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Publisher's Summary

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
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Critic Reviews

“His most effective piece of work. Asimov’s exemplary clarity in plotting is precisely suited to the material at hand. Asimov’s engagement with the present is clearer here than in his other works, as is his engagement with the human.” ( Locus)
"Asimov’s flirtation with the tropes employed by A. E. van Vogt and Charles Harness is startling for an author deemed ultra-rational and scientific....The effects of this influential, seminal book echo to the present, in the works of such writers as Greg Egan, John Varley, Kage Baker, and Greg Bear." (
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By C. A. T. on 08-27-12

Superior Time Travel Story

I think this might be Asimov's best novel. It's a very different approach to time travel stories. He uses many paradoxes that twist it's way into the perfect ending. Only Asimov can write a story like this and keep in believable.


The story consists of Eternals live outside of time as we know it. They can travel up and down through a created time tunnel in lifts called kettles. Technicians calculate changes needed throughout various centuries to minimize human suffering and war and keep humanity balanced.

One of these Eternals makes contact with someone from the unreachable centuries who doesn’t want Eternity to be invented, and this person wants to help end Eternity instead of creating it.

There is a monstrous choice to be made - Asimov asks what would you do in their place? The story, in my opinion, is a foreign but credible dive into the effects of time travel, changing time and the social ramifications of doing so. Should we really interfere?

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By M.W. on 03-22-11

Narrator's voice will not "bore you to death!"

I almost didn't buy this after reading the reviews about the narrator's voice, but you have nothing to worry about. This is coming from a listener who is already spoiled by great narrators like Scott Brick. The tone and inflections are very appropriate for the characters and create a mood that another narrator could not match. On the other hand, if hard science fiction bores you, don't buy this book. If you want a classic time-travel mystery that has surprising and satisfying twists and turns, then this is a great book! When you finish it, the first thing you will wonder is, "Why haven't they made a movie out of this yet?" It is that good, and yes, a movie is in the works. You will never forget the odd city of Eternity that sits outside of time, but feels like it is right next door!

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26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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