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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I me mine
Gee, look at this another out of print and utterly awesome Robert Silverberg book, how the author himself can let all these great books of his go out of print is totally beyond me, sometimes I think that the chance that a book will stay in print is inversely proportional to how good it is (check out my comments on the Helliconia books by Aldiss for more of those...
Published on December 7, 1999 by Michael Battaglia

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's really about the Covenant
After thinking about it, I think Kinall is in fact the villain that his society makes him out to be. His behaviour is the image of the drug addict--he deludes himself, destroys his family and every single person who loves and tries to help him, engages in increasingly self-destructive acts, and goes out in a blaze of messianic self-glorification. I kept waiting for a...
Published on July 2, 2004


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I me mine, December 7, 1999
Gee, look at this another out of print and utterly awesome Robert Silverberg book, how the author himself can let all these great books of his go out of print is totally beyond me, sometimes I think that the chance that a book will stay in print is inversely proportional to how good it is (check out my comments on the Helliconia books by Aldiss for more of those rants). Needless to say this one was awarded either the Hugo or Nebula or both and it darn well deserved it (and I think there was some stiff competition that year). Unlike the shift at the time toward "hard science fiction" (Ringworld had just come out the year before and changed all the rules about scientific accuracy), Silverberg fills his novel more with ideas and feelings, using the medium to ultimately make comments that can apply to us and showing us the necessity to know yourself so you can know others. In a nutshell, the book details the story of a man named Kinnall who lives on a planet where selfhood is totally abolished, everyone talks in the third person ("one this and one that") and some talk totally in the passive voice and basically people close off to one another completely. Into this world comes an Earthman with a drug that can break down the barriers between people and let you enter into their minds and upon tasting it, Kinnall embarks on a quest to let his world know about love and knowing each other. The book is told in devastatingly searing prose, and Kinnall's observations are always poignant, you can feel his conviction for his cause and get a feel for the emotional barreness of a world where the words "I love you" are a total abomination. While not as intense as Dying Inside, this one further served to cement Silverberg's reputation as one of the best authors of the seventies. Probably one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time, if only for its complete examination of a society where self baring is a crime, it deserves to be read even today and its message taken to heart. If you don't know yourself, you can never know anyone else. Who says reading never teaches you anything important?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rebel against a restrictive society, but is it Sci Fi?, October 22, 2002
By 
Craig MACKINNON (Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
I have to concur with a fellow reviewer - there is very little here that is science fiction. However, the science fiction genre releases the novel from some restrictive bounds and allows Silverberg to fully develop his ideas. The story: a planet has been settled by what I call "Catholic Puritans" - religious fundamentalists that believe self-containment and self-effacement are the keys to a stable society. They retain the idea of confessional (called "draining") to allow some relief from the totality of self-reliance. Referring to oneself directly (i.e. use of the pronouns I, we, etc.) is a sin, as well as burdoning someone (other than a Drainer) with any personal problems.
Into this society is born Kinnall, a noble. He meets an Earthman (with no such cultural conditioning) who introduces to him a drug that allows, for a short time, the direct communication between minds. Kinnall comes to the realisation that to know someone is to truly love him, and sets out to spread his newfound knowledge with the fervor of a prophet, even though it is illegal.
The story, while interesting, is not the reason to read the book. It is a superbly crafted tale, told in the first person by Kinnall, so you come to be immersed in the culture and morals of the society. The background is so consistently maintained that you feel it is a real place (or, that it could be a real place) and philosophy.
This is not really so much a science fiction tale as a parallel tale (rebuttal?) to the sexual revolution of the late '60's. The technology is similar (for example, they have automobiles), although the government system is more autocratic. Instead of sex, however, it is friendship and brotherly love that are the revolutionary concepts. One could argue that such a revolution has not yet occurred on Earth, and we could certainly use it! This book is not meant to preach, but is an immersing experience that is both enjoyable and a little thought-provoking.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's really about the Covenant, July 2, 2004
By A Customer
After thinking about it, I think Kinall is in fact the villain that his society makes him out to be. His behaviour is the image of the drug addict--he deludes himself, destroys his family and every single person who loves and tries to help him, engages in increasingly self-destructive acts, and goes out in a blaze of messianic self-glorification. I kept waiting for a dramatic breakthrough, and I was thoroughly taken in. This is not a manifesto in favor of self. It's a satire on the pitiable drug culture that destroys people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and entertaining story highly recommended, August 28, 2012
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This review is from: A Time Of Changes (Berkley Book: Science Fiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
"A Time of Changes" by Robert Silverberg

The planet Borthan was settled thousands of years ago by religious exiles from Earth. One of the inhabitants, Kinnall, has a rebellious outlook towards his religion which teaches that the self is to be despised, and it forbids anyone from revealing his innermost thoughts or feelings to another. The catalyst for his sedition is a trader from Earth who introduces Kinnall to a drug that joins it's users into full awareness...and then the problems and conflicts commence. This is a thoughtful and entertaining story and is highly recommended.

The story was first published as a serial in Galaxy magazine March - June 1971. Its first book printing was a hardbound edition issued by the Science Fiction Book Club in 1971. There have been numerous paperback editions over the years the last being in 2009. It won the Nebula award for best novel in 1972.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best. More fantasy than SF, July 5, 2001
By 
"intertelecasteroverdrive" (Cleveland, OH United States) - See all my reviews
Not Silverberg's best. Set on an alien world inhabited by humans but their culture and technology is like that of Earth's middle ages. Therefore, the book is more like a fantasy or historical novel than SF. Told from the point of view of a political/sociological/religious rebel, it can get a tad preachy at times and the whole psychedelic drug thing seems a bit dated (the book was written in the late 60's or early 70's) though interesting nonetheless. If you're new to Silverberg check out "The World Inside" or "Downward to the Earth" before this one.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DRAMA IN FUTURISTIC SETTING, June 26, 2007
No action, no revolutionary technology... quite political/social actually.

Its all about Kinnall Darival and his journey from royalty to bureaucrat to dissident to fugitive.

Not a difficult book to read although the beginning was a little tedious.

Thought provoking piece.
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A Time Of Changes  (Berkley Book: Science Fiction)
A Time Of Changes (Berkley Book: Science Fiction) by Robert Silverberg (Mass Market Paperback - April 1, 1979)
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