Time Enough for Love
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Time Enough for Love

by Robert A. Heinlein
Release date: 1973
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction

Hugo Award: Best Novel nominee (1974).
Nebula Award: Best Novel nominee (1973).

Time Enough for Love is Robert Heinlein's longest novel. It is just as certainly his most ambitious, ranging as it does over twenty-three centuries of history and countless light-years of space. It is a novel set in a time when not only the human population of the galaxy, but the very number of inhabited planets in it can be viewed only in approximations. It is the story - one must avoid the temptation to say life story, for that would be an overstatement - of the man who was born Woodrow Wilson Smith on the planet Earth in the year 1912 and is, as the novel opens, known as the Senior, the oldest man alive and to one degree or another the ancestor of most, if not all, of the inhabitants of the planet he inhabits in the galactic year 2053, which in earth terms would be 4272. That the planet itself is one not even suspected to exist when the Senior was born is but one comment on the range of the story.

As the reader follows the Senior's career in many identities - as Lazarus Long, who led the first great exodus from Earth; as Aaron Sheffield, captain of an interstellar trade ship visiting the planet Blessed with its slave society; as Ernest Gibbons homesteading on the newly settled planet of New Beginnings; as Ted Bronson, searching for the Senior's own origins in pre-World War I America - he will encounter a host of exciting adventures and be exposed to a vast range of informed speculation as to that which the future may hold for the human race in the centuries ahead.

For just as there are many facets to the Senior, at once a barbarian and rogue and a highly intelligent, highly civilized man, so is the author of Time Enough for Love a gifted storyteller and a scientist and philosopher who forces his reader to recognize both the ultimate folly of human behaviour and the fact that we are all undeniably human.

(updated 2017-01-16)

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