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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece and a love story!
If you, like me, are interested in the many paradoxes of time travel, then this book will stimulate your imagination to the full. In one of the few books that has ever prompted me to immediately re-read it, Asimov explores a world in which selected individuals are "extracted" from the normal flow of time and, in a "Foundation"-like way attempt to run back and forth in...
Published on 15 July 2005 by 

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Every year is 1984
With time travel, every year can be 1984...

As ever with Asimov the theme of humanity versus technology is strong, but the issue of personal love is also important to the plot and it's not a subject where Asimov is comfortable as a writer.

But he does tackle the issue of time travel versus space travel, in which time travel enables the whole of human...
Published on 2 Jan 2009 by Patrick Neylan


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece and a love story!, 15 July 2005
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This review is from: The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction) (Paperback)
If you, like me, are interested in the many paradoxes of time travel, then this book will stimulate your imagination to the full. In one of the few books that has ever prompted me to immediately re-read it, Asimov explores a world in which selected individuals are "extracted" from the normal flow of time and, in a "Foundation"-like way attempt to run back and forth in history to change its course. The world they live in is called "Eternity", hence the title of the book.

But who invented this method of travelling between the material world and Eternity? Or did it invent itself? In a masterpiece of story telling which surely ranks at the pinnacle of Asimov's achievements, our independent-minded hero Harlan runs this idea to its devastating conclusion. You are left guessing right to the very last page, and indeed after it as you try to fathom the paradoxes it raises.

If you read no other Asimov novel, read this one! If you enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife then read this!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 7 Feb 2003
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If you, like me, are interested in the many paradoxes of time travel, then this book will stimulate your imagination to the full. In one of the few books that has ever prompted me to immediately re-read it, Asimov explores a world in which selected individuals are "extracted" from the normal flow of time and, in a "Foundation"-like way attempt to run back and forth in history to change its course. The world they live in is called "Eternity", hence the title of the book.
But who invented this method of travelling between the material world and Eternity? Or did it invent itself? In a masterpiece of story telling which surely ranks at the pinnacle of Asimov's achievements, our independent-minded hero Harlan runs this idea to its devastating conclusion. You are left guessing right to the very last page, and indeed after it as you try to fathom the paradoxes it raises.
If you read no other Asimov novel, read this one!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, challenging and imaginative, 30 Sep 2002
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This review is from: The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction) (Paperback)
'The End of Eternity' is one of my favourite books, so maybe I'm biased; but it is, nevertheless, one of the most intelligent and subtle works of science fiction ever written.
Asimov takes a potentially dry and trite scenario- a company of strangely dedicated pseudo-gods, striving through and outside of time to change the human race's 'destiny'- and breathes into it an invaluable streak of humanity. The characters are believable; and their woes and travails, though far outside the realms of our own experience, are understandable. This is a story that, despite being set in a reality that is strange and sometimes unfathomable, still manages to unfold more like a human drama than anything else.
Asimov reserves the final twist in the story's many convolutions right till the end; when it arrives (at the end of a surprisingly short book), it is a heart-warming surprise. This book may have many morals and many messages, but the one that seems to endure is this: no matter what we accomplish or what we do, we will always be humans, and we will always be able to love.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid time travel novel - recommended, 16 July 2003
By 
W. Robinson "Big Bill Robinson" (Slough, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction) (Paperback)
Time travel is, of course, a popular theme in SF, and Asimov shows himself to be an SF grandmaster in this excellent and compelling novel.
Andrew Harlan is an Eternal - one of a small band of humans who live "outside time" and can travel to any part of time, from the moment the technique was invented, to billions of years in the future. They have the power to make subtle changes to history so as to avoid undesirable or even catastrophic events. Billions of "Timers" (ordinary people subject to normal time) can be affected without even knowing it.
Unfortunately the awesome power wielded by the Eternals comes at a price, namely, they must be entirely dispassionate regarding the changes they make to history. Alas, when Andrew Harlan falls in love with a woman, destined not to exist in an alternative history, he will do literally anything to keep her, even if it means the destruction of Eternity itself....
This is a highly-readable and thoroughly-enjoyable SF novel from one of the true SF "greats". Top notch.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Where does Eternity End?, 28 Dec 2003
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction) (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. The idea of time 'inertia', where the effect of changes that are introduced to the time line slowly die out, is an interesting one, and is carefully folded into the plot line. Though other books envisioned a corps of people who manage time, the society shown here is better fleshed out than just about all previous attempts, not to be surpassed until Fritz Leiber's The Big Time. And possibly there would not be another better worked out 'solution' to the basic riddle of the time paradox until Heinlein's 'All You Zombies...' appeared. As an intellectual exercise, then, this book is excellent.
But as is also typical for Asimov, his characterization is somewhat weak, although he does a better job here than in some of his other works. Harlan is too one-dimensional, too driven, a little too arrogant about his own abilities, to be totally believable. Noys, his ladylove, is almost a nonentity, although she will become one of the lynch-pins of the final resolution. And Computer administrator Twissell is very close to a stereotype. Still, the characters are adequate to move the plot, and as this is an idea driven novel, not one of character, this failing is not fatal to the enjoyment of the book.
This is one of the very few Asimov novels that is not part of his Foundation or Robot sets. Read it, if for no other reason, to see just what he could do outside of those confines.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 7 Feb 2003
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If you, like me, are interested in the many paradoxes of time travel, then this book will stimulate your imagination to the full. In one of the few books that has ever prompted me to immediately re-read it, Asimov explores a world in which selected individuals are "extracted" from the normal flow of time and, in a "Foundation"-like way attempt to run back and forth in history to change its course. The world they live in is called "Eternity", hence the title of the book.
But who invented this method of travelling between the material world and Eternity? Or did it invent itself? In a masterpiece of story telling which surely ranks at the pinnacle of Asimov's achievements, our independent-minded hero Harlan runs this idea to its devastating conclusion. You are left guessing right to the very last page, and indeed after it as you try to fathom the paradoxes it raises.
If you read no other Asimov novel, read this one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Any Time, Anywhen, 4 Dec 2002
By 
R. J. Hole (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction) (Paperback)
I read this because The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction said it "...is a complex story of time travel and time paradoxes, considered by some critics to be his best work." I thought I probably didn't like Asimov too much but I thought I better read his best work before I wrote him off!
It was so long since I read the Foundation series that I could't remember much of it but I thought this novel was probably much better. I enjoyed it from the start to the finish, although I wouldn't go as far as saying that I couldn't put it down - I don't think Asimov's books really have that trait.
I like time travel stories and this is quite a good example. The 'hero' is a member of 'Eternity' able to travel to 'anywhen' past the 23rd century to the very far future, i.e. when our sun goes nova. The time-scales involved immediately impressed me when on the first page "...he was moving upwhen to the 2456th Century." However, most of the action takes place inside eternity so we don't find out much about what the earth is like in future centuries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Until the next Reality Change..., 3 Aug 2008
By 
K. Mansfield (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction) (Paperback)
I first read Asimov's time-based novella in my late teens. I'd re-read the Foundation trilogy (none of the later add-ons thank goodness) several times and was looking for something new from such a great sci-fi master. The story didn't disappoint.

