The End of Eternity

By Isaac Asimov,

Book cover of The End of Eternity

Book description

A spellbinding novel set in the universe of Isaac Asimov’s classic Galactic Empire series and Foundation series

Due to circumstances within our control . . . tomorrow will be canceled.

The Eternals, the ruling class of the Future, had the power of life and death not only over every human…

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Why read it?

8 authors picked The End of Eternity as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Told by a master storyteller I enjoy reading, this book grabbed me immediately and drew me inexorably into the main character’s life as an eternity technician.

Not a unique theme – man manipulating his future – but I liked the twist when all future is threatened for the love of one woman. I kept turning pages, wanting to know how my hero would reconcile forbidden love at the price of eternity’s end.

This is a thoughtful book that denied me peace until it ended. I liked the technical concepts revealed in the story and how they were woven into very…

From Stefan's list on hard science fiction by old masters.

With this book, Asimov created one of the most unique time-travel stories I have ever read.

Dismissing almost all familiar tropes, he created an entire society that exists outside of time, and a tale that involves, not altering any single historical event, but custom-tailoring all of history.

The hero, an “Eternal” named Andrew Harlan, changes and grows throughout this engaging narrative, which is part intrigue, part love story; I found myself making excuses to read “just one more chapter” before setting the book down.

Best of all, while the majority of the book is purely standalone, the ending packs a…

Sci-fi has always been my favorite genre for the simple reason that every other genre can be explored under the blanket of science fiction.

End of Eternity is a fine example of this, in that it is both a love story and a thriller. Like modern-day sci-fi writers such as Andy Weir (Computer Programmer), Alister Reynolds (PhD in Astrophysics), and Liu Cixin (Computer Engineer), Asimov always leans on his scientific knowledge as a biochemist when writing.

Although End of Eternity does involve much biochemistry like some of Asimov’s other books, it does try to explain and navigate the complexities of…

From Robbie's list on sci-fi from the 1950s.

Several other lists mention this classic, but I had to as well, being one of my all-time favorites.

This is Asimov at his best, even better (IMHO) than the great Foundation series. What would it be like to control the timeline? What changes would you make in history for the betterment of humanity? If you had the power, would you risk it all to protect someone you love? 

Why should we settle space? What if we don’t? Could we create thousands of safer utopias right here on Earth instead? Countless science fiction books explore the obvious ‘breadth’ of the endless stars and worlds in our night sky. This rare gem explores the ‘depth’ of settlements and diverse human civilizations separated by centuries of time. It is probably my favorite story by my favorite author. I love twisty plot turns and the gray heroes who endure them. In my own writing, I always try to take my readers somewhere deliciously unexpected. After a stunning ‘Samson-smash’ of Eternity, Asimov deftly…

Time travel is easy to do – in fiction. In reality, paradoxes engendered by time travel almost certainly make it impossible. If I travel to the past and change something that I didn’t like, how would I have known to travel to the past in the first place? If I travel to the future and you see me wearing a blue shirt tomorrow, what happens to my free will to put on a green shirt tomorrow? Time travel in fiction that respects the paradoxes is not impossible, but neither is it easy to do. The End of Eternity does this…

I found the breadth and depth of invented science in Asimov’s work breathtaking. The idea of a group of engineers who live outside time, calculating the “Minimum Necessary Change” in any situation to allow them to reset the passage of history in ways they believed benefited mankind is strangely compelling. The powerful lesson, that social engineering undertaken for the best of motives can have unforeseen and devastating consequences, has stayed with me my whole life. Lovers of science fiction often dream of setting off to explore the stars, yet here was a story of how our own naïve “cleverness” would…

This is probably the first time-travel book I ever read, way back when I was about twelve. It drew me in and ignited my love of science fiction and time travel both. Here was a world in which a class known as Eternals travel about time ensuring that history proceed according to plan. To be effective, Eternals stand apart from the timeline, and must be impartial and virtually without emotion. Ah, but what happens when an Eternal falls in love with some woman in the timeline? What will happens to his impartiality? 

I decided to reread this novel decades later,…

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