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The Fixed Period

3.06  ·  Rating Details ·  137 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Published in 1882, this extraordinary novel--an exercise in Swiftian irony combined with a love story in a furturistic setting--is entirely uncharacteristic of Trollope's usual drawing room conversations and hunting scenes. Set in the 1980s, The Fixed Period describes an imaginary, antipodean ex-colony governed by a President who views himself as a benefactor of the human ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 6th 1994 by Penguin Classics (first published 1882)
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Not one of Trollope's more popular books, but I liked it a lot. Trollope's one foray into SF is an impressive social satire. He imagines a former British colony, Brittannula, one hundred years into the future. This colony would seem to be almost utopian: it has universal education, it has abolished capital punishment, it has no army and apparently little in the way of crime. However, , it also has a law dictating that each citizen is to be euthanized at the age of 67. Mr Neverbend (a typical Tro ...more
"[…] There’s a Prejudice About Killing an Old Man, or a Woman. Young Men Don’t Matter."

Even the avid Trollope reader might feel surprised, as I most certainly did, at learning that the man who invented and peopled the whole county of Barsetshire, bedecking it with so much real-life detail, also wrote what is nowadays called a dystopian novel. However, you will probably feel slightly less surprised when you take a look at this dystopian novel, The Fixed Period, whose first instalments appeared in
May 22, 2007 David rated it did not like it
Shelves: trollope
This is Trollope's worst novel. No doubt about it.

It's a futuristic novel set in an imaginary island nation somewhere near New Zealand, an island originally colonized by the English. As so often happens in futuristic novels, the future technologies imagined are, in hindsight, absurd -- steam bicycles, cricket gear (including steam bowlers) that let the sides score unimaginably large number of runs (at least I assume they're unimaginable; I'm not really the person to ask).

But the focus of the nov
Dec 29, 2010 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trollope
A surprising and rather slight book which plays with some interesting ideas. It was written by Trollope near the end of his life and is set in 1980. I found the characterisation a little thin for Trollope and found the whole book rather unconvincing.
David Fernandes
The problem is that Anthony Trollope transformed his good short story into a bad novel: the philosophical vision and erudite English are obfuscated by dreadful boring episodes like the Cricket game. Nevertheless, the Fixed Period thesis is successfully introduced: "it consists altogether of the abolition of the miseries, weakness, and fainéant imbecility of old age, by the prearranged ceasing to live of those who would otherwise become old." And it also successfully explained why the human natur ...more
Sep 09, 2013 Yooperprof rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, victorian
Goodreads "Star ratings" can really be very frustrating at times, because they don't offer the opportunity for half star rankings. This book for example fits squarely for me in between one and two stars - that is to say, it was "okay" though I didn't like it.

What I mean is that "The Fixed Period" is undeniably fascinating from a historical and biographical perspective: who knew that Anthony Trollope, the great Victorian realist, wrote speculative fiction set in an imagined future? Generally I l
Sep 15, 2014 Mumbler rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is indeed a dreary, social-philosophical, what-if novel. I had to skim; I couldn't stand it. Can't help being surprised that AT did this. Partly that he would choose to, partly that it is so bad.

Well, debating these kinds if ideas in a novel is just about guaranteed to produce a bad novel. I may still be marvelling a bit at how bad it is. But mostly, I guess, I should say that I'm surprised he chose to to this at all, then shocked he went through with it when it proved, in fact, this awful
Jan 09, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Trollope oddity. I thought it was going to be unreadable, but I warmed to it as I went along. It not his worst novel (that's La Vendee by a long way), but the first person narrative doesn't come naturally to Trollope, and the style and subject matter take some getting used to. However, two things redeem it: firstly, he raises interesting and prescient concerns about matters which we are grappling with today - an ageing population and the health-related problems of extreme old age; colonialism ...more
Sep 17, 2013 Nat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is less dense than other Trollope texts, and is definitely a must read for fans of dystopias or futuristic classics (and it's a better read than Shelley's "The Last Man").

But I can think of few things more full of embarrassing potential than attempting to write a story set in the future. There's just so many things that can go wrong.

And, well, much as I love Anthony Trollope, so much does go wrong.

The things that Trollope thought would change drastically - for example, cricket - have change
This is an unusual Trollope! Set in the future (which for Trollope is the later 20th century), The Fixed Period focuses on the failed attempt to institute a society-wide practice of euthanasia in the fictional republic of Brittanula. The narrative is presented as the first-person account of Mr. Neverbend, the president of Brittanula and a prime proponent of the fixed period. In his other novels, Trollope's interests in institutions and reform are often apparent, but here they take center stage. ...more
Oct 29, 2013 Amelia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fans, and perhaps critics, of Anthony Trollope will find this book does not fit into the usual sort of themes of most of his other numerous works. Don't read any more of this review if you don't want a bit of a spoiler.

