This stand-alone work is widely regarded as Asimov's best science-fiction novel.
Andrew Harlan is an Eternal, a member of the elite of the future. One of the few who live in Eternity, a location outside of place and time, Harlan's job is to create carefully controlled and enacted Reality Changes. These Changes are small, exactingly calculated shifts in the course of history, made for the benefit of humankind.
Though each Change has been made for the greater good, there are also always costs. During one of his assignments, Harlan meets and falls in love with Noÿs Lambert, a woman who lives in real time and space. Then Harlan learns that Noÿs will cease to exist after the next Change, and he risks everything to sneak her into Eternity.
©1955 Isaac Asimov. All rights reserved. (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks America
“His most effective piece of work. Asimov’s exemplary clarity in plotting is precisely suited to the material at hand. Asimov’s engagement with the present is clearer here than in his other works, as is his engagement with the human.” (Locus)
"Asimov’s flirtation with the tropes employed by A. E. van Vogt and Charles Harness is startling for an author deemed ultra-rational and scientific....The effects of this influential, seminal book echo to the present, in the works of such writers as Greg Egan, John Varley, Kage Baker, and Greg Bear." (SciFi.com)
This book is quintessential Asimov at his best. The story is classic "Science" Fiction and uses scientific concepts to ground its basic ideas and premises. If you enjoy reading a well reasoned and thought provoking story you will find it here. The book combines the best aspects of an interesting story that makes you want to know more, and Asimov's wonderful imagination that uses scientific reasoning to provide a basis for the action. The narration is also superb and gives life to the characters..
My two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One.
I honestly don't know why I never before picked up an Asimov book. Sci-Fi is far and away my favorite genre, but there's so much to read and so little time.
I chose this one because other reviewers claimed that while less popular, this is Asimov's best work. I'm looking forward to some of his other books, but am not in a big hurry i.e., his "best work" didn't capture me the way Heinlein's worst books do.
Eventually the philosophy emerged, but for more than the first half of the book I was disappointed by the paucity of insight regarding the consequences of cultural interference via time travel and the exponential incalculable effects of such.
The premise of the book is the Eternals' nanny state, "we know what's best for mankind's evolutionary path" and their manipulation of causation in order to calibrate the maximum desired outcome with the least amount of interference. This is about as deep, philosophically speaking, the book gets until the last 1/3 to 1/4, but I enjoyed in immensely.
A basic love story where the protagonist is bound by duty, but captured by love... more sensuality. Asimov's description of the girl, in her translucent outfit draped over perfect curves and her amorous personality, had me going.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I would recommend all Asimov books to anyone who likes good fiction and good sci-fi. The only thing wrong with this book is that it was written in 1955 and reflects the lack of appreciation of the fast pace of technology that was soon to happen. Many of the technological developments projected out by centuries are already yesterday's news and that shows up in all the sci-fi written in the 50's. However, this book, like all of Asimov's books uses science fiction more as setting than as driver - characters and plot drive the story so it is still very entertaining and has a really fun plot-twisting ending. Even if the science-fiction is a bit dated, the story is clever and interesting.
I had some trouble with the performance in this audio book and I think I would have enjoyed it more just reading it. Paul Boehmer is pretty good with character voices and dialog, but he sounds strangely stilted when reading the narrative sections.
Absolutely not! I LOVE Asimov's series' (especially Foundation), but the ending in The End of Eternity is complete all by itself.
Asimov just didn't know how to write anything bad. This isn't his best, but it is worth a listen.
I love a good time travel story, mostly to see what this author's take on the usual time travel paradoxes will be. Anyone who writes about agents changing history has to explain how they deal with things like the Grandfather Paradox, meeting earlier or later versions of yourself, and so on. There are a handful of well-known ways to deal with these issues (alternate timelines, a deterministic universe, special laws of temporal physics, etc.) and Asimov is rather inventive in using several of them at once.
The End of Eternity is brilliant in its construction of a civilization of time travelers and the history and technology that goes into their society and the way they meddle with time, but his protagonists are basically a bunch of whiny geeks who act like highly-educated monkeys fighting for the highest branch in the treehouse. Asimov's vision of a civilization that spans millions of years and thousands of realities doesn't include a single one where women become scientists and engineers and might join the Eternals' boys' club. The entire plot hinges on not one but two high-ranking Eternals who decide they are willing to throw all of reality into danger for the chance to get laid. I know this was written in the 1950s, but Asimov could have done better. It's like the idea of women as anything but sex objects to be coveted or to seduce men off the path of Righteous Scientific Objectivity just never occurred to him. So naturally when a girl shows up (the only female character in the entire book), she must spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E, and in this case, the end of Eternity.
I enjoyed the story, but Isaac Asimov has never been my favorite among the Grand Old Masters of science fiction; there is something just a little too cold and calculating in all of his stories. For the ideas and the plot twists, this is a fun book with a great premise, but don't expect Asimov to wow you with his nuanced grasp of human relationships. His characters are wire dummies to hang a story on.
I don't know if I can finish this book. The narrator's ability to very deliberately speak each word as if it stood on its own rather than in the flow of a sentence is maddening. Listen to a sample and see if its something you can stomach on your commute. Also when character's are being "emotional" we are treated to a particularly annoying whiny voice that has only one timbre.
Otherwise the book is decent, though I find the main character's motivation a little hyperbolic and rash without enough exploration by Asmiov as to why. It ends up feeling forced in order to push the dramatic plotline along.
This book hit home with me in imagining the limitless possibilities of the human race, while still keeping touch with the eternal presence of love in our condition. This is and shall remain one of my favorite books.
Excellent book. I just loved. Asimov shares with the reader new and complex scenarios. Just read it and if you get a bit lost, read again. you will be rewarded and thrilled.
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