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Scienee fiction

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Title: The Big Time
Author: Fritz Leiber
Year: 1968

I hate reading novels I simply cannot understand why they receive as much praise as they do. Do not get me wrong, I do not necessarily have to like everything I read, but if I do not and the book has won many awards, I at least prefer to understand why this is so (albeit not agree). I have previously read short stories by Fritz Leiber and I was then impressed by his language usage and well-composed stories. The Big Time was classified as a novel when it was written, but being roughly 35,000 words it would rather count as a novella today. Still, it won the Hugo Award for best novel in 1957 and I cannot really say that I understand why.

The setting is a weird and fairly interesting one. A war between Snakes and Spiders takes place across space and time (since both factions have the capability to time-travel). However, nothing of the actual battle is depicted in the story, since it is confined to a stage-like setting which probably would be very suitable for theatre. An isolated Place floats through time and space, occasionally connecting with various parts of the battle ground to provide relief for the soldiers of one of the factions. The story revolves around a few characters stuck in this Place with a mystery, an atomic bomb and some antagonism.

Admittedly, there are some good ideas and Leiber is a competent writer, which makes the book worthwhile. However, I fail to recognise the brilliance I have previously associated him with. Perhaps there is something I miss or this is just not my kind of fiction, I do not know. Kudos to Leiber anyway because he is competent, but I will only give The Big Time two and a half snails because even though it is worthwhile, it lacks the impetus to move me in some way.

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