The End of Eternity (Asimov)

After weeks of focussed attention on a computer screen and decoding obfuscated messages from gdb and other “tools” I needed a break. I wanted something small and fast. The first book I picked up, “Calcutta chromosome” by Amitav Ghosh, turned out to be a mistake. Amitav Ghosh writes high literature about common-place life, not suited, at all, for a person suffering from attention deficiency.

After about 10 pages, I gave up on that (mind you I will pick that up again when I can bring myself to focus). Then on the way to a disappointing movie on the importance of greed (“Wall Street II”) I came across a nice small Asimov book. Having read (and liked) the foundation series and a couple of short stories of his, I scanned through the first few pages. I couldn’t put it down. 2 days later, I finished it!

The book, in story format, is a study in time-travel and discusses the pros and cons of time travel. Going into much detail about a possible way in which time-travel can be “discovered” and its maintenance thereof, Asimov’s ideas are beautifully detailed and connected with a lot of logic and, more importantly, imagination. Science is never boring with professor Asimov, especially with his characteristic twist in the tail.

Andrew Harlan is a technician, his job is to “fix” reality in various centuries, for the “greater good” of mankind. By using Tensor calculus he is able to arrive at, and implement, the “Minimum Necessary Change” required in a current reality to bring about a preferred target reality. All goes well until Cupid’s arrows, travelling in time, prick him. How will reality change?

The book has quite an interesting background as well. But its full of spoilers, I would advise reading the book first and then reading the link.