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on 24 July 2013
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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on 4 August 2003
On the surface this – one of Simak’s better novels – is a complex and intricate tale of time-travel and paradox. Simak is very much a pastoral writer, in that his SF is often set against a backdrop of solid American rural values, and though he never preaches, his writing nevertheless extols the virtues of tolerance and pacifism.
Six thousand years in the future Earth is at the centre of an interstellar Empire, clinging to control of the galaxy with the help of androids who are only differentiated from true humans by their inability to reproduce and the tattoos on their foreheads. Asher Sutton, a reconnaissance agent, has been missing for the last twenty years after being sent to 61 Cygni to assess an alien planet which may or may not pose a threat to the stability of Human Culture.
Sutton’s boss, Adams, receives a visit from a mysterious stranger claiming to be from the future, who predicts Sutton’s imminent return and tells Adams that Sutton must be killed to prevent him from writing a book which will plunge the Human worlds into war.
Sutton’s not-yet-written book is a Bible which explains our relationship with these creatures, a philosophy which could destabilise Human control of the galaxy, since it espouses equality of all life, including androids.
The book itself, copies of which Sutton discovers before he has even begun to write it, is the reason why various factions, including the androids and groups from other periods in time are eager to either kill Sutton or use him and his ‘revised’ book for their own devices.
Like most Simak novels, it’s an affirmation of the basic goodness of human nature and a very ‘cosy’ novel.
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on 24 January 2016
I am a fan of Simak but this for me is not one of his better novels. Halfway through it gets bogged down in philosophy and the nature of this mysterious all-powerful "destiny" we each carry within us is not properly explained. Also I feel the term "destiny" is neither appropriate or descriptive. And the ending was no ending at all.
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VINE VOICEon 17 May 2012
I first read 'Time and Again' over thirty years ago, and this was one of my favourite SF novels. Revisiting it, it is still a great read but now some of the faults, including the use of coincidence in places, seem more obvious and although extremely creatively plotted it does require a good deal of imagination. The plotting is complex with characters travelling through time and quite fast moving, so the reader neeed to pay attention.
One great reason for rating the novel as a classic is the number of themes that has been developed in other later perhaps more celebrated works in the genre, such as 2001 and Blade Runner. In fact it is incredible that this was written over 60 years ago, and has aged very well. When it comes to some of the great ideas and themes in SF, Clifford Simak often got there first.
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on 22 June 2015
There is something so reassuringly confident about the way that Simak writes that you get drawn into this book and you immediately forget that it was written in the 50s. Science has moved on and some of the ideas that are central to the plot now seem creaky, but the central theme of the story is at once so large and intimate and the themes so well deployed that you just get carried along with the story. it reminded me of Alfred Bester with the sheer verve , energy and humanity of the story telling.
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on 7 August 2009
I have read several of Simak's SF books, and I must say, he writes very crisp and entertaining stuff. This book, amazingly, was written in 1951, and it has dated very well. It is ahead of its time.
This book starts really well. The hero of our tale, Asher Sutton, has been sent to investigate an extraterrestrial civilization. That was 20 years ago, and he has never returned. Out of the blue, the boss of the investigation unit receives a message, telling him that Sutton is about to return - and that he must be killed on arrival!!
And Sutton does return - flying a spaceship utterly incapable of flight, with broken portholes, burnt-out engines, and no food or water on board. How has he done it? Is he even human? Did he meet aliens? Who was the man who said he would return, and how did he know? Will Sutton be killed? If so, by whom?
It's a great plot for an SF novel. Unfortunately I feel that at some point in the book, maybe halfway through, the plot simply gets too complicated, and suffers as a result. Also, the ending, which I will not reveal here obviously, is not very satisfying in my opinion.
All in all, a very good read, but towards the end, it's a bit difficult to get your head around all the happenings and what they mean.
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on 24 May 2010
This was one of the books that got me into SF back in my teens; I haven't picked it up for years, but can still recall it vividly. Exciting and intriguing, with lots of quasi-mystical philosophising which appealed to me particualrly at the time, and one of those plots with an embattled hero whom everyone seems to have it in for. A classic of the genre in my humble opinion.
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on 15 September 2014
He is one of the best SF writers. His imagination is awesome
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