|The End of Eternity|
Dust-jacket from the first edition
|Genre(s)||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback))|
The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov is a science fiction novel, with mystery and thriller elements, on the subjects of time travel and social engineering. Isaac Asimov (c January 2 1920 &ndash April 6 1992 ˈaɪzək ˈæzɪmʌv originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as, was a Russian The United States of America —commonly referred to as the English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States A novel (from Italian novella, Spanish novela, French nouvelle for "new" "news" or "short story Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of Literature or Information &ndash the activity of making information available for public view The Doubleday Publishing Group is the fifth largest Book Publishing company in the world A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) is a Book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with Cloth Paperback, softback, or softcover describe and refer to a Book by the nature of its binding. Isaac Asimov (c January 2 1920 &ndash April 6 1992 ˈaɪzək ˈæzɪmʌv originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as, was a Russian The thriller is a broad Genre of Literature, Film, Gaming and Television. This article details time travel itself For other uses see Time Traveler. Social engineering is a concept in Political science that refers to efforts to influence popular Attitudes and Social behavior on a large scale whether
The themes are very different from most of his robot and 'space opera' stories, and take a clever approach to time paradoxes. Some people consider it his best work, or at least one of the best. (This view is recorded in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is a Reference work on Science fiction. )
In December 1953, Asimov was thumbing through a copy of the March 28, 1932 issue of Time when he noticed what looked at first glance like a drawing of the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion. Events 37 - Roman Emperor Caligula accepts the titles of the Principate, entitled to him by the Senate. Year 1932 ( MCMXXXII) was a Leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. Time (trademarked in capitals as TIME) is a weekly American Newsmagazine, similar to Newsweek and A mushroom cloud is a distinctive Mushroom -shaped Cloud of condensed Water vapor or Debris resulting from a very large Explosion. A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from Nuclear reactions either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. A longer look showed him that the drawing was actually the Old Faithful geyser. A geyser is a Hot spring characterized by intermittent discharge of water ejected turbulently and accomplished by a vapour phase However, he began pondering the question of what the implications would be if there had been a drawing of a mushroom cloud in a magazine from 1932, and he eventually came up with the plot of a time travel story. This article details time travel itself For other uses see Time Traveler. He began the story, called "The End of Eternity" on December 7, and finished it on February 6, 1954, by which time it was 25,000 words long. Events 43 BC - Marcus Tullius Cicero assassinated 1696 - Connecticut Route 108, one of the oldest highways Events 46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats the combined army of Pompeian followers and Numidians under Metellus Scipio Year 1954 ( MCMLIV) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1954 Gregorian calendar) Asimov submitted the story to Galaxy Science Fiction, and within days received a call from Galaxy editor Horace L. Gold, rejecting the story. Galaxy Science Fiction was a digest-size Science fiction magazine, the creation of noted editor H Horace Leonard Gold ( April 26, 1914, Montreal Quebec, Canada - February 21, 1996, Laguna Hills California Asimov decided to turn the story into a novel, and on March 17 he left it with Walter I. Events 45 BC - In his last victory Julius Caesar defeats the Pompeian forces of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger Bradbury, the science fiction editor at Doubleday, to get his opinion. The Doubleday Publishing Group is the fifth largest Book Publishing company in the world Bradbury was receptive, and by April 7 Asimov was informed that a contract for the novel was in the works. Events 529 - First draft of Corpus Juris Civilis (a fundamental work in Jurisprudence) is issued by Eastern Roman Emperor He began expanding the story, eventually delivering the novel version to Bradbury on December 13. Events 1294 - Saint Celestine V abdicates the papacy after only five months Celestine hoped to return to his previous life Doubleday accepted the novel and it was published in August 1955.
Despite being written by a highly intelligent former scientist, the novel reflects the state of knowledge of its time, some of which has been superseded. For instance, the power source for the time travellers is referred to as "Nova Sol", a link to the far future being used to tap the energy of the exploding Sun. The Sun (Sol is the Star at the center of the Solar System. It is now known that stars of the Sun's size and situation do not explode, and in fact novae are not exploding stars. A nova (pl novae or novas) is a Cataclysmic nuclear explosion caused by the accretion of hydrogen onto the surface of a White (Only Type II supernovae are genuine exploding stars. A supernova (plural supernovae or supernovas) is a stellar Explosion. )
As may be seen below, the novel may also be counted as the prequel to the Empire series of novels, which form part of The Foundation Series. The Foundation Series is an epic Science fiction series written over a span of forty-four years by Isaac Asimov. He had already included a kind of time-travel in his 1950 novel Pebble in the Sky, though there it was a one-way trip. Pebble in the Sky is a Science fiction Novel by Isaac Asimov, published in 1950.
The original End of Eternity appeared in 1986 in a collection called The Alternate Asimovs. The Alternate Asimovs, Science Fiction by Isaac Asimov, 1986.
The story opens in the strange all-male world of the time-travelling Eternals, with its unfamiliar ranks and hierarchies. It has points in common with both professional science as it was in the 1950s and with the military - designations like the 482nd Century remind one of military terminology. But this world is also a thing in itself, with unique qualities.
