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'One of those complex and enormously inventive stories... based on some real, honest, practical ethical thinking. It is an idea book.' - Groff Conklin in Galaxy Science Fiction Asher Sutton has been lost in deepest space for twenty years. Suddenly arrives a warning from the future, that he will return- and that he must be killed. He is destined to write a book whose message 'One of those complex and enormously inventive stories... based on some real, honest, practical ethical thinking. It is an idea book.' - Groff Conklin in Galaxy Science Fiction Asher Sutton has been lost in deepest space for twenty years. Suddenly arrives a warning from the future, that he will return- and that he must be killed. He is destined to write a book whose message may lead to the death of millions in centuries to come. For this reason Sutton is hounded by the sinister warring factions of the future who wish to influence or prevent the writing of this book he has not yet begun to write. Yet already a copy has been found in the burnt-out wreckage of a space-craft on Aldebaran XII.


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'One of those complex and enormously inventive stories... based on some real, honest, practical ethical thinking. It is an idea book.' - Groff Conklin in Galaxy Science Fiction Asher Sutton has been lost in deepest space for twenty years. Suddenly arrives a warning from the future, that he will return- and that he must be killed. He is destined to write a book whose message 'One of those complex and enormously inventive stories... based on some real, honest, practical ethical thinking. It is an idea book.' - Groff Conklin in Galaxy Science Fiction Asher Sutton has been lost in deepest space for twenty years. Suddenly arrives a warning from the future, that he will return- and that he must be killed. He is destined to write a book whose message may lead to the death of millions in centuries to come. For this reason Sutton is hounded by the sinister warring factions of the future who wish to influence or prevent the writing of this book he has not yet begun to write. Yet already a copy has been found in the burnt-out wreckage of a space-craft on Aldebaran XII.

30 review for Time and Again

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I love Simak. Whenever I'm in the mood for some old-time SF that can still be read with joy today, lacking the most pernicious queasy qualities of the time-period in which popular fiction thrived back then, I always turn to Simak. He never lets me down. It's just plain fun. This book is no different. It's a time-travel paradox story on the fringes, but at its heart, it's all about Destiny. A guy tries to see what he can see with some strange aliens, comes back missing 20 years and a mysterious gr I love Simak. Whenever I'm in the mood for some old-time SF that can still be read with joy today, lacking the most pernicious queasy qualities of the time-period in which popular fiction thrived back then, I always turn to Simak. He never lets me down. It's just plain fun. This book is no different. It's a time-travel paradox story on the fringes, but at its heart, it's all about Destiny. A guy tries to see what he can see with some strange aliens, comes back missing 20 years and a mysterious group is out to kill him. Sounds like pretty standard thriller-SF, right? Well, in this case, it's really about leveling up, writing a book that will have a grand effect on the rest of future humanity, making a difference to all the downtrodden androids and aliens who suffer from the "largesse" of the super-dominant mankind. A light and a once-removed tale of race issues, sure, but this book from 1950 focuses on the heart of it, doesn't stint on pushing for equality, and even pokes huge holes in "Manifest Destiny". Back then, I'm sure the term was used to the nausea of everyone, but not now. Even so, it's interesting to see such a forceful condemnation. :) It may be old hat now, but the rest of the story is delightful and fast-paced. :) Duels, corporations with a million-year strategy, a time war, and paradox-poking. Very good classic SF. :)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Younger

    Wow. This story was so multi-layered, I shake my head in utter amazement that it was written in 1951. If the author were still alive, I'd put it on my dream list to shake his hand and thank him for his talent with words. It's no wonder he won so many awards in his career. This is a book of philosophy about the meaning of destiny hidden in the guise of Science Fiction. Amidst the requisite time travel theme, it touches on the nature of mankind with its illusion of superiority over all living things Wow. This story was so multi-layered, I shake my head in utter amazement that it was written in 1951. If the author were still alive, I'd put it on my dream list to shake his hand and thank him for his talent with words. It's no wonder he won so many awards in his career. This is a book of philosophy about the meaning of destiny hidden in the guise of Science Fiction. Amidst the requisite time travel theme, it touches on the nature of mankind with its illusion of superiority over all living things. The forgotten value of humility. Evolution. The untapped power of the mind and spirit. The might of the "corporation" that works to enslave the common man's mind. And the power games of war that stem from the need to fight back for a measure of sovereignty that allows for a life lived with dignity. Mr Simak does all that in one solid story line that doesn't let up until the last line that leaves you breathless. Read it. Digest it. And see if you don't question both yourself and the society we live in on deeper levels.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rasheed

