Time and Again by Clifford D. Simak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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. :)
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