Saturday 1 September 2012

The End of Eternity - Isaac Asimov

Title: The End of Eternity
Author: Isaac Asimov
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 1955
Formats: Hardback/Paperback

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

"The End of Eternity" is actually the first Isaac Asimov novel I have ever read, I actually find this quite embarrassing as someone who likes to imply he is a big science fiction fan. However, I have just never gotten around to reading any of his books before and I therefore appreciated the chance to remedy this by taking part in the Sci-Fi Reader Challenge and using one of his novels to meet one of the requirements.

The story follows the exploits of Andrew Harlan, a member of a group of people who live outside of time known as the Eternals. This group of people observe and create reality changes across time to try and positively affect the future of humanity. Only two areas of time are unaffected by them, the age prior to the invention of time travel and the far flung future.

Harlan is a great at identifying the most efficient changes in time to affect reality and is persuaded to become one of the people who goes out and carries out the changes. However, during a trip into the 482nd century he meets a beautiful woman who he begins to fall in love with. Then when he finds out that a reality change may occur he decides to break numerous laws in an attempt to rescue her from possibly vanishing from existence. Of course, things don't go as expected and very soon his actions begin to threaten all of reality.

The main thing I observed about this book is that it is a superbly constructed hard science fiction novel that takes an interesting look at time travel and the type of society that could be built up around it. However, this book is more than just exploring the intricacies of time travel, it also utilises a clever plot full of twists and intrigue to keep most people entertained even if they aren't the biggest fans of hard science fiction.

A weak point within the novel though was probably in regards to the characters. In Eternity itself for example, whilst it was an interesting place with its own unique form of jargon and structure, the people within it seemed very bland. Beyond Harlan himself, most of them just seemed interested in doing their job and that was it. Even Harlan's development was quite limited with the reader knowing little about him beyond his job and the fact he has an interest in pre-Eternity history.

Overall, this was an intriguing and enjoyable read about time and reality that incorporates some interesting world building with a well paced and suspenseful plot. The characters themselves are not the best developed I have seen but they are used expertly to progress the story and highlight various elements of the society. I think any fans of hard Science Fiction and time travel in particular should pick this novel up as I am sure they will enjoy it. For myself, I now look forward to reading other Asimov novels and wonder at times why it has taken me so long to read one.


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