'One of those complex and enormously inventive stories based on some real, honest, practical ethical thinking It is an idea book' Groff Conklin in Galaxy Science FictionAsher Sutton has been lost in deepest space for twenty years Suddenly arrives a warning from the future, that he will return and that he must be killed He is destined to write a book whose message may lead to the death of millions in centuries to come For this reason Sutton is hounded by the sinister warring factions of the future who wish to influence or prevent the writing of this book he has not yet begun to writeYet already a copy has been found in the burntout wreckage of a spacecraft on Aldebaran XII I read an Open Road Media republication of this 1951 novel in kindle format because there was a shortterm deep price cut for it on , and I have always liked Clifford Simak’s work It is sad now to give this as low a rating as I have I highly recommend his best novels – Way Station and City.The problem with the book is that there are two plots The novel first has Ash Sutton who has returned from a twentyyear firstcontact mission to 61 Cygni He died there, and was brought back to life by some alien force, leaving an additional personality in his head that he has named Johnny Ash has flown his smashed spaceship back, apparently open to the vacuum There are some clues to what has happened, but then the plot shifts to a war in time, for equal rights between the Androids and the Humans who built them Ash is caught up in this, as there is a book he is yet to write, approaching religious stature in the future, that has become pivotal in the struggle of the Android Equality League Meanwhile the Revisionist Humans are trying to get him to rewrite it to make it applicable only to Humans Now, a twoheaded plot would be ok, except that the mysteries of the first are never resolved It is as if Simak forgot that Ash was not simply a normal Human or Android, and just wrote about the second plot, for the second half of the book.Ash’s book is entitled “This is Destiny”, and while it is revolutionary enough to produce a new perspective for humans and/or androids, the contents of it are never really exposed Too bad, because I think Simak had some ideas that no one, born or made, is ever alone, and I would have liked to hearabout it In the end though, it seems that the point is that it is the destiny of nonhumans is to become equal to humans.The past and future settings of this book are near Bridgeport, Wisconsin Clifford Simak was born in that area, and his descriptions of the land and the river are awe inspiring to me I live in the same state, have been there many times, and it is a beautiful area But the descriptions and the second plot alone are not enough to save the book for me It needs work. I love Simak Whenever I'm in the mood for some oldtime SF that can still be read with joy today, lacking the most pernicious queasy qualities of the timeperiod in which popular fiction thrived back then, I always turn to Simak He never lets me down It's just plain fun.This book is no different It's a timetravel paradox story on the fringes, but at its heart, it's all about Destiny A guy tries to see what he can see with some strange aliens, comes back missing 20 years and a mysterious group is out to kill him Sounds like pretty standard thrillerSF, right?Well, in this case, it's really about leveling up, writing a book that will have a grand effect on the rest of future humanity, making a difference to all the downtrodden androids and aliens who suffer from the largesse of the superdominant mankind.A light and a onceremoved tale of race issues, sure, but this book from 1950 focuses on the heart of it, doesn't stint on pushing for equality, and even pokes huge holes in Manifest Destiny Back then, I'm sure the term was used to the nausea of everyone, but not now Even so, it's interesting to see such a forceful condemnation :) It may be old hat now, but the rest of the story is delightful and fastpaced :) Duels, corporations with a millionyear strategy, a time war, and paradoxpoking Very good classic SF :) Wow.This story was so multilayered, I shake my head in utter amazement that it was written in 1951 If the author were still alive, I'd put it on my dream list to shake his hand and thank him for his talent with words It's no wonder he won so many awards in his career.This is a book of philosophy about the meaning of destiny hidden in the guise of Science Fiction Amidst the requisite time travel theme, it touches on the nature of mankind with its illusion of superiority over all living things The forgotten value of humility Evolution The untapped power of the mind and spirit The might of the corporation that works to enslave the common man's mind And the power games of war that stem from the need to fight back for a measure of sovereignty that allows for a life lived with dignity.Mr Simak does all that in one solid story line that doesn't let up until the last line that leaves you breathless.Read it Digest it And see if you don't question both yourself and the society we live in on deeper levels. What would you think if you found an old book signed with your nameand learned that it bore a date in the distant future? It happens to Asher Sutton, and upon setting out to investigate the incredible enigma, he finds that book a ticket to a galactic empire many thousands of years from now!Definitely my favourite timetravel novel so far!