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La Fin de l'éternité by Isaac Asimov
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La Fin de l'éternité (original 1955; edition 2002)

by Isaac Asimov

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2,413542,574 (4.02)55
Member:ubermuda
Title:La Fin de l'éternité
Authors:Isaac Asimov
Info:Gallimard (2002), Poche, 352 pages
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The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov (1955)

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English (45)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Russian (1)  German (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Colonial studies have been part of the curriculum for over two decades at literature faculties on universities across the globe. I wonder how many professors and scholars realize lots of science fiction can also be considered as literature that deals with colonialism. There’s the obvious Prime Directive in mainstream culture’s Star Trek. There’s a variant of that in Banks’ Culture novels: how and when to intervene in other – technologically less developed – cultures? There’s Ursula Le Guin. China Miéville explored the theme a bit in Embassytown. And so forth… The fact that lots of SF deals with encountering and engaging with other, alien cultures makes it a perfect genre to explore real world colonial issues.

The End Of Eternity fits into this way of looking at SF as well. It is one of Asimov’s stand-alone novels, and is considered among his best by many. The protagonist is Andrew Harland, one of the few who live in Eternity, a location outside place and time, where “Eternals” enact “Reality Changes”, small, calculated shifts in the course of history made for the benefit of humankind. Though each Change is made for the greater good, there are also always costs.

For those who have read it, 1971’s The Lathe Of Heaven of Le Guin instantly springs to mind. I have written extensively about my view on utilitarianism – an important theme in both books – in Lathe's review, so I will not repeat those here. Le Guin is more overtly critical on the matter than Asimov, who doesn’t necessarily fault utilitarianism, but instead faults placid, safe, stale thinking, and pleads for ambition, difference, diversity and risk.

“Whom do you mean by ‘we’? Man would not be a world, but a million worlds, a billion worlds. We would have the infinite in our grasp. Each would have its own stretch of the Centuries, each its own values, a chance to seek happiness after ways of its own in an environment of its own. there are many happinesses, many goods, infinite variety… That is the Basic State of mankind.”

(...)

Please read the full review on Weighing A Pig ( )
1 vote bormgans | Aug 1, 2016 |
time travel ... yay! ( )
  GeetuM | Jun 3, 2016 |
time travel ... yay! ( )
  GeetuM | Jun 3, 2016 |
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 Noÿs. 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.

An interesting take on time travel, in which the Eternals who change time for the greater good of humanity can never go home once they are recruited into Eternity, since subsequent changes affecting home century could have resulted in them never having existed. The annoying protagonist Anderw Harlan behaves nonsensically, but it more or less makes sense in the end. ( )
1 vote isabelx | Apr 20, 2016 |
I’m just going to say it: aside from a few select novels and stories, Asimov annoys the hell out of me and is, I think, one of science fiction’s most overrated authors ever. There! Start stoning me now. I’m prepared. I know I have blasphemed. I have read a hell of a lot of Asimov, including all of the Foundation novels and all of the Robot novels, including the extra Robot-inspired books, as well as other books, and I’m always astonished – and always mentioning in my reviews – at what a below average writer I think Asimov was, particularly as a young writer. He barely knew grammatical rules, such as how to use transitions. He knew practically nothing about character development, little about plot development, and wrote the absolute worst dialogue of any type of literature of any author I have ever read anywhere, and I have read tens of thousands of books over the course of my life! The WORST dialogue ever! I’m not joking. The most wooden, stilted, unconvincing, academic, formal, boring, inauthentic excuse for dialogue I’ve ever seen in any novel form anywhere. I have three college degrees and have 13 years of university study. I’ve published 15 books of my own. My own poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and criticism have appeared in magazines, newspapers, zines, peer reviewed journals, online magazines and journals, and elsewhere in hundreds and hundreds of sources in dozens of countries in numerous languages and one of my books was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. I have taught literature and writing at three universities and colleges. I feel like I have some credentials. I feel confident when I say that I feel that there are literally dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of science fiction writers who are better writers and perhaps even scientifically superior to Asimov. His legacy is vastly inflated. But that’s my opinion, and as has been pointed out regularly in my negative reviews of his books, my opinion is worth shit regarding his books.

All that said, I’m going to skip the main synopsis of this book, other than to say it’s about time travel and is fairly innovative, especially for such an early time travel book, having been published in 1955. Pretty original, and I appreciated that. What I want to point out instead is something that I’ve pointed out for some previous books and something that several other reviewers have pointed out for this book, although to my total shock, not very many people at all. Asimov, the total misogynistic pig, is in top form in creating one female character in this book whose primary purpose is to be the sexual crush and ultimate seducer (because, after all, she IS a female, and that’s what they do to good men, right?) of our brave and good protagonist, Andrew Harlan, the Eternal. The beautiful, non-Eternal, Noys Lambent, a secretary or assistant of some sort, because after all, that’s what women do, aside from the scientist in I, Robot, creates a conflict with Andrew because women aren’t supposed to be part of the good old boy’s club in Eternity, his world, meaning he’s never gotten laid, I guess, so when she makes herself available on her world to him, he goes for it, initially feeling a little guilty, then goes for it with gusto and is drawn into her sinful female web, allowing Eternity to possibly be destroyed. Nice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Asimov write entire novels with either no female characters or just one or two minor background characters who comb their hair in their bedrooms (Foundation, anyone?). Sometimes there’s a more major female character, but they’re either helpless and dependent on a strong male lead (robot novels) or are seductresses (robot novels). To Asimov, women are evil and/or dangerous. Yet somehow he was married. Was he merely a product of his times, was he secretly gay, or was he a stereotypical engineering/science nerd who was an academic social misfit, scared to death of females, yet strangely married to one? Or none of the above? Why did he hate women so much? Yet why in his later books, like the Prelude to Foundation books, did he write in strong female characters? Did he actually grow with the times? Did his attitudes actually change? Maybe they did. Maybe there was hope. Maybe he was a 1940s/50s-era misogynistic product of his time who didn’t know any better than the Nuclear Era Virgin/Whore Syndrome and who wrote that into his novels. If so, fairly pathetic and that goes to show what a weak writer he truly was, backing up my original claim. But then, he wouldn’t have been the only one, so fair’s fair, I suppose.

In any event, I’m one of the very few to level this accusation against him regarding this or any book. The critics seem evenly split between genders, while the five star fans also seem evenly split between genders. In other words, just as many women love this book as men and apparently most women have no problems with him writing his only female character into the book as a stereotypical seductress whore intent upon making a male protagonist trip up and destroy Eternity. Apparently, women readers have no problems with this. While I find that astonishing, again, I am in the vast minority. I want to give this book a low rating, but at the same time, it was highly original, so that deserves a higher rating, so in fairness, I’m going to compromise and give it three stars. I think that’s a fair rating, given my criticisms versus its originality. Recommended for early sci fi time travel originality. Not recommended for fine quality literature. ( )
1 vote scottcholstad | Feb 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (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 (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Asimov, Isaacprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Horace L. Gold
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Andrew Harlan stepped into the kettle.
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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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Andrew Harlan is an Eternal, a member of the elite of the future. One of the few who live in Eternity, a location outside of place and time, Harlan's job is to create carefully controlled and enacted reality changes. These changes are small, exactingly calculated shifts in the course of history, made for the benefit of humankind. Though each change has been made for the greater good, there are also always costs. During one of his assignments, Harlan meets and falls in love with No?s Lambent, a woman who lives in real time and space. Then Harlan learns that No?s will cease to exist after the next change, and he risks everything to sneak her into Eternity.… (more)

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