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Time and Again [Kindle Edition]

Clifford D. Simak
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Asher Sutton has a book in his hands - a book that would change the history of the galaxy, a book by himself...that he had never written.

Or had he?

Or would he?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 626 KB
  • Print Length: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway (21 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #189,451 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True classic SF 24 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is an old friend, I used to own a copy that I bought from a library but over the years and many moves it got lost along the way - so very pleased to find it on Kindle.

A hard story to describe, even harder without spoiling.

Set in a future where humans have a wide empire but are relatively few in number there is a war in time brewing over a book written by Asher Sutton. But Asher Sutton hasn't written the book yet and has only just mysteriously returned after a 20 year mission to the one part of space where humanity has not been able to visit. All sorts of groups want to stop the book, influence the book or simply ensure it gets written. And what could be the subject of a book that could trigger a war?

It's an ideas book but with plenty of action & a dash of romance - Simak's not Sutton's that is.

It was one of his earliest books, written in 1951 but for my money it stands the test of time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 15 Sept. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
He is one of the best SF writers. His imagination is awesome
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gem That You Won't Forget 4 May 2000
By stigmata - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is the future and Mankind has spread to the stars like seeds before the wind. One star system, though, shrouded in mystery, has defied Man's every attempt to visit it. Every expedition to 61 Cygni has found its path inexplicably deflected and has been forced to return home in frustration. In desperation, special agent Asher Sutton was sent on a solo mission, but unlike the others he did not return and 61 Cygni was quietly forgotten.
As the book begins, twenty years have passed and, against all odds, Asher Sutton has returned. The mystery only deepens when it is discovered that Asher's ship was damaged many years ago in a crash that left it completely disabled and ought to have killed its sole passenger. The conclusion becomes inescapable; Asher Sutton died but now he's back. As the story develops, we discover Asher is not alone and it's not clear that he's even entirely human. But most importantly, Asher returns bearing an idea that will shake Mankind's beliefs to their foundations.
In Time and Again, Mankind is spread thin across the stars and to help hold the frontier he has created biological androids. Created in the lab by chemical means, androids are sterile and cannot reproduce but in all other respects are as human as their creators. None the less, androids are treated as property and bear a mark on their foreheads to distinguish them from "true" humans.
Androids dream of one day being acknowledged and treated as the equals of the "humans" and Asher's idea is the key for which they have been searching. Asher soon becomes the center of a struggle between three groups; humans of the present who fear any new idea that might loosen Mankind's tenuous grip on the stars, humans of the future who, via time travel, are waging a quiet war to alter the past to maintain the current status quo, and the androids of the future who struggle to let Asher's idea be born.
Simak weaves these disparate elements into a delicious story. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true sci-fi classic winner! 23 May 2005
By Paul Weiss - Published on
Time and Again opens in a distant future on earth that includes androids, robots, interactive television, weather control, mentophones - an ingenious device that allows instantaneous interstellar communication, dramatically extended life spans, travel to distant star systems and a humanity that has conquered the galaxy and spread its seed far and wide. After a 20 year absence, Asher Sutton returns to earth from an expedition to 61 Cygni, a system that until now has defeated every attempt at landing and exploration. In the attempt, Sutton has miraculously survived a crash that left his ship disabled and, by all odds, should have killed him. His ship has somehow managed to return to earth apparently without the actual ability to do so and Sutton, through some extraordinary feat of bio-medical engineering, appears to have been modified into something that is considerably less than completely human. He is mentally linked to someone he refers to as "Johnny". The administration on earth wonder what all of this can possibly mean.

On the surface, Time and Again is a thrilling story of time travel. Sutton is carrying a book which he has not yet actually written - a summary of his philosphies that, in a not too distant future, will result in the achievement of the dreams of the Android Equality League, their right to be recognized as sentient beings and a release from their treatment as mere property. But, before the book can even be actually written, Sutton must survive assassination attempts by revisionists - humans from the future who are using time travel as the means to prevent its publication.

Simak's personal credo that reflects his quiet midwest upbringing, his pastoral approach to the science fiction genre and his concerns about humanity and its use of technology as a means to violent conflict are never very far from the surface. Indeed, they rather shine through the writing like a beacon. But, make no mistake - Simak never falls into the trap of preaching. The clear social commentary is never intrusive and never detracts for even an instant from an exciting story line.

In Time and Again, Simak was openly critical of humanity's impression of its own importance in the universe - "Not by strength did he hold his starry outposts, but by something else ... by depth of human character, by his colossal conceit, by his ferocious conviction that Man was the greatest living thing the galaxy had ever spawned. All this in spite of much evidence that he was not ... evidence that he took and evaluated and cast aside, scornful of any greatness that was not ruthless and aggressive".

He also used comedy as a vehicle to make a dark statement against weapons. He jests about "the code" having been changed to require everyone under age 100 to bear arms as a way of passing comment on his feelings against the US's unique constitutional amendment regarding the "right" to bear arms. His philosophical argument against Sutton's attempted use of the Christian commandment "Thou shalt not kill" as an exemption from the code is perhaps a little blunt but does serve to point out some of the ironies involved in, for example, a right wing Bible Belt fundamentalist Christian packin' an iron.

Finally, his creation of the Android Equality League represents an ingenious platform from which Simak can express his concerns about the ethical issues related to the problems of advanced artificial intelligence and voice his courageous, clear condemnation of the white's treatment of black people in the 1960s US and his support of the civil rights movement.

In Time and Again, Simak has created a story that many have suggested is his finest work. I was excited with the turn of every page and found I couldn't disagree with them!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly good read - out "Heinleins" Heinlein! 28 Feb. 1997
By A Customer - Published on
This book is really about religion and time. About the power
of religion and about the cost one can pay for the knowing
the truth. The book deals with the personal sacrifice,
loneliness and betrayal that important historical
figures, past, present and future, often endure. Asher Sutton is
the ultimate imperfect, reluctant hero.

Those of you who love Heinlein will undoubtedly enjoy
this book - I couldn't recommend it any more thoroughly.
I read City (Simak's most acclaimed book) and thought
that "Time and Again" was easily a superior work
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthwhile Tale 5 Mar. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's been nearly forty years since I first read Simak's "Time And Again" but I still remember it very clearly as I read it several times. It just blew me away! I was fifteen years old and in the hospital. It was 1963 and the civil rights movement was in full bloom. Whether or not Simak intended to create a story to parallel the issues of the civil rights movement, I do not know, but a thoughtful reading of the story certainly suggests them.
This is a book to read and think about beyond its riveting plot and subplots. The principal questions raised by the book are "Who has the right to be human?" and "What is humanity?"
Simak's story is still fresh and relevant after all this time and I would love to see it reissued so that I can buy another copy and read it again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The nostalgia deep within us for a lost idyllic past in which we were one with Nature 7 Mar. 2015
By James Kenney - Published on
This is one of Simak's great novels (the other is Time is the Simplest Thing.) If you like science fiction, you owe it to yourself to buy this. While on the surface, it is a thrilling time-travel conundrum, in its depths it is a profound meditation on the nature of life and the mystery of who we are. One of Simak's greatest talents is his ability to describe Nature, and the nostalgia deep within us for a lost idyllic past in which we were one with Nature, rather than being Nature's opponent. Despite Yogi Berra's claim that "Nostalgia just ain't what it used to be", there is a certain haunting satisfaction about the feeling nostalgia evokes, that this novel captures beautifully. I re-read this book probably once a year. My copy is falling apart from so much use, but I cling to it like a baby clinging to its blankie.
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