I’m a sucker for time travel novels and short stories so I had to check this out. It’s complex at times and that slows it down but it’s still worth reading. It centers on Andrew Harlan. He’s a Technician in Eternity. Those in charge roam the centuries from the beginning to when the Sun goes nova. They make subtle changes when they feel the need. In one century the brakes on a Congressman’s car were tampered with to avoid a world war.
Harlan has worked his way up to Technicians status and analyzes data that can change millions of lives. Everyone tries to avoid them. They answer to higher ups known as Computers. Everything is going fine until he’s sent to the 482nd century to see what changes have to be made.
Before leaving he spots his boss’ new secretary. She’s the knockout Noyes Lambent. He’s jealous. When he gets to the 482nd..there she is. She’s from an aristocratic family and Harlan stays in her house. It doesn’t take much effort for her to seduce him. He doesn’t know that a rumor in that century is that if you make love to an Eternal you’ll be immortal.
Thanks to a Life-Plotter, Harland finds out that a change in the 482nd will wipe out Noyes’ existence. He takes her to the 111,394th century. That’s a serious crime. He goes back to her house in the 482nd to get some of her favorite things. He doesn’t have to since the invention of a duplicator that provides food and video entertainment to all the centuries even before anyone is there. At the house he hears someone clapping and he gets out of there.
He returns to the house later on and once again he hears the clapping sound. He takes a peek. The person doesn’t see him but Harlan sees him and gets quite a shock. When he takes a time travel device called the Kettle to bring some things to Noyes he’s stopped at the 100,00th century by a barrier. That means she’s trapped in the far future.
The ending is a surprising wrap up. This is well worth searching for.