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The Ugly Little Boy

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,843 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Asimov wrote the short story "The Ugly Little Boy" in 1958. But in the novel of the same name, also known as Child of Time, there is much more to the story of the little Neanderthal boy plucked out of time and transferred to the 21st century. Now, Robert Silverberg--in this second collaboration with Asimov--has made this sf classic into an engrossing novel-length tale.
Mass Market Paperback, 387 pages
Published August 1st 1993 by Bantam/Spectra (first published 1991)
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. WellsTimeline by Michael CrichtonSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Best Time Travel Fiction
120th out of 1,002 books — 3,240 voters
Little Women by Louisa May AlcottLittle House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson BurnettLittle House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Books
50th out of 121 books — 26 voters

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Community Reviews

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Aug 28, 2008 Don rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
I love it when a book sneaks up on you and holds you in it's grasp as thoroughly as this one did with me. A simple pairing of stories, really, made fascinating by the 40,000 year time span and the numerous endings that could have been.

I loved Asimov's robot short stories and novels for the moral and ethical dilemmas the author tackles. This novel was similar, in that the scienctific underpinnings are secondary to the unforseen consequences of their implementation.

It was refreshing to see, too, t
Silverberg clearly intended this novel as a kind of eulogy to Asimov. It carefully retains the style and thematic approaches that Asimov used. A book of dialog, a measured pace, minimal action, maximum reasoning and logic. As a result, the novel (this is a big 'IMO') both succeeds AND fails because of its achievement of these elements. The novel succeeds in expanding Asimov's short story in exactly the same way Asimov would have likely novelized the short story, 50 years ago. That makes the nove ...more
Book Concierge
Stasis Technologies Ltd has perfected a way to reach back into time and bring forth objects for scientific study. Their most recent triumph was a baby dinosaur and now they’ve taken a Neanderthal child from the Ice-age to the 21st century. The nurse assigned to care for the child must somehow bridge a 40,000-year cultural gap. Initially shocked by the “ugly little boy,” Edith Fellows soon recognizes that he is really a frightened child, and slowly forms a deep emotional bond with Timmie.

Asimov is a difficult author to categorize because he's so prolific, but even for him this story represents a dramatic change from the norm. Through a strange new technology, a neanderthal boy is transported from his time to ours. As he grows up he faces the hardships of prejudice, loneliness, and confusion. Where does he belong? Not the typical robot-fare from Asimov, and an enjoyable read from start to finish. This is the full-length version, written in part by Robert Silverberg, of a very fam ...more
Silverberg did a good job of expanding Asimov's classic short story. The characters are much fleshed out, and the drama is important, not contrived. Maybe 3.5 stars really, though, compared to. the intense power of the original, as read in Nine Tomorrows.
When a company has the scientific technology to "scoop" a neanderthal boy and bring him to Earth in modern times, what will happen? Is he human? Can he learn things, even though he looks barely human? Or is he an animal? In this short story turned into a full-length novel, this question is explored, through the point of view of Timmy's nurse, Edith Fellows. She explores these questions and this story alternates with what is happening to Timmy's family 40,000 years ago. I fear I'm not doing this ...more
Caroline Lee
This book was a short read, but was captivating throughout. I feel that Asimov could have touched upon some of the details more, but instead he glazed over the specifics so that the emotional aspects of the story were the central theme. On the other hand, others might argue that it would have slowed down the pace, but I think the details are what make futuristic stories like these so fascinating. Despite the minor annoyance, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and would recommend it as a relaxing rea ...more
I initially read this book in dutch, though I later looked it up again, to which I stumbled upon the short story version of this novel. After finishing the latter, I decided to re-read the story in english.
It's the perfect book for anyone who wants to start reading more of Asimov's works.
Frequently switching between the present, and the neanderthal-era, the further we go into the book, the more obvious it becomes that Timmie, the main character, is in fact the mysterious figure encountered in th
Rachel Fisher
For more of my reviews go to

The Ugly Little Boy - Inspirational Science-Fiction
Title: The Ugly Little Boy (this is a short story)
Author: Isaac Asimov
My Rating - 5 Stars

If you've never written a novel before then the first time that you do it will seem weird. Probably more so if, like me, you hadn't been planning to write a novel. It's hard to explain to people what came over you when you suddenly began to 'live' and write a story.

I am not certain that I have an explanation
Another novel that is essentially an expanded short story, and like "Nightfall", it just didn't work, in my opinion.

The premise is strong and has some good moments sprinkled here and there, especially as the titular little boy slowly moves from being viewed as a specimen to being viewed as a human. Fair enough, that sounds like a good short story.

But then, with an ending that you can see coming from a mile away, and very flimsy characters to back it up, this book simply leaves a sour taste in th
Dilyana Georgieva
Чак сега разбирам откъде ми е този интерес към неандерталците - та още на петнайсет е бил запален от Азимов и Силвърбърг!
Винаги ми е било интересно как двама души пишат една книга заедно. Все пак тази доста си мирише на Азимов, но се надушва и чуждото присъствие - не знам, все още ми е мистерия как са се сработили в авторството. Важното е, че резултатът е доста увлекателна фантастика, която някога тогава ме научи на доста за този отдавна изчезнал хомо. Ситуацията е мечтана за всеки учен: не сам
Gerald Kinro
Two great sci-fi masters collaborate on this heart-warming story. A Neanderthal boy is brought to the present from 40,000 years ago to live in a bubble with his caretaker. Without any regard for his feelings he with his prehistoric appearance becomes the subject of scientists and the media. Even the scientist who brought him to the present had no intention of keeping him. However, his strong-willed caregiver falls in love with him and has other ideas.

