The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov, Doubleday, 1955, 189 pp
The more books I read by Asimov, the more I understand why he is the King of science fiction. I think it is his super intelligence that makes his stories so good. The End of Eternity is basically a love story, but it is filled with ideas and actual scientific theories about time as well as a subtle joke about time and eternity which runs through the whole story.
Scientists and government have created a way of life on many planets which is free of war and want. With this utopia comes a certain loss of self-determinism and therefore excitement because of the amount of control necessary to maintain such conditions. Some of the scientists do the job of changing minute occurrences in order to prevent disasters in the future. These guys are called Eternals.
One of the Eternals, Andrew Harlan, falls in love and becomes emotionally alive for the first time. Naturally he risks all, defies all authority and compromises all of his professional integrity to be with the woman he loves. Great stuff!
(The End of Eternity is available in hardcover by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore. I found it at my local library and it can also be found on-line in paperback from used booksellers.)