The Big Time Themes
Unlike most other examples of what might be called Time War science fiction — Jack Williamson's The Legion of Time (1952), Isaac Asimov's The End of Eternity (1955), and Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series, including Guardians of Time (1960), come first to mind — Leiber's The Big Time and the other stories in the Change War series tend to deny that either side of the conflict is entirely or even partially in the right. The rarely seen leaders of both the Spiders and the Snakes, Leiber's two opposing armies, are highly Machiavellian and perfectly capable of doing anything necessary to advance their own morally ambiguous ends. Greta's own Spiders, for example, have attempted to manipulate British and American politics to keep England and the United States out of World War II and thus guarantee a Nazi victory. The common soldiers on both sides are essentially ignorant of the goals for which they are fighting, goals which may not involve the betterment of humanity.