Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

La Fin de l'éternité by Isaac Asimov

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

by Isaac Asimov

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,299472,763 (4.03)50
Title:La Fin de l'éternité
Authors:Isaac Asimov
Info:Gallimard (2002), Poche, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The end of eternity by Isaac Asimov (1955)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 50 mentions

English (39)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Russian (1)  German (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Andrew Harlan is an Eternal - a man living outside the normal timeline. He is a Technician in an organisation called Eternity. His job is to make small changes in the real world in order to remove undesirable futures. He has been tasked with teaching an unusual recruit his hobby of Primitive History - the history of life before Eternity came into being and before the reach of the time machines, called kettles. He is also tasked with observation of the 482nd century reality in the company of a non Eternal woman, a task he finds disturbing, especially when he finds himself in her bed. Eternity is no place for women it seems, and Harlan turns to criminal acts in order to spend more time with her. But then events show that Harlan is not completely in control of his own destiny, and that Eternity itself is at stake.

This is the third time I have read this book, and each time I have found it unputdownable. Some of the technology is a little dated, but then the story was written in the early 1950s so some allowances can be made. There are some unanswered questions about how the realm of Eternity can exist, which are conveniently hidden behind Harlan's lack of knowledge. But the concept of time travel and the consequent paradoxes are brilliantly conceived and exploited. And it ends with several nice twists. This is a great work by one of the great masters of SF. ( )
  Bruce_McNair | Jun 13, 2015 |
Due to circumstances within our control... Tomorrow Will Be Canceled. In the fantastic world of The End Of Eternity this terrifying forecast was entirely possible. The Eternals, the ruling class of the Future, had the power of life and death not only over every human being but bver the very centuries into which they were born. Past, Present, and Future could be created or destroyed at will. You had to be special to become an Eternal. Andrew Harlan... ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  Tutter | Feb 23, 2015 |
One of Isaac Asimovs SF masterpieces, this stand-alone novel is a monument of the flowering of SF in the 20th century. It is widely regarded as Asimov’s single best SF novel and one every SF fan should read.

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 always costs.

During one of his assignments, Harlan meets and falls in love with Noÿs Lambent, a woman who lives in real time and space. Then Harlan learns that Noÿs will cease to exist after the next change, and risks everything to sneak her into Eternity.

Unfortunately, they are caught. Harlan’s punishment? His next assignment: kill the woman he loves before the paradox they have created results in the destruction of Eternity.

### Review

Praise for *The End of Eternity:*

“His most effective piece of work. Asimov’s exemplary clarity in plotting is precisely suited to the material at hand.”

“By literary standards, this tale of time travel from the 95th century is generally rated Asimov’s best.”
*—Entertainment Weekly*

“Asimov’s flirtation with the tropes employed by A.E. van Vogt and Charles Harness is startling for an author deemed ultra-rational and scientific.…The effects of this influential, seminal book echo to the present, in the works of such writers as Greg Egan, John Varley, Kage Baker, and Greg Bear.”

### About the Author

**Isaac Asimov** lived in Boston and in New York City most of his life. He died in 1992 at the age of seventy-two. ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
I can remember reading this decades ago and thinking it was the least satisfying of the Asimov novels I'd encountered so far. (This was a long while before he re-entry into the field with the gasbaggy recursions.) For about the first half of this new reading I was thinking much the same -- in part because it took me a while to adjust to Asimov's flat, deliberately unflowery (I'm tempted to say deflowered!) style. The characters seemed to be comic-book stereotypes, with unsubtle, adolescent reactions and motivations. I was concerned, too, that there seemed to have been almost zero physical or even cultural evolution over periods of millions of years.

But, now that I've finished the book, I realize that a lot of this was deliberate on Asimov's part: he was trying to present a society in which people had become that way because of (a) their constant exercise, however benign the intent, of the power of life and death over billions and (b) a long, self-imposed cultural isolation from others not of their kind -- even including, because this society is almost exclusively male, an isolation from women. This isolation despite the fact that the society's denizens are viewing and on occasion interacting with all human cultures over a period of no fewer than 70,000 centuries.

I'm kind of getting ahead of myself.

Eternity is a sort of timeless but dimensional structure created to exist alongside Time (the capital T is deliberate). It's possible to travel "upward" and "downward" in Eternity, as if by elevator, from the time of its creation in the 27th century to the very far future, stopping off along the way to view or enter Time. The people who live within Eternity have as their task the regulation of trade between different periods and the monitoring of Time to ensure that, always, all will work out for the best for humanity in the best of all possible worlds. They do this by giving Time's reality occasional -- or not so occasional -- tweaks, these manipulations bringing into being new and supposedly preferable realities, whose substitution for the status quo ante will do good in the relatively short term and won't in the longer term adversely affect the triumphant story of humankind.

As a Technician, one of the castes in the rigidly stratified society of Eternity, Andrew Harlan is one of those whose task it is to effect such Minimum Necessary Changes (MNCs) -- and he's an expert at it. One day he's virtually thrown by his superiors at Noys, a beautiful aristocrat from the 482nd century, when fashions in female clothing were conveniently scanty. Soon, despite Andrew's determined Man-of-Steel persona, they become lovers -- in case it's an obsessive love, one that barely flickers when it's broken to him that there's a superstition rife in Noys' time that women can become immortal through boffing Eternity employees. (Now, I wonder who could have started that rumour?) The liaison is in a legal grey area; but when Andrew discovers the next MNC in the 482nd century will eliminate Noys's existence entirely, he starts breaking every law in Eternity's books.

Adventures ensue.

In the final stages of the book we find that Andrew has been thoroughly manipulated -- not simply, as he himself elicits, by those in the Eternity hierarchy who're using him to help set up the closed time loop that is necessary if the creation of Eternity is to have been effected in the past, but more complexly by the inhabitants of the very, very far future, who have realized the existence of Eternity will eventually doom our species and have sent back Noys to engineer, through manipulation of numerous others as well as Andrew, a situation where Eternity has never been invented:
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. (p180)
This is a point subtly different from, and very much more interesting than, the usual free-will speculations and philosophizing I'd been expecting -- although there are some of these as well. In this light, we have to recast our ideas of what all of the earlier text was actually about -- as indicated above, suddenly so many things that had seemed like defects or clumsinesses are instead revealed as yet another piece of manipulation, this time of the reader by the author! It's a wonderful piece of volte-facery. ( )
2 vote JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
95 wanted
3 pay4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.03)
1 2
1.5 1
2 6
2.5 8
3 84
3.5 35
4 162
4.5 37
5 128


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,956,340 books! | Top bar: Always visible