I think of science-fiction writing as divided into two crude time periods - the first includes the early golden-age writing as well as the output from the fifties and early sixties. The second begins in 1967 with Dangerous Visions (SF Masterworks) and is still ongoing. THE CORRIDORS OF TIME is firmly entrenched in the first period, despite its publication only two years prior to Mr. Ellison's manifesto. It is science-fiction in late adolescence - straining to make the leap forward. In other words, it's a great yarn, more than anything else, even if there is a bit of geopolitical subtext to its character's time-travelling adventures. But even though it is very successful at what it tries to do, there's no mistaking it for the social, sexual and conscious raising novels that were to explode on the scene in the next decade, or as one of the niche novels in the ever-fragmenting subcategories of the genre that came even later.
At the beginning of the novel, Malcolm Lockridge is in prison awaiting trial for accidentally killing a man. But a benefactor appears - a beautiful woman who offers to fund his defense in return for his assistance afterward. He agrees, and then finds himself a pawn in a war fought by the rulers of the future, who use the Earth's past like squares on a chessboard. It's then up to Malcolm to determine if he can support either side when both believe that the ends justify the means, and as he witnesses up close the human toll of their future utopias.
There's not a lot of heavy lifting here, but it was fun for me to revisit this era of science-fiction writing. I like to do so on occasion, and this one fit the bill perfectly. It's possible that if I were to exist on a steady diet of such works, the relative merits of THE CORRIDORS might subside, but for not being exposed to material like this for a while, I enjoyed it. Anderson keeps the action moving, and, if you're going to accept the idea of time-travel, plausible. Add to that a nice resolution everyone can get behind, and you have an above average entertainment that scratches the science-fiction itch. Probably not Anderson's best effort (I've read little of his other than some short stories) and by no means a classic, but satisfying still. Four stars