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The End of Eternity (1955)

by Isaac Asimov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,070743,217 (4.02)70
Eternity, Inc. had begun in the 27th century as a trade organization, shipping goods from one century to another. But its real mission was much greater; it controlled human history.
  1. 71
    The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (codeeater)
  2. 00
    Great Work of Time {novella} by John Crowley (whiten06)
    whiten06: Two great time-travel novels with similar premises

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Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
Wow. Just wow.

You'll have to excuse me as I am still high off of that feeling of wonder and ecstasy that one feels when they just finish a fantastic book. The kind of book that takes your breath away. The one that leaves you speechless as you turn over the back cover, ending your literary journey.

This was my first jump into Asimov's universe. A lot of people will dive into his Foundation or Robot series first, but I came across The End of Eternity at my library and said "why not?" I'm glad I did. Because those two series are so extensive, I was afraid to jump into them without having ever read Asimov.

When I learned this was a stand-alone and not connected to any of his oeuvre I thought it would be a good place to start. It's safe to say I made the right decision.

What a wonderful piece of work. Engaging. Amazing. It certainly has made me a life-long fan. If you haven't read it, please do so! ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
In some ways, The End of Eternity is a classic time-travel story. The story focuses on the people outside of time, who manage the timeline. They observe all people in all places across time and decide when to intervene. Ostensibly, the intervention is intended to improve mankind. No more war. No more starvation. No more plagues. The Eternals can fix it with the minimum interruption.

This is not a thriller. Its Asimov. It is a thoughtful exploration of the concept and discovery of the consequences of managing events across time and space. I love exciting time-travel TV shows like Continuum, Quantum Leap, Doctor Who, etc... And I love Asimov. Like many of his other books, The End of Eternity has a well-described (if highly implausible) scientific basis and a human-centered thought-provoking abuse of the power knowledge it generates. ( )
  sbecon | Dec 12, 2020 |
“Any system like Eternity which allows men to choose their own future will end by choosing safety and mediocrity, and in such a Reality the stars are out of reach.”

In “The End of Eternity” by Isaac Asimov

I took the opportunity of re-reading this novel on account of the re-issue of “The End of Eternity” in 2020. I think the effects of “The Foundation” on Apple TV are making themselves felt in the SF publishing world…

Run a Feynman diagram backwards and matter becomes antimatter (of course, I think it's more that you can't tell the difference between a charged particle in an electromagnetic field moving forwards in time and its antimatter equivalent moving backwards in time.). Secondly travelling backwards in spacetime while the planet moves at c.300 000 km/s mean you will experience a near instantaneous acceleration of several tons. Splat. You will need a bucket and mop for what is left of our erstwhile time traveller. In short Newton and Einstein have some interesting but very short experiences in store for time travellers…

Feynman also proved that our current physical theories could not distinguish between an electron moving forward in time and an electron moving backward in time (the positron) except by a difference in charge. The real “Now” is moving forward. Except for thermodynamics (with the second law) our best physical theories cannot distinguish between forward time and backward time (of course, even the second law doesn't really differentiate between time directions. Well, not without introducing the observation that we're not already in the highest possible entropy state, and therefore it is overwhelmingly likely to increase). Something is obviously wrong.

I remember Hawking saying something against the possibility of time travel, pointing out that we haven’t been invaded by hordes of tourists from the future yet.

In the novel “The End of Eternity” which I read for the first time in a Portuguese-Brazilian translation 40 years ago, Isaac Asimov posited a time travel mechanism that didn't allow for travel to the past before the machine was invented. The machine opened a corridor which allowed for travel in either direction but only from the point at which it was turned on. Which gets round that objection. In this truly compelling work, Asimov touched on any theme in the SF field, creating one that still holds its place to this day, and I even risk not being able to compete with it in many themes to date. After years of being fed up with the impossibilities and paradoxes of time travel, one runs into such a book and rightly wonders why they cannot write stories of this magnitude and complexity today. A compelling read for anyone who has ever been a little preoccupied with the idea of ​​time travel! It's still a good book.

NB: What matters is that once you get to 80+ waking up every morning feels like an act of time travel. Unfortunately the joys of advanced technology are accompanied by infirmity and the approach of a life-changing event that no time machine can avert. ( )
  antao | Dec 5, 2020 |
This may be the book that created the idea of Time Police. ( )
1 vote LordGro | May 7, 2020 |
Asimov might be my favorite author. Very few books give me such a thrill when it comes to any kind of fiction. His trademarks are here - romance, a fast plot, small cast of characters, huge scope, big feel, twists turns and a conclusion that ended up giving me goosebumps.

As is the case with most time travel stories, there's a ton of paradoxes but Asimov manages to guide most of the way without losing me. There's certainly some antiquated language but the book was written 65 years ago and it's so incredible to see such contemporary themes present, such as class, nuclear power, war, history, psychology, regret...all the good stuff that I loved so much about the Robots/Foundation is present here. Short and sweet. ( )
  hskey | Jan 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
The End of Eternity is a love story. Our questions about Andrew’s love are right. In the end as the mists melt — indeed by reflecting on Noÿs — we recognize what he has been and done. His mistakes are worse, and his character better, than we thought. We are left with a man who learns.

Asimov's spare prose is here at its height. It stands in his language, his focus. Hills of detail are at a stroke given to the imagination. Minds and hearts — and this is a novel of the mind and heart — are painted partly by silence, by the author's silence, by what is set before us and what goes unsaid. The reader, the re-reader, who looks, who notes, is rewarded. Theodore Sturgeon used to say "Science fiction is knowledge fiction." That is true not only of physical knowledge.

» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Asimov, Isaacprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Horace L. Gold
First words
Andrew Harlan stepped into the kettle.
If there was a flaw in Eternity, it involved women.  He had known the flaw for what it was from almost his first entrance in to Eternity, but he felt it personally only that day he had first met Noys.  From that moment it had been an easy path to this one, in which he stood false to his oath as an Eternal and to everything in which he had believed.  

For what?

For Noys.

And he was not ashamed.  It was that which really rocked him.  He was not ashamed.  He felt no guilt for the crescendo of crimes he had committed, to which the latest addition of the unethical use of confidential Life-Plotting could only rank as a pecadillo.  

He would do worse than his worst if he had to.

For the first time the specific and express thought came to him.  And though he pushed it away in horror, he knew that, having once come, it would return.

The thought was simply this:  That he would ruin Eternity, if he had to.

The worst of it was that he knew he had the power to do it.
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Eternity, Inc. had begun in the 27th century as a trade organization, shipping goods from one century to another. But its real mission was much greater; it controlled human history.

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