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The Big Time

Fritz Leiber

Book Overview: 

A classic locked room mystery, in a not-so-classic setting.

Winner of Hugo Award for Best Novel.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .No, I didn't die in 1917—I was merely Recruited then," Lili was telling Bruce. "I lived all through the Twenties, as you can see from the way I dress. But let's not talk about that, shall we? Oh, Mr. Marchant, do you think you can possibly remember any of those poems you started in the trenches? I can't fancy them bettering your sonnet that concludes with, 'The bough swings in the wind, the night is deep; Look at the stars, poor little ape, and sleep.'"

That one almost made me whoop—what monkeys we are, I thought—though I'd be the first to admit that the best line to use on a poet is one of his own—in fact, as many as possible. I decided I could safely forget our little Britons and devote myself to Erich or whatever needed me.


Hell is the place for me. For to Hell go the fine churchmen, and the fine knights, killed in the tourney or in some grand war, the brave soldiers and the gallant gentlemen. With. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The Big Time by Fritz Leiber

Published 1958 in Galaxy Magazine, novel 1961. (Edition Read: Ace Books, (1961), 130 pages)

Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1958.

Review by Mark Yon

This is one of those reviews I occasionally do about older books, perhaps a little forgotten.

It came about because

This is a strange SF novel from 1958 that mixes time travel, parallel universes and a locked room mystery. I read it as a part of the monthly reading for January 2023 at Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels group.

A few words about the book’s status: it is a novella according to modern standards (below

Great concept, with humanity serving as pawns in an eons long, cosmic wide temporal war. There are some real flashes of brilliance and excellent prose here, however the story suffers to some extent by some obtuse dialogue and the 1950's era gender and cultural stereotyping.

I found this title here on Goodreads and checked it out from my local library. The cover graphic looked hip and the title page said it was published in 2011, but when I started reading I was confused. The writing seemed so... dated. So I backtracked and re-read the description and amazingly found th

1958 Hugo winner, and what an interesting surprise!

This is the Cure for the Common (modern) SF. Tired of the old rehashing of drawn-out plots and over-deep character explorations full of pathos, pathos, and more pathos? Then pick this one up. See the universes without being a Space Opera, enjoy the

Hugo Award winner The Big Time (1958) is not only an enjoyable and memorable novel, but a disturbing one too. It was born, in part, from Fritz Leiber’s conception of time travel and the nature of the past. He did not believe at all in “The Butterfly Effect”; no, he believed that the past was more de

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