The top rank are known as Computers — true to the original meaning, someone who performed complex calculations, with or without artificial aids. A computer is a Machine that manipulates data according to a list of instructions. In this case they have access to a 'Computaplex' or 'Computing machines'. Asimov was rather ahead of his time in recognising the limits of such devices - they depend on the assumptions fed to them. There is also the small unavoidable element of uncertainty which cannot be removed: this was well before chaos theory proved that any system must suffer such limits. In Mathematics, chaos theory describes the behavior of certain dynamical systems – that is systems whose state evolves with time – that may exhibit dynamics that
The psychology of the protagonist Harlan and the other Eternals is interesting. Not a vast amount of introspection, but an odd view of the world, in time rather than space, that emerges by conversations and conflicts among people who see it as normal. Women are a confusing element, prized but generally unavailable. One particular woman is pivotal to the plot, of course, and it is a strange kind of love-story as well as a mystery and thriller.
The Eternity of the title is an organization and a place which exists outside time. It is staffed by humans (usually male) called Eternals who are recruited from different eras of human history commencing with the twenty-seventh century. The Eternals are capable of traveling “upwhen” and “downwhen” within Eternity and entering the conventional temporal world at almost any point of their choice, apart from a section of the far future which they cannot enter. Collectively they form a corps of Platonic guardians who carry out carefully calculated and planned strategic minimum actions, called Reality Changes, within the temporal world in order to minimise human suffering as integrated over the whole of (future) human history. The Republic ( Greek: / Politeía, meaning "political system" Latin: Res Publica, meaning "public business" or
A key plot element that emerges quickly as the story unfolds is the relatively static nature of the human societies in the various future centuries, and the repeated failure of space travel in all accessible centuries. We later learn that Twissell (Harlan’s superior) is from "a Century in the 30,000's" - three million years in the future - yet nothing much is different in that time.
The pivotal moment of the story arrives when the protagonist, Andrew Harlan, an expert in executing Reality Changes, realizes that he is part of a paradoxical scheme to secure the creation of Eternity by sending a young Eternal back in time with the mathematical knowledge to make it possible. Harlan himself is in trouble with the leaders of Eternity. He has been entrapped by one of them into entering into a relationship with a non-Eternal woman, Noÿs Lambent. This was intended merely to prove a point about the effect of Eternity on the individuals from real time who learn of it, but it has the unintended consequence of making Harlan besotted with the woman, so much so that he smuggles her into Eternity, since he has discovered that she will cease to exist in real time when the Eternals make their next Reality Change. Unintended consequences are outcomes that are not (or not limited to what the actor intended in a particular situation Harlan’s whole scheme comes apart when it is revealed the leaders are fully aware of his activities.
Normally the Eternals traverse from century to century within Eternity in a kind of temporal elevator called a kettle. A special version of the kettle has been built, however, for Harlan to dispatch a young Eternal, one Brinsley Sheridan Cooper, back to the 24th century, which lies “beyond the downwhen terminus” accessible via Eternity and its kettle system. Cooper is carefully instructed that he is to teach the principles and technology of time travel to its historic inventor, Vikkor Malansohn, but unbeknownst to Cooper or Harlan, he will actually become Malansohn himself. However Harlan, filled with malice after being confronted with his crimes, scrambles the time settings just as the special kettle departs. Cooper is trapped in the wrong time, so Eternity cannot be created. Unless something is done to change the past, Harlan’s reality, and Eternity, will be erased from existence.
Calming down, Harlan tries to think of a way that Cooper, also adept in the concept of Reality Change, could send him a message to return and retrieve him. Harlan believes that the apparently random target setting he chose on the kettle was the 20th century, and it occurs to him that Cooper was interested in his collection of artifacts from that time, particularly magazines. Perhaps the trapped Cooper would have found a way of leaving his SOS message in one of them.
This is where Asimov’s mistaken “mushroom cloud” appears in the novel. Harlan comes upon an ad for stock tips - All the Talk Of the Market, concealing the acronym A-T-O-M, accompanying a drawing of a mushroom cloud. The year on the masthead of the preserved publication is 1932. Since this predates the first atomic explosion, it must be a coded message from someone from the future. A reality change caused by Cooper.
Before he reveals this discovery to the other Eternals, Harlan exacts a price, his lover is to be returned to him and both will go back to rescue Cooper. Once the couple arrive in 1932, Harlan reveals his last surprise. He has deduced that the woman, Noÿs Lambent, is herself an agent of Reality Change. She is from those centuries the Eternals cannot enter.
She does not deny it. Instead she tells Harlan that her people, who prefer to watch past time rather than travel in it or change it, discovered that Eternity was suppressing the creative individuals in humanity in order to protect the rest. In the end this has the effect of denying humanity's access to the stars, as alien species advance technologically and confine humanity to Earth. Eventually humanity will die out, millions of years in the future, leaving an empty Earth. However, if Eternity could be prevented from being created, humans would leave Earth and colonize the stars. Thus they cut themselves off from Eternity and began to plot its demise.