Here are just a couple of major points that set this work apart from other, more famous, works of Trollope:

1. This book is set in a fictional land in the south Pacific. That's right, not England, or Ireland, or Australia, or France. Or even America. Seriously.

2. This is a dystopi
Alia S
Apr 10, 2016 Alia S rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I read this because:

1) I keep meaning to try Trollope and getting put off by how long his better-known books are.
2) I love a good past future—in this case, 1980 as seen from 1880.
3) I am generally a little morbid.

It seems like people who know Trollope don’t have much to say for this work, but if you’re not comparing it to anything else and you skim a bit it’s interesting enough and completely relevant. (Being adequately English to look favorably on background elements of cricket and naval war p
Paul Blakemore
Feb 01, 2012 Paul Blakemore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of a place where any inhabitant who reaches 67 is interred in an asylum and killed for the good of society led me to believe this would be a curious and interesting read. It was certainly both those things but it was also deeply surprising in the way that the characters were so fleshed out. From the intransigence and vanity of Mayor Neverbend, to the quiet wisdom of his wife or the charming cunning of his potential daughter-in-law,each character is human, flawed and so questionable i ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Kay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unusual novella set in Trollope's future (1980) when a small colony has decided to adopt the idea of a fixed period for life, but as the time comes when the first colonist is due to be "deposited" opposition grows to the plan. The style is rather verbose but the idea is interesting and the relationship between Britain and her colonies is shown in an unexpectedly negative light. There are a number of deliberate futuristic developments - a form of cricket which involves bowling machines rather ...more
Dec 03, 2014 Lucy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Seems he just couldn't make up his mind what he wanted to do with this. The practical futurology stuff is lame, it's no use just saying steam-bicycle and expecting the reader to fill in the details...the euthanasia element was done to death (see what I did there), not a patch on the succinct 'Modest Proposal'.....the characterisation and love story are the best bits, Trollope should really have stayed with what he did best. Only one for the completists.
Jul 09, 2015 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hate to be a hater but this is the least of Trollope's 47 (and I've read them all). A curiously uninspired attempt at science fiction, this is one of those novels that has always fueled the carping about Trollope's mercenary working methods, blah, blah, blah. Yes, there are a few other clinkers but I'd say 4/5 of the novels (at least) are well worth reading! God bless OUP and Penguin for racing to publish all 47 back in the day (I suspect that many are now OP again).
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 12, 2012 Ejl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unexpected science-fictional satire on euthanasia. I understand it is considered a failed experiment by hardcore Trollope fans (and it is certainly different than the only other of his novels that I've read, "Can You Forgive Her?"), I found it a quick & intriguing read. In any case, it has inspired me to read more Trollope (I think I'll go with "The Warden").
Benjamin Kahn
Strange novel for Trollope - more science fiction than anything else. I enjoyed it, but you have to /like sci-fi/dystopia type books to get it. Foreshadowed Logan's Run in a lot of ways. A solid book, but not for everyone.
Oct 15, 2013 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Published in 1882, then not again until 1981, this is Trollope's foray into dystopian science fiction. Although a bit long-winded at times, this short book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in Victorian ideas and fears about population.
Feb 10, 2011 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worst-books
Way too verbose for my liking. Did not really see the point to the whole story and I get the commentary on life/death and choices that it entails, but still thought this book drab. I wanted there to be something to really grab onto, but the whole book was just very repetitive.
Oct 18, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Trollope does science fiction! Set in a speculative future of the 1980s in a breakaway British colony off New Zealand this short satirical tale is odd and entertaining.
Jun 05, 2014 Keren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darla Ebert
Apr 24, 2012 Darla Ebert rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very uninteresting. The premise is good, just not written in an interesting style, too many speeches.

Nov 15, 2016 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthony-trollope
My least favorite Trollope book.
Douglas rated it really liked it
Apr 14, 2014
Tamar rated it really liked it
Dec 01, 2007
Michael Wechsler
Michael Wechsler rated it it was amazing
Jul 01, 2012
Dagny rated it it was ok
Sep 03, 2012
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Anthony Trollope became one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of Trollope's best-loved works, known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around the imaginary county of Barsetshire; he also wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts of his day.

Trollope has always been a popular novelist. Noted fans ha
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