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The End of Eternity

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  50,666 ratings  ·  2,850 reviews
Andrew Harlan is an Eternal, a man whose job it is to range through past and present Centuries, monitoring and, where necessary, altering Time's myriad cause-and-effect relationships. But when Harlan meets and falls for a non-Eternal woman, he seeks to use the awesome powers and techniques of the Eternals to twist time for his own purposes, so that he and his love can surv ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 1st 1971 by Fawcett Crest (first published 1955)
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Douglas This can be a stand-alone book, but there is some wording in the final chapter that ties the book into the Galactic Empire novels that Asimov wrote. I…moreThis can be a stand-alone book, but there is some wording in the final chapter that ties the book into the Galactic Empire novels that Asimov wrote. I'm not sure, though, if this book would be considered the first in the Galactic Empire saga.(less)

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I've always felt that Isaac Asimov writes brilliant science fiction with boring characters. I love a good time travel story, mostly to see what this author's take on the usual time travel paradoxes will be. Anyone who writes about agents changing history has to explain how they deal with things like the Grandfather Paradox, meeting earlier or later versions of yourself, and so on. There are a handful of well-known ways to deal with these issues (alternate timelines, a deterministic universe, spe ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Re-reading a favorite book from your teenage years is always a risky endeavor. I’ve been dismayed by how often my youthful memories are tarnished by a re-read, and I end up wondering if my taste as a young adult was all in my mouth.


But I couldn’t resist trying The End of Eternity (1955) by Isaac Asimov again, partly because I remembered liking it so well as a teenager, but my memories of it were so extremely hazy (for the longest time, until a Goo
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
If you haven't read Asimov's SF classic, it's one of those time-travel stories where you can change the past. The people with the time machines are a shadowy, infinitely powerful organisation called the Eternals. They flit around in time, changing things "for the good of humanity". Except that, as I'm sure you already guessed, it isn't quite clear after a while that humanity is benefiting from all this attention. The agents who are responsible for making the changes are called Technicians, and t ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 2018-shelf
I just had to do a little retro SF catch-up, grabbing those old classics by big-name SF authors that I haven't yet had the pleasure to read, and this one kept cropping up as one of the best of the best by Asimov.

You know, OTHER than Foundation and the Robot novels. Of which, a few are sub-par. We'll ignore all of these for now and focus on this standalone.

About time travel in a kettle, kinda like Wells' time machine, only let's make a society of men, only men, living outside of time a-la Time L
Nutshell: antisocial nerd, responsible for historical amendments to spacetime continuum, dicks it up for everyone in order to lose virginity.

Eternity is an interdimensional NGO, set up in the 27th century (32), initially to carry on intertemporal trade (43), which trade was promoted as its primary purpose. Its true primary task is to "prevent catastrophe from striking mankind" and "to breed out of Reality any factors that might lead to such knowledge" of its biotemporal management of human histo
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, sci-fic, audio
In many ways, an absolute masterpiece of classic science fiction. Asimov's best stand-alone novel, which is kind of by default due to his other great work Foundation being a series and most of his other science fiction works to be short stories. (And yes, I know The End of Eternity in an indirect way does connect to Foundation.)

The time travel mechanics are mind-boggling in all the best ways. The concept of Eternity which manipulates time century by century, erasing entire realities by constantl
Nandakishore Mridula
This is a unique one for Asimov, and not connected to his usual fictional universe. Ironically, this is his first book I tried to read, in Malayalam translation, no less! But either the translation was bad, or the story was untranslatable, or I was too young for it... I dropped it after a few pages. I am glad I did, because I could read the original afresh.

This story is about a group called Eternals who travel outside of linear time, stepping in when required within the time-stream to make thing
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is somehow my first Asimov book. At first, I was underwhelmed. However, as the book went forward, I found that there was much more depth to the writing than originally met the eye and that the shallow characters were shallow with a purpose.

Asimov sets up a group of scientist who are outside of time called the Eternals. While everyone on earth thinks that their main job is to facilitate commerce between various centuries, their true function is to manipulate history to make it play out more
Mark Harding
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Less than 200 pages. The same material nowadays would be expanded to at least 600 pages or probably a trilogy.