    What would you think if you found an old book signed with your name-and learned that it bore a date in the distant future? It happens to Asher Sutton, and upon setting out to investigate the incredible enigma, he finds that book a ticket to a galactic empire many thousands of years from now! Definitely my favourite time-travel novel so far!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gerold Whittaker

    While the first few chapters had the makings of a really good time-travel book, it just seemed to bog down later on - to the point where I simply skipped over some of the paragraphs. Most of the time travel in the book are just references to things which will happen in the future for example, the text of a book, not yet written, found in the burnt-out wreckage of a space-craft.... The book had so much promise but just didn't deliver. While the first few chapters had the makings of a really good time-travel book, it just seemed to bog down later on - to the point where I simply skipped over some of the paragraphs. Most of the time travel in the book are just references to things which will happen in the future for example, the text of a book, not yet written, found in the burnt-out wreckage of a space-craft.... The book had so much promise but just didn't deliver.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David

    Oh dear, this book is a bit of a mess. It's about time travel....no, it's about androids and Asimovian space cops... No, it's about biology and symbiotic life forms...no, it's about time travel again...no, it's a scathing critique of manifest destiny...no, it's about a war between androids and humanity...no, it's about mutant humans with special powers...no, I'm not sure what it's about. Oh dear, this book is a bit of a mess. It's about time travel....no, it's about androids and Asimovian space cops... No, it's about biology and symbiotic life forms...no, it's about time travel again...no, it's a scathing critique of manifest destiny...no, it's about a war between androids and humanity...no, it's about mutant humans with special powers...no, I'm not sure what it's about.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ann-Marie

    I discovered Clifford Simak nearly 35 years ago. I was a young mother, and his tales of robots and dogs genetically engineered to talk were balm to my soul. Maybe man would disappear someday in the future, but something would continue. Thank goodness I didn't read "Time and Again" back then. This is a very disturbing book about what it means to be human, destiny as a concept and Manifest Destiny. If we isolate what ever it is that makes us human is it worth preserving the human race, or is that I discovered Clifford Simak nearly 35 years ago. I was a young mother, and his tales of robots and dogs genetically engineered to talk were balm to my soul. Maybe man would disappear someday in the future, but something would continue. Thank goodness I didn't read "Time and Again" back then. This is a very disturbing book about what it means to be human, destiny as a concept and Manifest Destiny. If we isolate what ever it is that makes us human is it worth preserving the human race, or is that it? There are no talking dogs here, and the androids may be kindly companions, or they may not. Or they may not be androids at all. At least the hero, Ash Sutton, is human ...

  7. 5 out of 5

    David (דוד)

    3.5 stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robert 'Rev. Bob'

    I wanted to like this a lot more than I did, but it wasn't the sort of book I thought it would be. The title and blurb imply that this is primarily a time travel adventure. It is not. True, there is some time travel and some adventure, but mainly this is a philosophical musing upon the nature of religious sects. The main character is perhaps most akin to the Buddha, in that he writes a book that describes a worldview and becomes quite influential. In fact, it is so important a text that a group o I wanted to like this a lot more than I did, but it wasn't the sort of book I thought it would be. The title and blurb imply that this is primarily a time travel adventure. It is not. True, there is some time travel and some adventure, but mainly this is a philosophical musing upon the nature of religious sects. The main character is perhaps most akin to the Buddha, in that he writes a book that describes a worldview and becomes quite influential. In fact, it is so important a text that a group of people create a new version of it, annotating it to twist it into saying things they find more palatable. The time travel aspect is that he hasn't written the book yet, and both factions want him to produce the version they prefer. If that sounds interesting to you, and you can cope with the inevitable anachronisms of a book six decades old which discusses events six millennia hence, I recommend it. I enjoyed those aspects myself, but the experience was like ordering steak and getting barbecue. Both are satisfying meals on their own, but when you're served something you didn't order, it's a bit harder to swallow.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Palfrey

