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The storyline features members of one of two factions, both capable of time travel, engaged in a long-term conflict called "The Change War". Their method of battle involves changing the outcomes of events throughout history (temporal war). The two opposing groups are nicknamed the Spiders and the Snakes after their respective sponsors. The true forms or identities of the Spiders and the Snakes, how those nicknames were chosen, or whether they are in any way descriptive are all unknown. The narrator of the novel is Greta, a young human female employed at a Recouperation Station where soldiers recover from battles.
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By Michael G Kurilla on 10-26-17
Classic sci-fi with a unique take on time travel
Fritz Leiber's The Big Time is an old sci-tale from over 50 years ago that was one of the earliest Hugo award winners (1958). The title refers to a plane of existence beyond our present dimensions where two opposing forces vie for apparent supremacy by fighting each other as well as subtly altering the past to favor their side. Most of the action takes place in an R&R facility removed from the fighting and is told by a resident entertainer.
The sci-fi elements mainly involve time travel with participants experiencing past alterations as change winds that shift attitudes and perceptions. Intelligent non-humans are also present from the distant past as well as the distant future. Leiber was playing with the idea that various forms of life could be grouped into a focus on energy, space, or time, and that the war was a form of evolution to merge all three.
The narration is quite good with a solid range of characters, good pacing, and appropriate tone. Sadly, the story does not have that timeless quality and doesn't translate well to present day.
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