Well cool ideas:

* The time shafts are powered by our Sun going supernova in the distant future.
* Idealogical debate between Utilitarianism and ‘adventure’. (And fighting for frontiers) or ‘short term’ safety vs risk and long term growth.
* Everything that happens is intricately played out according to the central plot driver

I suppose because SF writers feel obliged to provide ‘characters
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Even though I tend to pick them apart, I love stories dealing with time-travel. Most end up creating what should be a paradox or forget little things that I tend to pick up on. Not this one. Asimov did a spectacular job. I thought I had him a couple of times but he covered everything.

Eternity, in this case, is something separate from our reality. The people who live there, the Eternals, have the ability to tweak our reality to produce different outcomes from those that occurred naturally. They s
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Asimov is doing a couple of things here that raise a dull story to interesting, but you won't be able to catch it until the final two chapters. Dare I say this is a feminist critique of society?... I mean, as critical as a '50s dude from sexist academia could deliver? And delivered in quite possibly the most offensive way possible, at least to modern sensibilities? It partly serves as a polemic against critics of the space program (I smell a colleague confrontation brewing, Asi), partly an effor ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sci-fi lovers!
I loved this! It is very rare for e to like classic literature, and even though I love science fiction, classic sci-fi bores me with its dry writing style or dull characters. But this book! The cool ideas about time travel, science and society glued me to its pages! The writing style was okay and characters were tolerable. I really loved the ending as it resonates with my ideals (of free (selfish) choice and adventure& growth mindset over safe&boring life). Did I mention I loved the cool-crazy i ...more
Time Travel!

I am a huge fan of time travel, particularly when it's done well. And, should I expect anything less in the hands of Asimov? Long before we learned how to harness the pathways of time and to make the proper adjustments to each time reality, Asimov bequeathed to us this incredible novel that postulates a world where there me travel exists in a corridor known as Eternity and the Eternals, who live in this narrow corridor, travel tens of thousands of years in something like Wonka's gia
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: asimov
I'm a SF buff, a big Asimov fan, and I'd rate this book among his very best. Having read through most of Asimov's Robot and Foundation series, what drew me to read The End of Eternity was the often mentioned fact that this book describes why Asimov's fictional universe panned out the way it did. And I wasn't disappointed. What a story!

One of the things I like most about Asimov's SF is how small and insignificant it makes you feel when it speaks about millions of inhabited planets spread across t
4.0 to 4.5 Stars. Superb Asimov story and his best novel not set within the Foundation and Robot Universe.
Kevin Kuhn
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-travel
Lately, I’ve been a bit nostalgic for classic sci-fi and I’ve been reading some Heinlein and Asimov. I somehow missed this book when I tore through all the Asimov novels way back in my youth. I enjoyed this book, but it does have a significant flaw. The basic premise is mankind’s establishment of Eternity in the 27th century that allowed trade of goods from one century to another. However, those that controlled Eternity also controlled human history.

I loved the big concepts in this novel. The
Bar Reads
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Officially my favourite book read in 2016!
Eric Allen
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I recently watched a TV series called Steins;gate. It started out as a lighthearted comedy, where a self-proclaimed mad scientist creates a time machine that allows him to send text messages into the past, by making the plate in his microwave turn backwards. It was really funny and entertaining, and then it went really, really dark as all of the consequences to changes in the past that they made with the machine started hitting, and they spent the rest of the series trying to undo or otherwise f ...more
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paper, favorites, 2015
This book is amazing. I would say that Asimov is amazing too, but since I’ve only read The End of Eternity, and given the great amount of books that he wrote, that wouldn’t be fair. But nevertheless, the Asimov I saw there is amazing and that’s enough.

Short books are a dangerous thing. They seem the perfect choice if one wants to read but has little time, but may become an endless torment (like Crash) or a time-consuming obsession (like The End of Eternity). In both cases you need to end the bo
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a way, it's unfortunate that so much of Asimov's fiction falls into his massive future history of Foundations and robots and galactic empires. And then, in the 80's, Asimov littered his canon with so many subpar prequels and refits and bridges that the few singletons he had were even further buried beneath the onslaught. And that's too bad, because The End of Eternity is the best novel Asimov ever wrote.

