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)
Even if you have no love for sci-fi, even if you don't pay attention to the science aspect of this book, this is a great story. A story about what true love can do to a man and the lengths he will go to save his woman, no matter the cost.
I personally love the sci-fi part of the story but that's only the back drop for a fantastically complex tale that is hard to imagine one could actually piece together as a writer unless you were a genius, (which Asimov was as he was a member of Mensa).
The story starts our rather abruptly but picks up speed quickly. If you feel something isn't clear, it'll be explained later and by the end it will all be clear. That is part of Asimov's gift. He can take a very complex concept and over time, through the telling of a story make it real and apparent to the reader without any confusion. Even if you have a slight bit of confusion going through the book, it won't matter, you'll get it.
This is a fantastic love story, ultimately, with (spoiler), a happy ending. Very surprising, but happy.
I would have made the main character less robotic. He was a human and the narrator's accent and tone made him a snobby robotic unlikable character.
Move on to a totally different book and narrator.
I love Asimov (30 yrs!) But won't get anymore audiobooks on Asimov from Audible
I really like wonderfully technical science fiction, BUT I LOVE science fiction that uses the science and human nature to point out the joys of being human, AND the natural flaws in human societies (and worst of all, the bureaucratic mentality).
This story exhibits a human bureaucracy that has built up over centuries of "physio-time" with its high-minded and honorable purpose intact, at least as a facade they hold up for the benefit of other "Eternals" and the "All-when Counsel." It is said that "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions" well, the establishment and the government of "Eternity" was intended to adjust mankind away from war, poverty, and danger so that mankind would be at peace, happy, and healthy.
But, the story slowly reveals the inherent flaws in bureaucratic nature and governmental intention. It does so, up to and including the ultimate flaw: that the pursuit of Safety always leads to stagnation and corruption; and always deprives mankind of the accomplishment of great things.
A great Asimov story with a great premise. This book puts forth a time travel / time disruption theory that Asimov touches somewhat in his Foundation series. That being that most small changes in time are eventually corrected by the sheer momentum of the progression of time. So time tends to negate the effect any changes made upstream in the down stream time line. In this story then are the group of men known as the 'eternals' - obsessed with making changes that will actually alter the course of time over the long haul - supposedly for the good of all mankind. But is it really good for mankind? fun story. Narration is sometimes very over-dramatized (which is a little distracting). BUt still a great quick read/listen.
Here is another great book by Isaac Asimov. Here we meet the 'Eternals' that decide what should and should not happen in Eternity. We meet a young 'Technician' that learns there is more to living in his Eternal world with only men in it. He also learns that all is not as it seems and through a simple act all of Eternity can be undone. For anyone thinking that time travel will solve all our problems this book will explain why that is false. We also learn why a George Orwell society with ultimately fail and must fail.
I really wanted to get into this story, but the ...random... pauses in... the reading made it unbearable. This narrarator should never do science fiction; it felt like he didnt even understand what he was reading half the time. I'm not the first reviewer to notice this flaw.
I'm usually very skeptical of narrarator critiques; it seems every book has some reviewer complaining about the performance. But in this case, I should have believed the past reviewers who made this very specific complaint.
I would recommend this to everyone who likes to think. the charaters were believable and that helped to transport you into the story
I could compare this work to I,Robot. also by Asimov or 1984 by Orwell (although not be that name) in that someone is making choices for the rest of humanity --for their own good. You could also read some of these concepts in Mein Kamf by Hitler.
Harlin--although I almost always indetify with the hero
When it became apparent that Harlin was making the decision to act on his own, and try to think for himself. When he took her to the far upwhen.
My first Asimov novel...a time travel tome with a twist at the end. I think I'll do another one.
I'm guessing if you're thinking about this book it's because you've read other Asimov books and liked them. Time travel can be a confusing subject, so Asimov approaches this book a little differently than most and asks some off-the-beaten-path questions. Look at what might happen over a 100,000 years...
Yes, mostly because of the narrator's voice and him doing an excellent job of conveying the emotions of each character in the book.
Any of Asimov's books. I've not read any Asimov in years, but listening to this one brought me right back and recalled all the other books he has written.
I have not heard him read before, but found his reading of this book well done!
Yes, it sure was. I actually listen to books while I commute and even when my drive was done each day I didn't want to stop the audio but keep listening!
Great prelude to the Foundation books, and another one of his books which falls beautifully in line with his Robot and Galactic Empire books.
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