Over the years, the ideas behind The End of Eternity have stayed firmly imprinted in my mind - it was a slow burner, but I came to understand what a visionary work of genius it was. Recently I re-read the book and found myself awed by the brilliant simplicity of the idea behind it, and the fabulous architecture of the story.

The book is perhaps an attack on utilitarianism (the greatest happiness for the greatest number), claiming that, to be our very best, humans must have room to breathe, spread out and create. The discussion of the need for or dreadful waste of resources that space exploration represents is as important and relevant now as it was in 1955 when first published.

The main protagonist, Andrew Harlan, is a very special member of the human society known as Eternity. He's a technician, responsible for tweaking history here and there to constantly improve humanity's lot. Depending on your point of view, it's his own human frailties that either jeopardize his hard work or threaten to put a stop to this meddling with time.

The imagination is five star as is the plot construction. The quality of the actual writing doesn't reach those dizzy heights and is clunky at times, but it's well worth persevering with to leave you with a memory that will last for ever, or at least until the next reality change...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Every year is 1984, 2 Jan 2009
By 
Patrick Neylan "Patrick Neylan" (Orpington, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction) (Paperback)
With time travel, every year can be 1984...

As ever with Asimov the theme of humanity versus technology is strong, but the issue of personal love is also important to the plot and it's not a subject where Asimov is comfortable as a writer.

But he does tackle the issue of time travel versus space travel, in which time travel enables the whole of human history to be policed and controlled by a benevolent elite - the biggest Big Brother imaginable. In so doing Asimov writes an almost political novel about how too much central planning - even where it is benevolently patriarchal rather than totalitarian - dooms mankind by killing initiative and ultimately the human spirit.

This is where the novel scores highly, in tackling the paradoxes of time travel and making plausible something that is illogical and (surely) impossible. Making this believable for an entire novel is quite an achievement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Asimev, 6 Nov 2014
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This review is from: The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction) (Paperback)
Like all the best books, The End of Eternity can sometimes be hard to find. Written back in 1955, it differed from SF books written back then and still stands out today. I still don't understand why it was never embraced by Hollywood. The Russians tried to make a movie based on it in 1987 (`Konets vechnosti') but they made a mess of it.

The story feels real, mainly because of its simplicity and deeply developed characters, all with human frailties. Asimov's imagination was still exceptional and the reader has no difficulty in entering into the blissful state of `willing suspension of disbelief'.

I put it into the same gem category as `Solaris', `The Day of the Triffids' and `Roadside Picnic'. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favour and get a copy as one cannot fully appreciate Asimov without reading The End of Eternity.
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The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction)
The End of Eternity (Panther Science Fiction) by Isaac Asimov (Paperback - 4 Dec 2000)
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