Like many of Leinster's books, this is typical sci-fi space opera--an adventure set in space. It's a diverting, light-hearted story.
Its main theme is similar to that of an episode of Star Trek DS9 in which three eccentric people with very special talents make predictions about the future of the federation in its war with one of its mortal enemies whose name escapes me at the moment.
It also reminded me of Asimov's Foundation series which used of the science "psychohistory" to predict the future. However, in Talents the predictions are much more short term and based more in the paranormal than in science.
If you like this book, try the Foundation series which is much better.
Typical sci-fi space opera--an adventure set in space. The book's version of the future, like most books of it's time, was way off on technology & society. The characters are a bit sterotypical. But, these things are to be expected of a book written in 1958.
The book's one non-typical aspect is it's exploration of what space adventure would be like if it was conducted by PR people & TV producers instead of scientists. (Be sure to get some good film to keep the sponsors happy.)
This was a surprisingly interesting short story, considering how old it is. The writing is a bit thin and the science is hokey. But the question of how would people react and survive if suddenly shoved into the past is interesting. Also, it gives a bit of a glimpse of what city life was like at that time. ("Three men admitting raising chickens as a hobby.")
There are two versions of this classic at manybooks.net. Which one should you choose?
Manybooks has two versions because Project Gutenberg has two versions. The first version is based on an 1843 edition of the book. It is Project Gutenberg etext 45, one of the first ebooks added.
The second book is based on an edition published in 1905 with illustrations and a short introduction by George Williams. It is Project Gutenberg etext 19337. The Project Gutenberg version has one color illustration and four black & white illustrations. However, these are not included in the manybooks version. Both versions of the book at manybooks have one image included, a color image of the book cover. This is based on the Mobipocket format of the book. The other versions may be different.
Since, the illustrations are missing, the only real difference in the manybooks versions of the book is that the 1905 version has a short introduction and better formatting of the chapter titles, or ‘staves’ as Dickens called them. So, between the two versions, I recommend the 1905 edition. Or, if you want it with the five illustrations, download it from Project Gutenberg. You will need to convert it to your preferred format yourself, though.
This is the 1843 edition, so I recommend that you download the other version instead.