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 was interesting. I'd never read Asimov before but I enjoy science fiction. Some of it was hard to follow - the "rules" of time travel, but what an imagination! I liked the character development and had empathy for the main characters. I did have to "rewind" frequently to fix in my mind what exactly was going on.
I have hundreds of books in my collection of Audiobooks, and this is possibly the worst read of them all. The narrator's voice sounds choppy and stilted. The reader's cadence and inflection at times sound like he had read the words individually into a computer then then strung them together.
The reading of this story has no life. It sounds like the voice one might hear reading a particularly dry textbook.
I read this book three or more decades ago and enjoyed it very much. But when I listened to it this week, I was surprised at how sad it now seemed: Asimov's view of the future was so far off (punch tape thousands of years in the future???) and his treatment of gender issues made the listening tough at times. The reader did not trouble me much though the obvious logical inconsistencies were hard to ignore (probably inevitable in any time-travel story).
It was an OK novel but far from Asimov's best as the teaser description calls it. The many breaches in logic, if there is a logic to time travel, took away from the story.
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