The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Andrew Harlan becomes an Eternal at the age of fifteen. He progresses through the ranks with impressive speed from Cub to Observer to Specialist. His career is thrown into crisis, however, when he is assigned to the 482d century. This period of history is hedonistic, materialistic, and matriarchal, in direct contrast to his own native 95th century, which is ascetic and sexually repressed. Far from his familiar homewhen, he meets and falls in love with Noys Lambent. She not only brings into question his own beliefs but also challenges the basic assumptions of all Eternity.

As a Technician, Harlan has the responsibility for making certain changes for the sake of the general good of history. Even though the nature of these changes is determined collectively by all the Eternals, the others blame Technicians for the negative side effects that accompany them. Harlan is able to withstand this prejudice fairly well because he is good at his specialty.

Harlan is the personal Technician assigned to Senior Computer Laban Twissell of the Allwhen Council. Unfortunately, Twissell himself is not popular with everyone, everywhen. Assistant Computer Hobbe Finge is Harlans direct supervisor in the 482d century, and Finge holds a grudge against Twissell for not promoting him quickly enough in the Eternal hierarchy. Harlan mistakes Finges animosity on account of his connection with Twissell for jealousy over Noys. For safety, he spirits his lover away to the far...

(The entire section is 597 words.)


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

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