Reading this book was one of the first times I really understood how short life is, and it forced my young self to actually consider my own mortality.
The story covers thousands of years, and the characters come and go over that time, each playing their part and barely remembering or understanding those before them. It forced me to realize how short 80-100 years really is, and how I’ll most likely be forgotten to all minds and history in another hundred after I’m dead. I found some appreciation for the ability to plan for, and even care about, things that will happen long after you are dead.
Though I don’t know if it was the author’s intention, I felt different after reading this book–smaller, more fragile. Through it’s pages, I’d looked into the cold, murderous face of time, and acknowledged the certainty of my own death.
Also, the plot is really clever and Asimov is my hero 🙂