    This book has two themes run together, one of which works better than the other. The first theme is about Asher Sutton and what he found on the seventh planet of 61 Cygni. This is classic, magnificent sense-of-wonder sf, told in Simak's unhurried, thoughtful prose. The second theme is about the world Sutton came from: a far-future society of humans and their android servants, treated as inferiors although they're the same in almost every respect as humans made in the traditional way. I don't believ This book has two themes run together, one of which works better than the other. The first theme is about Asher Sutton and what he found on the seventh planet of 61 Cygni. This is classic, magnificent sense-of-wonder sf, told in Simak's unhurried, thoughtful prose. The second theme is about the world Sutton came from: a far-future society of humans and their android servants, treated as inferiors although they're the same in almost every respect as humans made in the traditional way. I don't believe in this future society, so for me the book's second theme agonizes pointlessly over a non-issue. The Android Problem was a preoccupation of sf writers around the middle of the twentieth century, but I think it's been out of fashion for decades by now, and it has the quaintness you sometimes find when writers in the past imagine the future and get it wrong. Thus, this novel is in part a great classic, but it also has elements that don't really stand the test of time. Simak was of my grandparents' generation, approximately; and by now I'm old enough to be a grandfather myself.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tomislav

    I read an Open Road Media re-publication of this 1951 novel in kindle format because there was a short-term deep price cut for it on Amazon, and I have always liked Clifford Simak’s work. It is sad now to give this as low a rating as I have. I highly recommend his best novels – Way Station and City. The problem with the book is that there are two plots. The novel first has Ash Sutton who has returned from a twenty-year first-contact mission to 61 Cygni. He died there, and was brought back to life I read an Open Road Media re-publication of this 1951 novel in kindle format because there was a short-term deep price cut for it on Amazon, and I have always liked Clifford Simak’s work. It is sad now to give this as low a rating as I have. I highly recommend his best novels – Way Station and City. The problem with the book is that there are two plots. The novel first has Ash Sutton who has returned from a twenty-year first-contact mission to 61 Cygni. He died there, and was brought back to life by some alien force, leaving an additional personality in his head that he has named Johnny. Ash has flown his smashed spaceship back, apparently open to the vacuum. There are some clues to what has happened, but then the plot shifts to a war in time, for equal rights between the Androids and the Humans who built them. Ash is caught up in this, as there is a book he is yet to write, approaching religious stature in the future, that has become pivotal in the struggle of the Android Equality League. Meanwhile the Revisionist Humans are trying to get him to rewrite it to make it applicable only to Humans. Now, a two-headed plot would be ok, except that the mysteries of the first are never resolved. It is as if Simak forgot that Ash was not simply a normal Human or Android, and just wrote about the second plot, for the second half of the book. Ash’s book is entitled “This is Destiny”, and while it is revolutionary enough to produce a new perspective for humans and/or androids, the contents of it are never really exposed. Too bad, because I think Simak had some ideas that no one, born or made, is ever alone, and I would have liked to hear more about it. In the end though, it seems that the point is that it is the destiny of non-humans is to become equal to humans. The past and future settings of this book are near Bridgeport, Wisconsin. Clifford Simak was born in that area, and his descriptions of the land and the river are awe inspiring to me. I live in the same state, have been there many times, and it is a beautiful area. But the descriptions and the second plot alone are not enough to save the book for me. It needs work.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    One I read repeatedly as a young person. I loved it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cécile C.

