in the story and I began to wonder if this was all done on purpose.
You see, the main character in the story is supposed to be somewhat emotionless, and usually processes everything in his environment from a purely logical perspective. Perhaps Mr. Boehmer wanted to emphasize this. I also suspect this is the case, because when characters were actually talking, Mr. Boehmer displayed a much wider range of emotion. As the character becomes more "human", it seems that Mr. Boehmer's reading also becomes more human. In some ways, one might argue the voice acting was done in a kind of cerebral, artistic manner--with the unfortunate result that I think some people might get turned off by it.
I urge you, if you get this book, to just keep listening. Asimov as usual has very insightful things into human behavior and the effects of technology on our humanity. I literally rode my bike for 2 hours straight to finish this book because the ending is extremely well done.
In terms of the story itself, the pacing is nice--it builds tension chapter by chapter until the finale, which is well done. You'll see (hear?) a few things that are out of place--printouts on foil for example--a result of hole-punch cards way back when. These just made me chuckle--computer science is a far cry away from what it was 60 years ago. However, these are few and far between, and since I'm not a physicist, the science in the novel sounded plausible and interesting. The few major characters are distinct and interesting in their own way. Finally, the conclusions in the story deal with evolution, love, and human suffering, and are are interesting and insightful. Without giving away the ending, I can guarantee they will give you something to think about long after you've finished the story.
Harlan (sp?), the main character, was my favorite, but this is because the entire story is told from his point of view. We get to listen to his thoughts and reasoning while watching him transition from his naive self to his final being.
My favorite scene was probably when he realizes he's about to run into himself due to time travel and his mistakes. He also realizes many of his assumptions were wrong, but he's still far from where he needs to be.
No, I was okay pausing the story, until the last hour or so of the book which I had to listen to in a complete setting.
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?