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The Big Time Paperback – January 1, 1972


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The Big Time + A Case of Conscience (Del Rey Impact)
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Ace Books; 3rd Printing edition (1972)
  • ASIN: B001QHENFE
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,955,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Well, you've simply to read the book to believe it.
Ventura Angelo
Leiber's penchant for word play is also evident, and the story is full of literary and historical allusions.
Elliot
Also, the Project Gutenberg version has illustrations, but the Kindle version doesn't.
Mec

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Hexanova on January 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As I march my way through all the Hugo & Nebula winners I came upon this book. The only other Lieber works I've read have been the very likable Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser series...a fantasy staple. The Big Time is definately an original piece of time travel fiction, yet there is actually no time travel involved in the book. The prose is light on narrative and very heavy on dialogue. I had little to work with in visualizing the surroundings (basically a large room) in which the characters interacted the entire time. Despite this, I did enjoy it for the most part; although once again I am left a little baffled by the ending (a la Babel-17 by Delany). As someone else pointed out (who I agree with) this book reads like a stage play, and could easily be turned into a strange, yet tense, psuedo-time travel suspense. It's a quick read. If you want to hit all the "classics" and can find a copy, go for it. If you're a casual sci-fi reader, I recommend you skip it.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Peter A. Greene VINE VOICE on August 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A book that deals with time travel in a way beyond anything I've seen before or since. Leiber sees time travel ability as a step in the development of the species, and puts that little philosophical gem into this tight little piece. Not quite a novel (it really does read like a stage play) this actually ends up as a bit of a whodunnit.
Characters put the next stage of human development in the context of ordinary human foibles and frailties, and as always Leiber is able to slip in some big ideas without adding slack to the plot. Lord knows there are lots of authors who could have ladeled on a hundred more pages of lard.
Yes, if your idea of a time travel story is one more adventure of Biff Beefwhacker battling it out with ancient giant ratbeasts, then this will disappoint. If you think the time travel episodes of Star Trek make perfect sense, this will probably hurt your head. But if you want a tightly written, thoughtful, taut, tense, small scale adventure with large scale ideas underneath, this is your book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Elliot on February 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Fritz Leiber wrote a number of short science fiction stories about the "Change War," but this was his only novel on that theme. It won the Hugo Award for Best SF novel of 1958.

In the Change War stories, two enemies, called "The Spiders" and "The Snakes," are engaged in a vast war, which has been going on for a billion years and may go on for another billion, with battles throughout the universe. The battles are fought, in part, by going back (or forward) in time, to change the outcome of a historic event and therefore warp the path of history so as to lead to the eventual victory of one side or the other. Soldiers recruited for the fight can be Roman gladiators, 15th century Hussars, Nazi soldiers, or even extraterrestials.

Although the scope of the Change War takes in all of space and time, Leiber daringly wrote this as a very short novel (probably only about 100 pages or so in printed text) and set it in a single room over the course of only a few hours, with characters entering and exiting as if in a play. Despite the short length and limited physical and temporal scope of the novel, the plot takes any number of twists and turns, and the story deals with complex themes of fate, loyalty, war and peace, and existentialism. No one knows what the "Spiders" and "Snakes" really are, or what the war is actually about; history has been changed so many times by the warring factions that no one can be sure what reality is any more. Thus, the book is both an exciting piece of science fiction and a genuinely profound meditation on the human condition. Leiber's penchant for word play is also evident, and the story is full of literary and historical allusions. A short read, but very rewarding.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Human on March 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It looks like every respectful science fiction writer at one point or another wrote a book on time travel. This one is by far the most original one I have read. The novel is short(about 135 pages) and it is written like a play. There is a war going on between the Spiders and Snakes and they use humans to fight it. So they take all these dead people from different time periods, ressurrect them and send them to war. Why it is fought, for what reasons, the answers are there. But to understand them, people look at themselves and the way the human society is developing. The book is very slow paced, however it is short, so the reader should not have any problems getting through it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I first came across The Big Time as an inclusion in the compilation book Ship Of Shadows, a hard to get library copy. That was in early 1998, and I was delighted to be able to purchase the recently republished story by itself.
Like all of Fritz Leiber's work the writing is supremely articulate and the story telling carefully, and craftily constructed, holding the reader from start to finish.
The main character twenty-nine and party girl Greta Forzane, takes us through events sited in an R&R centre for battling time travellers who find themselves becalmed on The Big Time along with a counting down Atomic bomb. A book which will need careful reading to get the whole picture, but well worth it; and for that great Gertrude Steinism: 'you can't time travel through the time you time travel in when you time travel.'
For the price I would have liked to to get a dust cover. But whatever, writng this good is worth the shortfall in packaging.
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