Here is some genuinely cool news: Hollywood wants to make a movie out of Isaac Asimov’s brilliant sci-fi novel, The End of Eternity!

With Hollywood churning out so many sequels to movies which shouldn’t have been made in the first place and remakes of movies that weren’t that good to begin with, it is actually refreshing to see them tackle a bona fide (albeit underappreciated) science fiction classic such as this one. While one news report has described Asimov’s novel (first published in 1955!) as “epic”, it is hardly the case. Instead it clocks in at mere 190 pages or so. All of which will make a movie adaptation even easier. In fact, The End of Eternity begs to be made into a movie!

For starters, the novel boasts a killer concept. How about this one: set in the distant future, mankind has mastered time travel. A well-meaning organization, which exists “outside” of time, called Eternity spends most of its time changing time lines with an eye on improving the lot of humanity. They would interfere and change both the future and the past by doing unobtrusive things such as cutting the brake line of a Congressman who would cause a major war. Sometimes the interventions are even more minor such as for instance ensuring that someone is late for an important meeting by hiding that person’s car keys, thus preventing some major decisions to be taken at the meeting in question.

Sometimes the effect of their intervention would only be felt hundreds of years later. Their interventions even go so far as to “fine tune” time lines by interfering in “realities” which they have already changed. Before each such intervention they would even remove major cultural pieces (such as paintings, books, music) from the time line in question and store it at their headquarters which often results in multiple “versions” of the same work of art.

To ensure complete and utter partiality, the members of Eternity are yanked from their respective timelines as children and made to work on timelines far removed from their own. They are also forbidden to have any sexual relations with so-called “Timers” (people within the “normal” timeline), which makes them all some kind of secular monks. Of course, one day one of these “time cops” of course falls in love with a woman. Things are complicated by the fact that not only is this forbidden by Eternity, but that the secretive organization will soon change the woman’s timeline, which would result in her never having been born at all! To save the woman’s very existence becomes a literal race against time for our hero . . .

"Think a time travel version of Minority Report!"

See why this particular novel has us thinking a time travel version of Minority Report? It is exactly the sort of clever science fiction concept that quickens one’s pulse rate and makes us read the genre in the first place. That Asimov manages to cram in some more wholly unexpected subplots and twists (which we don’t want to go into right here) into the story is only a bonus.

As a novel End of Eternity is excessively talky and sometimes overly complicated, but with the right director and screenwriter at the helm of things, The End of Eternity can be a genuine future science classic blending SF high concept and action into one seamless whole. (Good as Asimov’s novel is, there is no doubt that it would require updating. In his distant future print books no longer exist because they have all been put on film. Um, yeah. And one character is referred to as “queer”, and it is no reference to that person’s sexual preferences.)

As long as any screenwriter manages to keep Asimov’s several plot twists (as well as the ending) then all would be fine. And oh, just don’t let Will Smith and Akiva Goldman anywhere near the project . . .

No director or screenwriter have been announced as yet, but we would like to suggest the following: Dark City director Alex Proyas (Proyas is a talented film-maker and has to make up for the mess he made of the previous Asimov adaptation, I, Robot); Stephen Dorff (Dorff can do action hero – check out the upcoming XIII TV mini-series); screenwriter Scott Frank (who else but the Minority Report scribe for writing duties?); Eva Green, the Casino Royale temptress as the woman who seduces Asimov’s hero).



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