Noÿs Lambent reveals that in order to make Eternity improbable, Harlan needs only to decide to leave Cooper stranded in 1932. She also intends to send a carefully-worded letter to Italy, causing a man (presumably Enrico Fermi) to "begin experimenting with the neutronic bombardment of uranium". This will start a chain of events which will lead to the first atom bomb in 1945. In the reality known up to that point, atomic power was not discovered until after Eternity was created. Acquiring the technology sooner to supply energy, humanity will gain an additional time advantage to leave Earth, and maximize the probability of building a Galactic Empire.
Harlan at first intends to kill Noÿs and carry out his mission, but in comparing her story to that of the freakish and occasionally inhuman Eternals he has encountered, Harlan confirms his lingering suspicions that Eternity has been wrong for humanity. At the very moment he decides to help her, a Reality Change occurs and the 'kettle' linking them with Eternity vanishes into thin air.
The plot provides an example of a strange loop and of an ontological paradox. A strange loop arises when by moving up or down through a hierarchical system one finds oneself back where one started An ontological paradox is a paradox of Time travel that questions the existence and creation of information and objects that travel in time The Eternals make use of time travel in an effort to protect humanity while the bulk of humanity has no idea that Eternity exists in order to change Reality. The Eternals never realize that they are themselves perpetuating the biggest catastrophe that ever besets human kind. In order to correct the situation, humans from the far-distant future must secretly infiltrate and manipulate the Eternals into altering the not-so-distant past.
The encoded message concerning atomic power is not entirely convincing within the bounds of Asimov’s concept - H. G. Wells could conceive of both atomic power and atomic weapons in The World Set Free (1914), and he was not alone in this. The World Set Free is a novel published in 1914 by H G Wells. Fermi's work was important, but the lack of it does not guarantee the delay of development of atomic power to the 30th Century. This final plot twist does nevertheless signal to the reader what was previously hidden, in “whodunit” fashion - that the new future being created by Harlan and Noÿs corresponds to the reader’s future, and that 'Eternity' was actually a dead end.
The novel’s closing provides the reader with a reassuring perspective for what future will come into existence:
As written, The End of Eternity suggests that the new reality is the one that leads onto the Galactic Empire and Foundation, but does not confirm it. The mechanism of time travel might be that stumbled across in Pebble In The Sky. Pebble in the Sky is a Science fiction Novel by Isaac Asimov, published in 1950. The 'neuronic whip' from The Currents of Space is also found in The End of Eternity. The Currents of Space is a 1952 novel by the American Science fiction author Isaac Asimov. It is predicted that the Earth will end up mostly radioactive, as per The Stars Like Dust and Pebble In The Sky. The Stars Like Dust is a 1951 Science fiction book by writer Isaac Asimov. Pebble in the Sky is a Science fiction Novel by Isaac Asimov, published in 1950. There are also no aliens who could compete with humans - see Blind Alley, in which the aliens' predicament is rather like that which will overtake humanity if 'Eternity' is not prevented. Blind Alley is a Science fiction Short story by Isaac Asimov.
The woman from the far future does explain that her people are working to ensure that a Galactic Empire becomes a certainty. The hint could mean that a real record got through but was garbled, confusing the Eternals with their unnamed enemies. Noÿs says "we will remain to have children and grandchildren, and mankind will remain to reach the stars". If they had passed on some knowledge, they might have been selective and not mentioned the dangerous alternatives.
The original unpublished End of Eternity is clearly a different future from that of the Foundation. The Alternate Asimovs, Science Fiction by Isaac Asimov, 1986. But Asimov says in his story-postscript that he had some idea of a bridge in the published version. 
Asimov placed a hint in Foundation's Edge many years later, that the Eternals might have been responsible for the all-human galaxy (and the development of humanity on Earth) of the Foundation Series But that interpretation is disputed. Foundation's Edge is a novel by Isaac Asimov, the fourth book in the Foundation Series. EARTH was a short-lived Japanese vocal trio which released 6 singles and 1 album between 2000 and 2001 The Foundation Series is an epic Science fiction series written over a span of forty-four years by Isaac Asimov. Asimov himself mentions the disparity.  The human-like robots may have been intended to play a part.  It is one of the loose ends that he may have planned to clean up, but which his death obviously prevented.
The novella Great Work of Time by John Crowley shares the basic outline of "The End of Eternity" - i. A novella is a written, Fictional Prose Narrative longer than a Novelette but shorter than a Novel. Great Work of Time is a Novella by John Crowley. A Science fiction story involving Time travel, it concerns a Secret society John Crowley (born December 1, 1942) is an American author of Fantasy, Science fiction and mainstream fiction e. a secret society of well-meaning time travelers bent on remodeling history, and a young man recruited into the society in order to make a specific change that would bring this society itself into being. However, the details are completely different from those in Asimov's book: on the one hand, Crowley's time travelers are far more "localised" than Asimov's, being mainly concerned to "redesign" the Twentieth Century, prevent the World Wars and perpetuate the British Empire; on the other hand, the unforeseen results of their interference are catastrophic in a far more fundamental way than in the Asimov book. The British Empire was the largest empire in history and for over a century was the foremost global power.