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The Fixed Period

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

This book is set in 1980 in the Republic of Britannula, which is a fictional island near New Zealand. It deals with euthanasia as a radical solution to the problem of the aged. The novel is in the form of a personal account written by the President of Britannula about the island's recent history. It has often been said that when the book came out Trollope had reached the age of 67. Interesting is the fact that this is the exact age at which all Britannulans are required by law to retire from their worldly affairs and begin a year of preparation for death.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .uld have sacrificed every sheep on the place for the sake of half an hour with Eva alone in the woods. But he was afraid of Crasweller, whom he knew to have sanctioned an engagement with Abraham Grundle.

"I don't think that we need bring Jack and his love into this dispute," said I.

"Only that it isn't too late, you know. Do you think that Jack could be brought to lend an ear to it?"

Perish Jack! perish Eva! perish Jack's mother, before I would allow myself to be bribed in this manner, to abandon the great object of all my life! This was evidently Crasweller's purpose. He was endeavouring to tempt me with his flocks and herds. The temptation, had he known it, would have been with Eva,—with Eva and the genuine, downright, honest love of my gallant boy. I knew, too, that at home I should not dare to tell my wife that the offer had been made to me and had been refused. My wife could not understand,—Crasweller could not understand,&mda. . . Read More

Community Reviews

*SPOILERS

Brace yourself. Try to imagine a world in which the violin has become “nearly obsolete.” I know, right?! You’ve nearly fallen to your knees, begging for mercy, asking yourself why. Why, great creator, did humanity ever get to this point?

I am a big fan of the violin. I am learning to play...more

"[…] There’s a Prejudice About Killing an Old Man, or a Woman. Young Men Don’t Matter."

Even the avid Trollope reader might feel surprised, as I most certainly did, at learning that the man who invented and peopled the whole county of Barsetshire, bedecking it with so much real-life detail, also w...more

This is the Anthony Trollope novel unlike any other Anthony Trollope novel. If you think you know Trollope, think again.
Even his contemporaries didn't think he was serious, but he was.

For a start, it's set one hundred years in the (then) future (the 1980s) in a fictional former British colony som...more

Written in 1882 , this is set in a fictitious British colony that elects to end the waste of old age by eliminating people at the age of 62. Foreshadowing both a prevalent dystopian theme, and the current Euthanasia debate as well as offering penetrating commentary on relations between colonies a...more

Trollope's novella is as timely as ever in light of our current partisan politics and confrontation with fanatical ideas.

As it is readily apparent to any Trollope reader that his one foray into the science fiction genre is surprisingly uncharacteristic, the dynamic needn't be over emphasized, as...more

Written in 1882, The Fixed Period does show it's age a bit. Not so much in the writing, but in the pace of the novel and some of the attitudes expressed. That said, the dialogue-heavy style does make for a very easy read.

What really makes the novel so readable, though, is the central idea: The at...more

Very strange book to hop into with no warning while looking for new Trollope—suddenly he's writing dystopian fiction set in 1980, and he's not especially good at it. (He can't avoid, after all, being himself, and being preoccupied with his own preoccupations.)

But an interesting read, if you come...more

Study of fanaticism, with incidental predictions of the future and an argument against forced euthanasia. AND a good story! Entertaining to think how many sci-fi stories and videos owe some of their ideas to this book. Also apart from the wordiness, unexpected for Trollope.

Not one of Trollope's more popular books, but I liked it a lot. Trollope's one foray into SF is an impressive social satire. He imagines a former British colony, Brittannula, one hundred years into the future. This colony would seem to be almost utopian: it has universal education, it has abolish...more

A surprising and rather slight book which plays with some interesting ideas. It was written by Trollope near the end of his life and is set in 1980. I found the characterisation a little thin for Trollope and found the whole book rather unconvincing.

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