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Leiber, Fritz

The Big Time

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This annotated edition of Fritz Leiber's classic science fiction novel has been enhanced for your reading pleasure. It includes the following:

- a biography of Fritz Leiber
- an bibliography of his works
- an essay on the history of science fiction
- expert formatting so it looks great on your Kindle
- a clickable table of contents for easy navigating

The Big Time won the Hugo for best novel in 1958. The storyline involves two factions which both have time travel who are at war with each other. Their method of battle involves changing the outcome of events throughout history. This became known as the Change War.

The Change War and the soldiers fighting in it do not know how it began or if it has an end. They also do not know the true form or identity of the Spiders or the Snakes. No one knows how those nicknames were chosen, or whether they are in any way accurate.

The action of the story takes place at a rest and relaxation base between the changing time lanes. The plot takes the form of a locked room mystery.

"An extraordinary tour de force with no equal in the literature of science fiction....I most urgently recommend this book to you . . . What the entrances, performances and exits of this little mostly human troupe accomplish is a statement about all wars, and all people." -- Algis Budrys, from A Reader's Guide to Science Fiction


"What were you doing in Saint Petersburg before the ambush?" I asked Erich. "That is, if you can talk about it."

"Why not? We were kidnapping the infant Einstein back from the Snakes in 1883. Yes, the Snakes got him, Liebchen, only a few sleeps back, endangering the West's whole victory over Russia—"

"—which gave your dear little Hitler the world on a platter for fifty years and got me loved to death by your sterling troops in the Liberation of Chicago—"

"—but which leads to the ultimate victory of the Spiders and the West over the Snakes and Communism, Liebchen, remember that. Anyway, our counter-snatch didn't work. The Snakes had guards posted—most unusual and we weren't warned. The whole thing was a great mess. No wonder Bruce lost his head—not that it excuses him."
Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) is best known as a fantasy writer, but his achievements and influence are also considerable in the horror and science fiction fields. One of his major SF works is the Change War series, about rival time-traveling armies locked in a bitter, age-old war for control of existence; the battles frequently alter the course of human history. The most important work of Leiber's Change War series is the Hugo Award-winning novel The Big Time, in which doctors, entertainers, and wounded soldiers find themselves treacherously trapped with an activated atomic bomb inside the Place, a room existing outside of space-time. It's not one of Leiber's strongest novels: the cutesy-girlish narrative voice is unconvincing, while the demands of describing time travel and time paradoxes inevitably strain the prose. But The Big Time is a tense, claustrophobic SF mystery, and possibly the ultimate locked-room whodunit.
In addition to the Hugo, Nebula, Derleth, Lovecraft, and World Fantasy Awards, Fritz Leiber received the Grand Master of Fantasy (Gandalf) Award, the Life Achievement Lovecraft Award, and the Grand Master Nebula Award. --Cynthia Ward