    Although this book had a somewhat confusing construction (the world where it is set uses time travel on a regular basis, so that was only to be expected), it's a satisfying read, with simple themes that are reasonably well developed. The main characters are on a quest to give androids and humans equal rights, and several factions fight to get hold of the hero; on the whole, the novel doesn't really have time to give every character, group or nation the depth of construction they might deserve, a Although this book had a somewhat confusing construction (the world where it is set uses time travel on a regular basis, so that was only to be expected), it's a satisfying read, with simple themes that are reasonably well developed. The main characters are on a quest to give androids and humans equal rights, and several factions fight to get hold of the hero; on the whole, the novel doesn't really have time to give every character, group or nation the depth of construction they might deserve, and I felt that I remained on the surface of the story because of that, never fully rooting for anyone nor wanting to kill the villains, but not getting bored either. It's a bit disappointing, because the scale of the story was so epic (a fight for equal rights across the centuries) that the results could have been truly grand, and Simak's writing could have been good enough for that, too. But he chose instead to write a short-ish novel, where the great themes of his book and the multitude of characters receive little attention each, so in the end, it was more entertaining than thought-provoking. I still liked it, but it's not an irreplaceable book either.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    This was another fabulous book by Simak. A little like Philip K Dick in that there was a lot of travelling in time and trying to change the future. It also looked at racism in a very real way. The two sides of this book were between those who thought only the "natural" born humans were worthy of life and those who thought those born of artifical ways were only fit to be the slaves, even though they vastly outnumbered the "humans". It challenged a lot of assumptions and did so with an interesting This was another fabulous book by Simak. A little like Philip K Dick in that there was a lot of travelling in time and trying to change the future. It also looked at racism in a very real way. The two sides of this book were between those who thought only the "natural" born humans were worthy of life and those who thought those born of artifical ways were only fit to be the slaves, even though they vastly outnumbered the "humans". It challenged a lot of assumptions and did so with an interesting story. One I'd highly recommend. I've got three more books by Simak from the library and really looking forward to reading the rest.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This was such a mixed bag...it starts so mysteriously when Sutton, an astronaut who has been gone for twenty years, returns to Earth. The reader is led to believe this will be a story about time travel and the unraveling of the mystery of what happened to Sutton. The focus of the plot jumps tracks several times before settling on the theme of whether androids should be considered equal to humans. The angling of the human and android factions to win over Sutton was probably the best part of the s This was such a mixed bag...it starts so mysteriously when Sutton, an astronaut who has been gone for twenty years, returns to Earth. The reader is led to believe this will be a story about time travel and the unraveling of the mystery of what happened to Sutton. The focus of the plot jumps tracks several times before settling on the theme of whether androids should be considered equal to humans. The angling of the human and android factions to win over Sutton was probably the best part of the story. My biggest beef with the book? It was Sutton’s supposed greatness. The reader is told he’s destined to write a book that will ultimately change the world for both humans and androids...it’s why they’re all fawning over him. When the reader is introduced to one of Sutton’s core concepts that will supposedly reshape everything, my reaction was “that’s it? WTF!!” Seriously. A Chicken Soup for the Soul book may have more depth. Another issue is that the writing was clunky and meandered a bit, especially in the first half or the book in which Simak kept introducing new threads to the story. Other things were just weird. Seriously, what was with humanity loving dueling so much? I’ve read a major critique of Simak, especially in his novels, is that he tries to juggle too many concepts and introduce too many interesting quirks and details to where things devolve into a mess. I think that’s a fair description of Time and Again. The story could have been much more interesting and meaningful if Simak had kept things more focused and if he had paired down the message(s) he conveyed. Overall though, the book was engaging and thought provoking enough, and it had a fun plot twist at the end that I’ll probably read more of Simak’s work eventually. If anyone can provide some recommendations from his other novels and short stories, please do so!

  15. 5 out of 5

    thecryptile

    Asher Sutton has returned in a shattered spaceship after 20 years lost in space-- is he a savior, or the worst enemy mankind has ever faced? this 1951 novel is interesting to contrast with Philip K. Dick's Three Stigma of Palmer Eldritch-- like PKDs character, Asher Sutton comes back from a far star both more and less than human, with frightening consequences for the human race. In Simak's novel, Sutton is a POV character and we see the alien menace from the inside. Asher Sutton has returned in a shattered spaceship after 20 years lost in space-- is he a savior, or the worst enemy mankind has ever faced? this 1951 novel is interesting to contrast with Philip K. Dick's Three Stigma of Palmer Eldritch-- like PKDs character, Asher Sutton comes back from a far star both more and less than human, with frightening consequences for the human race. In Simak's novel, Sutton is a POV character and we see the alien menace from the inside.

  16. 5 out of 5

    John R. Goyer

    An excellent book - enjoyable and implausible, yet plausible happenings and characters. A meditation on evolution and sentient rights but very lightly and gently written. Time travel, aliens, politics, mass movements - a captivating read and not too dated.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jim Davis

    I'm usually a big Simak fan but this book fell flat for me. It seemed like it was padded and needed a good editor to trim about 20% of it. The concept of destiny being an actual living entity that was attached to all living things was an interesting concept but not well handled. I didn't feel that Sutton was very convincing as the person who was suppose to write a book and make us all aware of the fact that we carried our destiny along with us as a symbiotic being that would guide us if we could I'm usually a big Simak fan but this book fell flat for me. It seemed like it was padded and needed a good editor to trim about 20% of it. The concept of destiny being an actual living entity that was attached to all living things was an interesting concept but not well handled. I didn't feel that Sutton was very convincing as the person who was suppose to write a book and make us all aware of the fact that we carried our destiny along with us as a symbiotic being that would guide us if we could become aware of it's existence. But there are men who become aware of what Sutton is trying to do and either want to kill him and the idea he is unleashing to the galaxy or men who want to distort his message into their own concept of a supercharged manifest destiny that only men of Earth have and will lead them to be the dominant force in the galaxy. Simak creates a universe where man has created androids to help him in his expansion into the universe but treat them as second class citizens. Since Sutton's message is universal for all life the androids become his most ardent supporters. The time travel aspect of the story didn't help move the plot along very well either. Simak writes thoughtful stories about concepts and how they effect everyday people. But the idea of "Destiny" and the various factions trying to control it or kill it never really jelled for me. The use of time travel in these endeavors made things a little more interesting but the ending, for me, was not very satisfying.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Iliad