It has all the hallmarks of his best work, the supremely cool high concept, the strict lo
Goran Lowie
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2017
This book made me think about time travel and space exploration like no other book has done before.
James Renner
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love going back to the classics. It’s fun to see what inspired modern-day novelists and screenwriters when they were kids. The End of Eternity, by Isaac Asimov, surely inspired cool stories like The Adjustment Bureau, Fringe, 12 Monkeys, Looper, and Primer.

Check it out: the story is told from the perspective of an “Observer” whose job it is to tweak history so that the aggregate majority of humans live in the highest achievable state of happiness. Just outside of Time is this place called Eter
Manuel Alfonseca
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
ENGLISH: This book is quite similar to "Guardians of time" by Poul Anderson, but in a certain sense it is also its opposite. In both cases, time travel is supposed to be possible and the present can be changed by manipulating the past. But in Anderson's series of stories, our far descendants stage the time guardians to prevent those changes in the past that would affect their own existence. What happens in Asimov's novel is quite the opposite. This is understandable, for the end of the novel mak ...more
I have conflicting feelings about this book.
I hate the two main characters, Harlan and Noys, and it is their relationship, as described in the book, makes no sense for me whatsoever. Insta love is already a pet peeve of mine, but the irrational behavior that is caused by it in this book is next level bullshit.
However, I love time travel stories and this one has some extremely fascinating aspects. The whole concept of the Eternity is interesting, though I don't agree with the way it is constructe
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
i've always liked time travel stories and was looking forward for this one coming from DA master. and although i liked the story well enough i think that it becomes convoluted toward the end when it deals with the scientific aspect of his logic in the tale and, hence, looses momentum. in spite of that, the overall premise is really interesting and it deals more with destiny/free will than time travel which is a nice mix always. it amazes me still how many different stories can be created around ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Andrew Harlan bothered me with the way he jumped to conclusions and then proceeded to interpret everything based upon those unjustified conclusions. However, I loved the premise and Asimov gives the reader some unexpected twists in the final quarter of the book.
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read of an SF Classic.

There are numerous time travel stories in the literature, including Timescape by Gregory Benford and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch with their multiplying timelines, but this early entry by the master Isaac Asimov, is one of the leading examples of the immutable timeline. In The End of Eternity, mankind has discovered the secret of time travel, and in the process further determined that there is only one reality or timeline, which can be changed to a large or small degree
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: time-travel
This is vintage Asimov, a novel exuding brilliance in imagination and intelligent philosophising of possible future realities. How better to muse about what different realities we can face about the future from near to far to...eternity, without the plot device of time travelling. Asimov puts this plot device to great use by exploring the various destinies that human motives can achieve or fall victim of. The story ingeniously threads these philosophical questions and tells a story about eternit ...more
I don't know whether I began reading Asimov's nonfiction or fiction works first. I do know that I wrote a fan letter to him and actually got a reply back. Granted, it was a form-letter postcard but it was still pretty "cool" that I was "corresponding" with an actual author.

I was also very selective in what I read. I enjoyed the first three books of the Foundation but I never had any desire to read any of the Robot novels, and subsequent Foundation novels were disappointing (with the brilliant ex
Bon Tom
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
There comes a day when you have to let your kid walk alone and do the trip to school by himself. You tell him to watch the traffic, and hope for the best, e.e. that he'll get back in one piece.

That's how I felt when I just decided to let my brain take the trip of this book, although I won't be following him every step of the way. Because I just couldn't. But I knew it would be good for him.

It came back changed. He was telling me about what he experienced along the way. I was listening with aston
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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 one of the most prolific writers 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 o

Articles featuring this book

Science fiction is endless fun for those who appreciate thoughtful conjecture. As a genre, sci-fi encourages rule...
90 likes · 19 comments
“The final end of Eternity, and the beginning of Infinity” 55 likes
“It is in meeting the great tests that mankind can most successfully rise to great heights. Out of danger and restless insecurity comes the force that pushes mankind to newer and loftier conquests. Can you understand that? Can you understand that in averting the pitfalls and miseries that beset man, Eternity prevents men from finding their own bitter and better solutions, the real solutions that come from conquering difficulty, not avoiding it?” 29 likes
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