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The End of Eternity (Gollancz SF Library) Paperback – July 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews


'One of the most staggering achievements in modern SF' The Times on the Foundation Books 'Monumentally good ideas... fascinating' Damon Knight 'Asimov displayed one of the most dynamic imaginations in science fiction' Daily Telegraph 'Asimov's career was one of the most formidable in science fiction' The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was born in Russia and taken to America in 1923, becoming an American citizen in 1928. He took a degree in chemistry from Columbia University in 1939, and took his MA in 1941 and his PhD in 1948, after spending the war years in the Naval Air Experimental Station. He joined the Boston University School of Medicine in 1949, becoming associate professor of biochemistry. He is best known for the Robot and Foundation sequences.

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Product Details

  • Series: Gollancz SF Library
  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575071184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575071186
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,124,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 134 people found the following review helpful By David Rasquinha on April 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
The fame of Asimov's Foundation and Robot series has tended to steal the limelight from some of his other masterpieces, chief among them, The End of Eternity, a book that is hard to find. In this book, Asimov consciously set out to explore the limits of the classic paradox of time travel that has bedeviled so many works of science fiction. As a result, this is a "bare bones" novel; no robots or empires or any other such distractions. Its strength lies in imagination. Asimov looks at our world as it has evolved, and then introduces the organization called Eternity, whose mission is to protect humanity from its own mistakes, by making deft changes in key events over time (past and future). Along the way, he has fun making digs at the unchanging fundamentals of human nature (competition, drive, love) amid centuries of changing social mores. At the heart of the book is the love story of Andrew Harlan and Noyes Lambent, but this tale is just a framework for Asimov to build on. In the final analysis, Asimov is making the point that just as a child learns to walk by repeated falls, humanity's ultimate characteristic is the Schumpeterian desire and ability to innovate through risks. If we are protected from ever making mistakes, we may avoid tragedies, but the human race itself will vegetate and die. As with many of his earlier works, the dialog can be jarring and characters often one-dimensional. For all that however, The End of Eternity ranks among Asimov's finest in the field of science fiction and makes it all the more strange why this book is so difficult to find. Do take the time to lay your hands on it; you will not be disappointed.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on December 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This was the Good Doctor's response to Heinlein's seminal 'By His Bootstraps': a time travel novel that adds more to the mix than just man-goes-back-to-meet-his-grandfather.
Asimov envisions a society that has tasked itself with improving the lot of mankind by introducing carefully calculated changes in the time flow, a society of 'Eternals' that live outside of the normal time stream in their own environment constructed with full living habitats in each century, all powered by a thin line to the far future when our sun goes nova. It is a caste society, with each individual rigidly relegated to the status and job they are deemed best suited for, from Maintenance to Computer to Technician. The individuals are recruited from the normal time flow, as the Eternals, by their own rules, are forbidden to have children.
Andrew Harlan is one such recruit, who is quickly tabbed as having the emotional makeup and intellectual skills to be a Technician, one of those who actually implement changes in 'normal' time. Somewhat naive, a little bit of an aesthetic who is somewhat bothered by hedonistic societies that he is sometimes required to observe or change, he finds himself in a quandary when he falls in love with a lady from such a society. Determined to have her, he decides on actions that he knows might bring about the end of Eternity, for he has determined a great secret, just how Eternity was started in the first place.
Asimov unravels the mysteries and paradoxes of this situation in his usual inimitable style, carefully laying down the parameters of the problem, leaving clues lying about here and there (which Harlan, obsessed as he is, blithely ignores), all leading to a grand climax that gives new perspective to the traditional time paradox problem.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Here's an out of print book that no fan of science fiction should miss. It may be hard to find, but it's one of those REALLY worth the effort.
This is the story of an institution called Eternity, which exists "out of time". Eternity takes care of shipping goods from one point in time to another, but, more importantly, "takes care" of history, as well. The people behind this institution are Observers (who collect data in different time periods), Computers (who analyze the data and determine reality changes), Technicians (who carry out computers orders to change reality), among others, all organized in a caste society. The story in this universe evolves exploring the implications of this social structure, the implications of changing history and also the effect that the actions of one individual can have on the whole system.
A Technician, Andrew Harlan, falls in love with a certain woman while carrying out an assignment in a time that's not his own. As members of Eternity, Technicians and other Eternals, live "out of time", protected from the changes in history they effect. The relationship between these two people breaks Eternity's rules and what ensues can threaten its existence. So, there is a romantic component to the story, which makes the characters more palpably human and draws you in, tugging you along by your heart. However, the story goes much deeper than that and only as you turn more and more pages, the fact that this is an extremely well thought out book will become more evident.
Asimov leaves ample room for your own philosophical exercises at the same time as he helps you not get tangled up in knots around paradoxes.
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