    Should synthetic life (androids) have equal rights with humanity? Also at what point does an artificially enhanced person cease to be human? These are some of the questions at sake in this wacky and wild science-fiction novel. It includes such things as alien thought-beings, androids, resurrection, time travel, secondary body (and mind) back-up systems, the ability to inhabit the thoughts of others, the ability to power a space ship with pure thought, and more--including mundane space-travel, gu Should synthetic life (androids) have equal rights with humanity? Also at what point does an artificially enhanced person cease to be human? These are some of the questions at sake in this wacky and wild science-fiction novel. It includes such things as alien thought-beings, androids, resurrection, time travel, secondary body (and mind) back-up systems, the ability to inhabit the thoughts of others, the ability to power a space ship with pure thought, and more--including mundane space-travel, gun battles, and gadgets. The plot has to do with a sacred book that triggers a war. Some say the book argues for the equality of all intelligent life. Some would rather the book say that humanity is uniquely significant and superior. The man who is destined to write that book is hunted by time-travelers, most of whom want to influence his writing of the book for the sake of their cause. I found the novel to be confusing sometimes but on the whole an entertaining read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up. This book alternately confused me with where it was going and what it was about, amused me with the dated-ness of Simak's future (newspapers, cigarettes, film, phone books, inkwells, etc. in the year 7,990), and astounded me with the author's huge concepts and storytelling. Briefly, it is about a man named Asher Sutton who travels alone to a star system that man has never been to before and returns twenty years later in a broken ship that couldn't fly without food 3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up. This book alternately confused me with where it was going and what it was about, amused me with the dated-ness of Simak's future (newspapers, cigarettes, film, phone books, inkwells, etc. in the year 7,990), and astounded me with the author's huge concepts and storytelling. Briefly, it is about a man named Asher Sutton who travels alone to a star system that man has never been to before and returns twenty years later in a broken ship that couldn't fly without food or water. In a word, he is changed. He plans to write a book that will free every living creature, biological and chemical, from the ants to the androids, to experience true destiny. This book will spark a war throughout time, men will try to twist Sutton's words to their own ends, while androids fight for their freedom as Sutton wrote it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paul Weiss

    A true sci-fi classic winner! Time and Again opens in a distant future on earth that includes androids, robots, interactive television, weather control, mentophones - an ingenious device that allows instantaneous interstellar communication, dramatically extended life spans, travel to distant star systems and a humanity that has conquered the galaxy and spread its seed far and wide. After a 20 year absence, Asher Sutton returns to earth from an expedition to 61 Cygni, a system that until now has A true sci-fi classic winner! Time and Again opens in a distant future on earth that includes androids, robots, interactive television, weather control, mentophones - an ingenious device that allows instantaneous interstellar communication, dramatically extended life spans, travel to distant star systems and a humanity that has conquered the galaxy and spread its seed far and wide. After a 20 year absence, Asher Sutton returns to earth from an expedition to 61 Cygni, a system that until now has defeated every attempt at landing and exploration. In the attempt, Sutton has miraculously survived a crash that left his ship disabled and, by all odds, should have killed him. His ship has somehow managed to return to earth apparently without the actual ability to do so and Sutton, through some extraordinary feat of bio-medical engineering, appears to have been modified into something that is considerably less than completely human. He is mentally linked to someone he refers to as "Johnny". The administration on earth wonder what all of this can possibly mean. On the surface, Time and Again is a thrilling story of time travel. Sutton is carrying a book which he has not yet actually written - a summary of his philosophies that, in a not too distant future, will result in the achievement of the dreams of the Android Equality League, their right to be recognized as sentient beings and a release from their treatment as mere property. But, before the book can even be actually written, Sutton must survive assassination attempts by revisionists - humans from the future who are using time travel as the means to prevent its publication. Simak's personal credo that reflects his quiet midwest upbringing, his pastoral approach to the science fiction genre and his concerns about humanity and its use of technology as a means to violent conflict are never very far from the surface. Indeed, they rather shine through the writing like a beacon. But, make no mistake - Simak never falls into the trap of preaching. The clear social commentary is never intrusive and never detracts for even an instant from an exciting story line. In Time and Again, Simak was openly critical of humanity's impression of its own importance in the universe - "Not by strength did he hold his starry outposts, but by something else ... by depth of human character, by his colossal conceit, by his ferocious conviction that Man was the greatest living thing the galaxy had ever spawned. All this in spite of much evidence that he was not ... evidence that he took and evaluated and cast aside, scornful of any greatness that was not ruthless and aggressive". He also used comedy as a vehicle to make a dark statement against weapons. He jests about "the code" having been changed to require everyone under age 100 to bear arms as a way of passing comment on his feelings against the US's unique constitutional amendment regarding the "right" to bear arms. His philosophical argument against Sutton's attempted use of the Christian commandment "Thou shalt not kill" as an exemption from the code is perhaps a little blunt but does serve to point out some of the ironies involved in, for example, a right wing Bible Belt fundamentalist Christian packin' an iron. Finally, his creation of the Android Equality League represents an ingenious platform from which Simak can express his concerns about the ethical issues related to the problems of advanced artificial intelligence and voice his courageous, clear condemnation of the white's treatment of black people in the 1960s US and his support of the civil rights movement. In Time and Again, Simak has created a story that many have suggested is his finest work. I was excited with the turn of every page and found I couldn't disagree with them! Paul Weiss

