Issac Asimov’s End of Eternity review & thoughts

Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
Length: 8hrs 11mins
Release date: 14th Jan 2010 (audiobook)
Original release date: 1955 (print book)

Listen to a sample here: Issac Asimov’s End of Eternity on audible.

Intro

I’m part of a science-fiction group on wechat, and while there’s a lot of crap talked about on there, there’s a couple of guys that really know their stuff.

One of them was talking about Asimov.

I heard about the author before, he is renown to be one of the ‘original’ or best early writers of science fiction.

And with a little research form Wikipedia I find that writings were responsible for the much acclaimed Bicentennial Man (with Robin Williams) & iRobot (featuring Will Smith)

Also, he is known for ‘Asimov’s 3 laws of Robotics’  otherwise known as the ethical code of robots that are referenced in many other science fiction books and movies.

  1. First Law– A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. Second Law– A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. Third Law– A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

So… yeah, I thought it might be worth reading one of his books and seeing what all the fuss was about – padding up my foundation of science fiction books and ideas.

Basic story line?

It’s a time loop paradox kind of story that hopes to correct itself.

Here’s the publisher’s summary, because it gives a bit more detail into the characters and outline, but essentially the story is above:

This stand-alone work is widely regarded as Asimov’s best science-fiction novel.

Andrew Harlan is an Eternal, a member of the elite of the future. One of the few who live in Eternity, a location outside of place and time, Harlan’s job is to create carefully controlled and enacted Reality Changes. These Changes are small, exactingly calculated shifts in the course of history, made for the benefit of humankind.

Though each Change has been made for the greater good, there are also always costs. During one of his assignments, Harlan meets and falls in love with Noÿs Lambert, a woman who lives in real time and space. Then Harlan learns that Noÿs will cease to exist after the next Change, and he risks everything to sneak her into Eternity.

©1955 Isaac Asimov. All rights reserved. (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks America

Thoughts, critique?

It’s a difficult one to say, because I’ve obviously read/ listened/ watched a lot of great time paradox themed movies, TV shows and books.
Yet… this was one of the originals.  The problem is that I’ve consumed the more recent versions 1st, and they’ve all built themselves off Asimov’s humble beginnings.

So I would argue that they are better.  Yet had I listened to Asimov’s ‘End of Eternity’ 1st, I would definitely say that this was the original, and so this was better, and provided foundation for all the others.

What others am I talking about?

Futurama for instance.  Bender’s Big score  available here: https://www.thewatchcartoononline.tv/futurama-season-5-episode-1-2-3-4-benders-big-score-part-1-2-3-4

Deals with a time paradox, read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurama:_Bender%27s_Big_Score

Looper watch trailer here :

Primer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primer_(film)  One of the most complicated time paradox films.

The Time Traveller’s Wife

There’s loads of them in reality,  even Blackadder did one called Blackadder Back & Forth.

But the thing is…the majority of these are all better than one of the originals, being End of Eternity.

Where this is different is in the agency that controls the time changing ability, and how that plays into it. In unconsciously asks the question of if fate plays into everything or not. If we are outside and control things then fate holds no bounds, but what happens if we were meant to do this change in the 1st place, and us thinking that we’re outside of it… is actually not true.

It reminds me a bit of The One with Jet li. (the agency at least, not the concept)

So, Recommendation?

Unless you want to catch up on your sci-fi history, and get a slightly new perspective….then I wouldn’t recommend it to be honest.

It’s a shame because apparently, according to the Publisher’s summary, this is meant to be one of Asimov’s greatest stories.  If that is true, then I don’t really want to listen to/ read the rest.  I’d rather discover something new. Or… rest in my laurels that many stories may have used Asimov’s thinking as a basis, yet hopefully improved on it.

For that I’m grateful, but I’m not going to be rushing back to listen to any more, nor would I really recommend many others to do the same.