The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov (Reading Challenge – A science-fiction novel)

               the-ed Have you ever wanted to turn back time? To change something you did in the past, and do it all over again? Have you ever wondered what it might feel like to go back to middle-ages? Or to years before Christ? Or maybe you’d like to go forward, into the future, to see what will happen to humans, and life on Earth?

                Meet the Enteranals. They are travelers through time, they go back and forth to change certain events, to prevent catastrophes. Their aim is to make life better, for humanity, in every age. Andrew is a Technician in this world, which means he does the actual changes, while others observe or calculate what a particular change would mean for the rest of the world, and for how many years this would have effect.  Andrew is very smart, and is great at what he does, moreover, he’s convinced that what they do is right. Then there comes a woman, and Andrew finds himself not only breaking the rules just to stay with her, but also doubting the sole existence of Eternity, and its almost unlimited power to change things and people.

                I don’t usually read science fiction novels, not fantasy novels, not really. Therefore, I won’t be able to compare this one to any other of the kind. I am, however, in love with anti-utopia sort of stories, and I think this is one of them. The purpose of Eternity is to make it better for humanity as general, to make things better for as many people as possible. At the cost of changed pasts, or destroying beautiful art, or even making one person an invalid. The Eternals decided humans are not capable to deal with the consequences of their own actions, and they need help with doing what’s right. It’s basically telling that one person and his/her action doesn’t matter, that we’re not irreplaceable, and only the majority matters, not an individual.

                If you look at it from that point of view, the book is terrifying. Almost unlimited power to change the world. Makes me wonder, what would I do with it? Surprisingly, this was not a prevailing thought while reading this book. The prevailing thought was a question really, a question of “What will happen next?” The novel is a great page-turner, with a lot of unexpected twists, making you want to know more and keep on reading till the last page. For me it was like reading a great thriller, not a science fiction novel, or an anti-utopia one. And even the not-so-well developed characters didn’t – rather surprisingly – bother me at all. The characters didn’t have much depth, but they were still rather likeable and their motives understood, so that was good enough. I didn’t read this one for characters. Mostly for action.

                Generally, I’d recommend it. It’s a well-told story, with a  lot of suspense, and without unnecessary descriptions or fillers. Great entertainment.

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