  21. 4 out of 5

    Phoenix

    Memes and Genes SF is the fiction of ideas, and Time and Again is no exception. At the approach of the 8th millenium mankind has mastered most of the galaxy, a prominent exception being the mysterious 61 Cygni system which has defied all approaches. Protagonist Asher Sutton gets thru, but returns 20 years late. The natives, described as "symbiotic abstractions", studied him, fixed him up and returned him with a second self and a meme that all life is never alone and is accompanied by "destiny". T Memes and Genes SF is the fiction of ideas, and Time and Again is no exception. At the approach of the 8th millenium mankind has mastered most of the galaxy, a prominent exception being the mysterious 61 Cygni system which has defied all approaches. Protagonist Asher Sutton gets thru, but returns 20 years late. The natives, described as "symbiotic abstractions", studied him, fixed him up and returned him with a second self and a meme that all life is never alone and is accompanied by "destiny". The natives themselves are isolationist and therefore harmless, but what about the idea? Sutton has it in his mind to write a book explaining this new found ideology. But add a smidge of time travel - the future already has this book, and it has spawned a time war between mankind and his created "androids" who are "chemically created people", relegated to servitude, who are identical to Man in all respects with the exception of the ability to reproduce - a theme explored later in Philip K Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 1 which became the movie Blade Runner . It's also a not too subtle commentary on contemporary race relations circa the time of publication. As SF goes it has the same arc one finds in many such books - Van Vogt's The World of Null-A, Laumer's Dinosaur Beach and Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land immediately come to mind. The ordinary hero returns from a journey changed, is viewed as a pawn by multiple factions, begins a journey of self discovery of his new abilities and by the end assumes a transcendency in universality, making humanity, or at least a large portion of it, obsolete. To be sure there are certain incongruities of the past that jar. 6000 years from now will people hold newsprint, smoke a cigarette, drive cars, use typewriters and carry money? Highly unlikely, but forgivable from the vantage of 1951. Except for Sutton most of the characters are a bit cardboard clumsy and the sole stock female character not much better. Sutton's "boss" Christopher Adams and ancestor John H. Sutton are the exception. The descriptive writing flows quite well, especially the imagery of the Wisconsin river which could serve as an alternate metaphor for the book. Simak's question is interesting, because it digs at whether humanity's loyalty should be to itself or universality. Sutton notes that both human and android factions get it wrong, that the meme is about the special sanctity of life itself. Further the humans are afraid that unleashed the android faction will produce a homo superior replacement, and this is precisely what Sutton decides to provide. We are left wondering who is manipulating whom and the paradox of Sutton's choice to propagate the meme, knowing in advance of the power the publication of his book will result in actions that invert it. If you're into vintage science fiction, recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Marcus

