The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov

The End of Eternity

The End of Eternity

Summary

Andrew Harlan is an Eternal - one of the technicians who keep humanity's progress on the right track across the millenia, but who must live separate from the rest of humanity. Only, Harlan has fallen in love with a non-Eternal woman, and now he's prepared to break all of Eternity's rules.

Review

I’m very familiar with Isaac Asimov’s work. I’ve read all or most of his fiction at least once. Yet when my spouse asked me about this book, I didn’t recall it at all, except a vague memory of a book with Eternity in the title that I didn’t care for at all. I’m still not sure this was it, though looking back at some older covers, I think it may have been.

The End of Eternity gets off to a pretty rocky start, for an Asimov book. The context isn’t entirely clear, and it’s relatively hard to engage with the protagonist. It’s also a book written in 1955, and women get pretty short shrift, though there’s some handwaving to explain it.

It takes the book at least a quarter of its short length to settle in and get going. Even then, the protagonist’s motivation is explained in dribs and drabs. When it is, there’s a fair amount of ‘having’ a woman involved (1950s, again). I admit that I’m not a fan of time travel stories, but Asimov’s version does enough to paper over the inevitable cracks.

It’s only really in the book’s last 20 pages or so that it really takes off. That portion, at least, is Asimov worthy and interesting. About 65% of the rest, though, is only average, and the beginning 25% isn’t great. A fairly easy read with a good ending, but not Asimov’s best.

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