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)
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.
We really like the book, not the reader. He was far too flat an emotionless. Just doesn't sound like the Asimov I've heard in my heard for years; almost the opposite.
I have great affection and respect for Asimov but this story shows it's 1955 date in culture more than in technology. Thousands of years on, the essential conflict is men fighting each other for power and over women. The lone woman is a temptress and in fact there is a Garden of Eden theme that is pretty heavily stressed. The concepts of time in the book are interesting, and whether changing the past or future removes free will is a central question. The narrator was awfully SLOOOW. I tried to speed up the audio but on my player that gave it an echo, so I just stuck with it.
Recent graduate New York Institute of Photography. Love SciFi and mystery.
Having read the book in high school (and I still have it), I absolutely love it and still do. It is a great story about the possibilities of time travel, both good and bad.
The relationship of the various lead characters.
Time for anything . . . or nothing
Among the best of Isaac Asimov's novels. Certainly ahead of it's time. The characters are engaging. The story is imaginative and plausible. Better than the average Sic-Fi novel, and this novel has aged very well, which cannot be said of very many Sci-Fi novels from this era.
I read this book more than thirty years ago, I was immediately engrossed again. But, if temporal paradoxes are not your thing you better stay away. The narrator grew into the story. His style of careful pronunciation annoyed me at first and throughout the book he makes mistakes with intonation. But his hateful Finge, his driven Twissel and his lovely Noies will stay with me for the next thirty years.
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