    Clifford D. Simak was an award-winning American science fiction writer, born in 1904 in Millville, Wisconsin. Setting a story like Time and Again (1951) in rural Wisconsin characterizes much of Simak’s fiction. For example, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in Time and Again Simak imagines a University of North America, located a short distance from the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. Another pervasive theme in this novel and other Simak fiction is time trave Clifford D. Simak was an award-winning American science fiction writer, born in 1904 in Millville, Wisconsin. Setting a story like Time and Again (1951) in rural Wisconsin characterizes much of Simak’s fiction. For example, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in Time and Again Simak imagines a University of North America, located a short distance from the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. Another pervasive theme in this novel and other Simak fiction is time travel, in his view rarely a good strategy for escaping contemporary woes. Asher Sutton, a human transformed by his deep-space planetary encounter with ‘symbiotic abstraction’ beings, ethereal or spiritual in nature, returns to Earth around 7999, 20 years after his departure, and finds himself in the middle of a quasi-religious war between proponents of human hegemony throughout the cosmos and its opponents advocating equality for all creatures, whether extra-terrestrials, squirrels, worms, android/robots, or human. When I began to read this narrative, its references to paper, books, typewriters—all the appurtenances of mid-twentieth century writing craft— as well as pipe-smoking, intercoms, and ham and eggs for breakfast, felt out of place in a story based on human exploration and settlements throughout the Milky Way. My objections fell away as the story pulled me into its big question mark, the definition of ‘human.’ An indictment of humanity’s arrogance, stemming from a belief in a version of Manifest Destiny whereby our species is inevitably pre-ordained to colonize and dominate the universe, makes this nearly seventy-year-old work relevant. Corporate and religious arrogance prevail today and influence nations and the state of the planet. Concerns about AI are growing. Inequalities informing economies and the application of social justice have fostered anger, polarized communities, and desperate behaviors. Those forces are at work in Time and Again, seven centuries in the future—as they are in our own time. Does Simak ask if our species will ever learn to transcend them? In the Foreword to his collection Skirmish Simak states, “Overall, I have written in a quiet manner; there is little violence in my work. My focus has been on people, not on events. More often than not I have struck a hopeful note… I have, on occasions, tried to speak out for decency and compassion, for understanding, not only in the human, but in the cosmic sense. I have tried at times to place humans in perspective against the vastness of universal time and space. I have been concerned where we, as a race, may be going, and what may be our purpose in the universal scheme—if we have a purpose. In general, I believe we do, and perhaps an important one.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nawfal

    So, its Clifford D. Simak's birthday today. Only a happy coincidence that I finished this novel today. I have been reading it for a few weeks. I got stuck at page 90. Because the novel starts OK, gets ridiculously awful - disjointed, confusing, and random - and then suddenly most of it straightens out and things make sense. The ending continues on too long and gets a little out of hand, honestly. But I thought I was going to have to abandon this novel around page 100. And I VERY RARELY abandon a So, its Clifford D. Simak's birthday today. Only a happy coincidence that I finished this novel today. I have been reading it for a few weeks. I got stuck at page 90. Because the novel starts OK, gets ridiculously awful - disjointed, confusing, and random - and then suddenly most of it straightens out and things make sense. The ending continues on too long and gets a little out of hand, honestly. But I thought I was going to have to abandon this novel around page 100. And I VERY RARELY abandon any book. I am impressed that Simak pulled this one together. Still, there is no excuse for the nonsense and total random that goes on early in the book. It is REALLY tough to read through - literally, I was just reading words and they were not stringing together to make a coherent plot or even any basic sense. I could not have told you what this book was about for anything. But I forced myself to keep reading - and then Simak pulled some threads together and the writing improved by leaps and bounds. The story has less to do with time travel and more to do with Simak's views on quasi-religion (destiny/life). The questions revolving around destiny and life are juxtaposed against the natures of humans and androids. (Simak's androids are different than Asimov's.) Finally, over all of this, to make this a science fiction story, rather than pondering, there is a "war" of sorts that is fought by far-future humans and robots. All of this makes for a confused book. I see what Simak was doing, and its not a bad idea, but the execution got muddied. He sorts it out - mostly, but there are some rough sections that are really tough to get through. Of interest to those interested in science fiction robots, vintage science fiction, and Simak fans.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Louis