Well written, this story deals the ethics of
Христо Блажев
Азимов превръща неандерталче в “Дете на времето”:

Азимов и Силвърбърг са достатъчно популярни имена поотделно, но заедно не може да се каже, че са съумели да изградят нещо запомнящо се. “Дете на времето” разказва за малко неандерталче, което е пренесено в нашия свят с машина на времето. В началото то е малко неугледно зверче, но постепенно с много грижи то се научава на всичко, което умеят човешките деца на неговата възраст, с което се оборват теориите, ч
C.D. Leavitt
This is one of those books that haunted me after I read it. It was my first introduction to Asimov and as a fan of science-fiction as well as paleoanthropology it was just about the perfect book for me at that age. I was twelve and spent an entire Saturday lying in the aisle of the library, immersed in the story that Asimov created and Robert Silverberg expanded into this fantastic novel.

Returning to it as an adult, I've been left to ponder what the ramifications of Edith's choice would be. Ther
Beverly Diehl
This is actually a short story, later expanded into a novel with the co-writing of Robert Silverberg, and there's oodles of Asimov to read and enjoy. I loved the whole mind-bending of the story, of scientists who find a way to bring forward people from an earlier time, but only in a small enclosure, and for a limited period of time. They want to talk to them, take tissue samples, study how they move and behave. After scoring with a peasant from the Renaissance, they manage to bring forward a sma ...more
I adored this book and could not put it down. I have not read the original short story so cannot comment on how it compares. I just know I was gripped from the first page and read it unstoppingly as I HAD to know what happened at the end. I did not feel there was unnecessary detail and it did not seem padded out in the least. I was actually left wanting more and was tempted to restart the book from the beginning straight away.

I also enjoyed how relevant it is now with scientists discussing cloni
Clivemichael Justice
Excellent collaboration, The story fleshed out is a great moral lesson
Dwight Parker
I loved this shows a way others may see us.
Love this book. I would recommend to all sorts of readers. It's moving and sad with characters that do their best with few good choices.
Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg write a wonderful tale of how the bond between a mother and son doesn't have to be by birth alone but by a woman's love and attention to a boy who was frightened and alone. Miss Fellowes is a woman who modern society considered an ugly spinster but a boy from the past shows that it's not what is outside but what is in the heart that makes someone beautiful. I loved the development of the relationship between Miss Fellowes and Skyfire Face (The Ugly Little Boy ...more
Joanne G.
Perhaps I would have rated this book higher if it hadn't been expanded from one of my very favorite short stories. Asimov's short story was poignant and thought-provoking. The main messages of his story have been muddied and diluted by stretching it into a novel.

I would recommend skipping this novel to read the short story; however, my copy of this book is dear to me, because my children gave it to me as a Christmas gift, having known of my love of the short story by the same name.

Short story w
Earl Baugh
This is a very good and poignant story.
Michele Brenton
I fell in love with this short story - it made me cry and stayed with me. When I found this novel in a library I read it eagerly and I wasn't disappointed.

I love this book because it is more about people than things. It is also one of the few old-school sci-fi stories that is 100% chick-lit in the very best sense.

It is a book that spoke to my female instincts. When I read the short story first I was a young girl. When I read the novel I was a mother - it spoke to my heart and it told the truth.
Stase Technologies a mis au point un système permettant de ramener des êtres vivants du passé. Après avoir ramené avec succès un petit dinosaure, le Dr Hoskins, directeur de la société a un nouveau projet : ramener un enfant de Néanderthal. Et c'est Timmie, petit garçon d'à peine 4 ans qui débarque en plein XXIème siècle. Pour s'occuper de lui, le Dr Hoskins a engagé une infirmière, Edith Fellowes, qui aura la délicate mission d'aider Timmie à s'adapter à son nouvel environnement.
With apologies to the initiated, Isaac Asimov never did better and Robert Silverberg is to be applauded for expanding the original work, a short story by Asimov, into this hard sci-fi novel par excellence. Credited with writing over 500 books, Asimov only hit two bottom-of-the-ninth walk-off grand slams in his fantastically prolific career: A 5-page short story called "The Last Question" and this perfect 10 right here.
If you love time traveling books, this is another fantastic one. It reminds me of Flowers for Algeron. You can't help falling for the young Neanderthal boy named Timmie and the love of his nurse Miss Fellowes. The book's characters, pace, science and story are all well done. Normally I don't like the idea of an author writing post-mortemly for another but Asimov would be proud of what became of his short story.
I read somewhere that this novel was written by Silverberg, based on Asimov's short story. I'm not sure if that's true. Either way, I think it works best as a short story. I liked the novel, but some things are better left mysterious (what will happen when Timmie goes back to his own time?) Of course since it's sci-fi, I prefer to read about the stasis experiments rather than the tribe led by Silver Cloud.
Jan Ackerson
Asimov wrote this novel as an expansion of his short story of the same name. A little prehistoric boy is transported through time to earth, some time in the near future, where he is nurtured by the novel's protagonist even while being studied by scientists.

The conflict comes when they are done studying him--what is to become of him then? I fell in love with the ugly little boy.
I read this as a short story, for some reason it was extended by Silverberg, I have no idea why. Asimov can do no wrong. If he wrote a book on the length of hairclipping from Napoleon's back after death, I would read it. (He wrote about practically everything as it was.)

The story is one of the most beautiful I have ever read, in its short form. Find it and read it.
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Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered the most prolific writer of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the te
More about Isaac Asimov...
Foundation (Foundation, #1) I, Robot (Robot, #0.1) Foundation and Empire (Foundation, #2) Second Foundation (Foundation, #3) The Foundation Trilogy (Foundation, #1-3)

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