The Big Time

  • by Fritz Leiber
  • Narrated by Suzanne Toren
  • 4 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Have you ever worried about your memory, because it doesn't seem to recall exactly the same past from one day to the next? Have you ever thought that the whole universe might be a crazy, mixed-up dream? If you have, then you've had hints of the Change War.It's been going on for a billion years, and it will last another billion or so. Up and down the timeline, the two sides, "Spiders" and "Snakes", battle endlessly to change the future and the past. Our lives and our memories are their battleground. And in the midst of the war is the Place, outside space and time, where Greta Forzane and the other Entertainers provide solace and R&R for tired time warriors.Fritz Leiber was one of the most important sci-fi and fantasy writers of the 20th century. The Big Time, which won a Hugo Award for Best Novel, is his most famous SF novel.

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What the Critics Say



Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1958
An Orson Scott Card Selects Pick"An extraordinary tour de force with no equal in the literature of science fiction." (A Reader's Guide to Science Fiction)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A very dated SF classic

In its time, this book was highly esteemed as an SF classic, but it has not aged well. The SF scenario is very clunky - a bit like the sets on the original "Star Trek" - the prose style is very 50s American, and the characters a bit comic-book. I have to say also that I found the storyline very confusing, and lacking in narrative drive: despite it being quite a short audiobook, it was a struggle to finish.

To cap it all, the narration was not very good; the way the main character was drawn grated somewhat, and other characters were poorly distinguished, with some fairly dreadful British accents. Sound quality was also iffy - rather muffled at times.

Unless you like this kind of old fashioned SF, I would steer clear.
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- Tom

An expired classic

What would have made The Big Time better?

Shorter. Better explained. None of those interminable speeches. And none of those characters!
As many reviewers have complained, this is a very dated book. A classic is supposed to be a work which has stood the test of time, and this simply hasn't. But it's the voice that kills it for me. Not the narrator's voice so much as the story's. How to explain?
Imagine you have a bunch of mates you meet down the pub. They are the funniest people ever, but that's because a) you know them well and b) your sense of humour is alcohol-fuelled. Now imagine listening to someone talking about another bunch of people whom you don't know, frankly wouldn't want to know, and on top of that you're sober. Four and a half hours later SHE'S STILL TALKING!


What will your next listen be?

I don't know. The Big Time, the longest story in the Change War series, is a landmark work of science fiction - not the first to tackle the idea of a Time War, but in some ways the definitive one. I've read (and quite enjoyed) some of the other Change War stories, but I held off on The Big Time because I had a bad feeling about it.
I've read a lot of science fiction classics, but I've held off on one or two of them, again because I've had a bad feeling about them. One of them is Stranger in a Strange Land, which is nearly a day long. I was going to read it next just to get it under my belt, but now I'm thinking, maybe it's time to start ignoring the voices that say, "It's a must-read for any self-respecting fan of SF!"


What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Unfortunately this is another case of the narrator doing it too well - her voice matches the intolerably smug tone of the story.


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

"I don't care! I don't care! I don't care!"


Any additional comments?

I love time travel stories (as long as they're not written by Jodi "Tee Hee Jolly Hockey Sticks I'm So Funny" Taylor or Diana "Once More I Gazed At Jamie's Manly Chest" Gabaldon), but really didn't feel it with this one. Granted, it's about time travellers taking a rest, but still... Maybe I'll seek out Poul Anderson's take on the Time War idea, although it's not available from Audible... yet.

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- Dr Caterpillar

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-04-2008
  • Publisher: Audible Studios