    Time and Again started off with a strong premise. Sutton, an astronaut, returns to Earth after 20 years absence where he was on a mission to reach an unreachable planet. Upon his return he discovers that he's got some cool new alien powers and through some time travel (because why not!) he learns that he's apparently going to write a book that will cause a war between humans and the essentially enslaved androids. Ok cool. Sounds promising and it is through the first hundred pages. But then it st Time and Again started off with a strong premise. Sutton, an astronaut, returns to Earth after 20 years absence where he was on a mission to reach an unreachable planet. Upon his return he discovers that he's got some cool new alien powers and through some time travel (because why not!) he learns that he's apparently going to write a book that will cause a war between humans and the essentially enslaved androids. Ok cool. Sounds promising and it is through the first hundred pages. But then it starts to drag on and on and on and nothing is really happening. In the end this would have made an excellent short story but it not as much as a 300 page novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    A visitor from the future warns that Asher Sutton, missing for 20 years, will be returning and must be killed. He does indeed return, but manages to avoid the would-be killers, since he is now something more than he was when he went to 61 Cygni 20 years ago. The future humans are afraid of a book that he has not yet published, that has caused a war with the androids in the future. But Asher is determined to get his message out. I'm not sure I completely understood all of this book - some of it w A visitor from the future warns that Asher Sutton, missing for 20 years, will be returning and must be killed. He does indeed return, but manages to avoid the would-be killers, since he is now something more than he was when he went to 61 Cygni 20 years ago. The future humans are afraid of a book that he has not yet published, that has caused a war with the androids in the future. But Asher is determined to get his message out. I'm not sure I completely understood all of this book - some of it went right over my head, perhaps because I read it too quickly. But it was fascinating, nonetheless. Simak is a wonderful writer.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I doubt whether, six thousand years from now, people will still be using photostats, smoking cigarettes, or reading newspapers on paper. But it's quite possible that they will have mechanical robots and chemical androids, and a deep unease over how they should be treated. Because of future anachronisms such as an inkwell on a bureaucrat's desk -- something that would already have been out of place when Simak wrote the book -- I found the first half of the book tedious. After that, it not only en I doubt whether, six thousand years from now, people will still be using photostats, smoking cigarettes, or reading newspapers on paper. But it's quite possible that they will have mechanical robots and chemical androids, and a deep unease over how they should be treated. Because of future anachronisms such as an inkwell on a bureaucrat's desk -- something that would already have been out of place when Simak wrote the book -- I found the first half of the book tedious. After that, it not only enlivened considerably, but became thought-provoking.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tom Britz

    Time And Again is Clifford D. Simak's third novel and the first that truly began to shine the light that would be the trademark of a future Grand Master. This is the novel that Mr. Simak began to distance himself from the minor run-of-the-mill SF writers of his time. It had a bit of everything a fan of SF could want; aliens, space travel, time travel, robots and androids. It never throws this willy-nilly, but each piece has an integral place in this tale that explores man's place in the cosmos. T Time And Again is Clifford D. Simak's third novel and the first that truly began to shine the light that would be the trademark of a future Grand Master. This is the novel that Mr. Simak began to distance himself from the minor run-of-the-mill SF writers of his time. It had a bit of everything a fan of SF could want; aliens, space travel, time travel, robots and androids. It never throws this willy-nilly, but each piece has an integral place in this tale that explores man's place in the cosmos. This novel is well worth your time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ian Hamilton

    The philosophical concept of "destiny," which drives this narrative, unfortunately is never really flushed out over the course of the novel. As much as I liked the story, I kept wondering if I had missed/overlooked something in the early exposition. Had this not been so conceptually obtuse, it would have been a great novel. Still, the oft-explored sci fi concept of human and androids is nicely addressed here. The characters are strong Simak-style, and the closing twist adds a nice final layer. The philosophical concept of "destiny," which drives this narrative, unfortunately is never really flushed out over the course of the novel. As much as I liked the story, I kept wondering if I had missed/overlooked something in the early exposition. Had this not been so conceptually obtuse, it would have been a great novel. Still, the oft-explored sci fi concept of human and androids is nicely addressed here. The characters are strong Simak-style, and the closing twist adds a nice final layer.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dan Martin

    I liked it. A really good SyFy story that involves time travel, aliens, robots, androids, space travel/exploration with interesting, likable characters. On the surface a fun Sci-Fi romp, but peel back the layers and what you found is a story that warns against wars based on religion and points out the egocentric views of the human race. "Before Man goes to the stars he should learn how to live on Earth." I liked it. A really good SyFy story that involves time travel, aliens, robots, androids, space travel/exploration with interesting, likable characters. On the surface a fun Sci-Fi romp, but peel back the layers and what you found is a story that warns against wars based on religion and points out the egocentric views of the human race. "Before Man goes to the stars he should learn how to live on Earth."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jordi Soriano-Fradera

    I truly enjoyed this book. Interesting science-fiction with a touch of philosophy, moral and religion. It is also an invitation to think about the selfishness of humanity and its obsession for supremacy above all the rest of living creatures. The book was published in 1951, and I found quite interesting how different technological aspects treated in the book, most notably those concerning machines and consciousness, are under debate now.

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