Isaac Asimov, The End of Eternity
In a futuristic society, the Eternals rule the world, they can time travel, and alter the course of humanity when it is necessary. But time travel and time altering acts have rules. Andrew Harlan is one of the Eternals, but what could happen if, after falling in love, he decided to disobey the rules?
I love books about time travel and I think this one IS the ultimate time-travel novel. Asimov takes this difficult subject on a great, global scale, and I had never seen this treatment of time travel before.
Usually time travel fiction involves one person or a group of persons, and a small slice of time. Authors tip-toe around this tricky theme, afraid to become entangled in paradoxes too hard to solve. But Asimov, as a true scientist, was not afraid to apply time travel to humanity as a whole and on a vertiginous time scale. At first a bit confusing and slow going, it soon becomes clearer and very fascinating and leaves the reader satisfied, giving us the grounds for a philosophic reflection about mankind as a conclusion.
It is the first time I finish a novel of this kind without raking my brain thinking “but this could not have been possible because…” And to think it was written in 1955: wow! As far as sci-fi goes, Asimov hasn’t been topped yet, that is for sure…