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1. How the World Was One: Turbulent
2. Time's Eye (A Time Odyssey)
3. The Collected Stories of Arthur
4. Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey)
5. Firstborn (Time Odyssey)
6. Rendezvous With Rama
9. The Sentinel
10. Songs of Distant Earth
11. 2001: A Space Odyssey
12. Childhood's End
13. 2010: Odyssey Two
14. The Last Theorem
15. 2061: Odyssey Three
17. Childhood's End (Del Rey Impact)
18. Of Time and Stars: The Worlds
19. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Signet)
20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

1. How the World Was One: Turbulent History of Global Communications
by Arthur C. Clarke
 Paperback: 288 Pages (1993-07-15)

Isbn: 0575055464
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A history and survey of the communications revolution, from the struggles to lay the transatlantic telephone wires in the 1950s to the development of communication satellites and the new breakthrough in fibre optics. Other work by the author includes "2001: A Space Odyssey". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars 4 and 1/2 Stars
How The World Was One is a highly interesting history of communications from the telegraph forward, written by a true expert on the subject. The first 100 or so pages of the book focus on the invention of the telegraph, and the great and largely unknown trials and troubles that went into the laying of the first transatlantic submarine cable. This stranger-than-fiction tale is enchanced by the underlying substory of the life of such people as the "great American" Cyrus W. Field. Further into the book, we are told of the invention of the telephone and the subsequent impact it had on communications, and, indeed, civilization itself. Here we hear about people such as, of course, Alexander Graham Bell, and Oliver Heaviside. After this, we are treated to a true insider's view of comsats, a thing which Clarke, as is well known, played a large part in, and we are given here a reprint of his classic "Short Pre-History of Comsats: Or How I Lost A Billion Dollars In My Spare Time." Due to the author's personal involvement, the subject comes off as fresh and interesting, and does not read like dry technical jargon. The same is true of the book as a whole. There are technical bits involved (indeed, in the book there is a reprint of ACC's original comsat essay "Extra-Terrestrial Relays", published in Wireless World in 1945), but Clarke is a gifted writer, and the book's prose is such that it is interesting to the expert and enlightening and entertaining to the unitiated. This book is fairly hard to find, but I suggest you pick it up if you can find it, if you are looking for some good non-SF ACC, or a get-it-all-in-one-place communications history.

4-0 out of 5 stars Book Review: How the World was One
This book is an insightful and interesting look at the Communications Revolution. This is a revolution that has touched and changed every aspect of human life. Clarke divides his book into three parts: the past, the present and the future. The first part of the book is a history of the laying of the first transoceanic cable between Europe and America. At first glance this seems to have little relevance to the "technologies" of the modern age. We all admit that our personal computers, the Internet, cell phones, cyber space, and satellite links are precipitating a revolution. This is a revolution that is often portrayed as very recent in origin. Yet these technologies are in fact only the latest manifestation of a cultural mind shift that began over 150 years ago. The author's entertaining description of the coming together of personalities, science, politics, and economics was fascinating. As I read further it became clear that it was not only an interesting story about the past but also a striking parallel to our present situation and a powerful insight into the challenges of our future.

The second part of the book takes a look at the present (1992) state of communications in the world. This was informative for someone with very little technological knowledge. Clarke explains such things as fiber optics and how satellite communications takes place. He also explains the technological difficulties of various methods of communication. Have you ever wondered why we still have transoceanic cables in this age of instantaneous satellite communication? Clarke makes the answer not only accurate but also interesting. Written like an unfolding mystery novel, the reader is drawn into areas of scientific knowledge that might have seemed too complicated or too boring for the layperson. Those of you who are techies would probably find this book elementary and simple from a scientific perceptive. Those of us with a more rudimentary scientific background will find the descriptions presented in the book easy to understand and enlightening. Both types of readers will find the human stories that are told engaging and revealing.

The third part of Clarke's book is as interesting for what it does not talk about as for what it does. Written in 1992 this part makes some interesting predictions about the future. The author is famous for his very accurate predictions of future events. Right after World War II he predicted the importance of satellite communications and is widely recognized as the godfather of Telestar. His science fiction classic 2001. A Space Odyssey is receiving a great deal of attention this year for very obvious reasons. Yet the creator of Hal, has almost nothing to say about the importance of the personal computer for the future. In a book primarily concerned with communication and with how the world is being made into a global village by various methods of communication, Clarke has very little to say about the Internet. Both omissions are remarkable statements about just how much the world of communications has changed in the last ten years.

I found the book to be an interesting and entertaining history of the communication revolution. For those of us who believe that we can learn from the mistakes as well as the accomplishments of the past this will be a valuable and fun book to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars How the World Was One
Clarke discussing the evolution of communications through history.Very entertaining book that goes into a lot of history that even people who think they know a lot, don't really know.I wish it was still in print.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Story!
Clarke's telling of Cyrus Fields' incredible effort to connect Europe and North America with a telegraph cable is fascinating.This story seems to have been lost to history except for this book which now sadly appears tobe out of print.What a pity!If you can find it. Read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting!
a good read and with clarke's writing style you don't have to be an electronics/math/whatever genius to understand it. ... Read more

2. Time's Eye (A Time Odyssey)
by Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2005-03-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 034545247X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Sir Arthur C. Clarke is a living legend, a writer whose name has been synonymous with science fiction for more than fifty years. An indomitable believer in human and scientific potential, Clarke is a genuine visionary. If Clarke has an heir among today’s science fiction writers, it is award-winning author Stephen Baxter. In each of his acclaimed novels, Baxter has demonstrated dazzling gifts of imagination and intellect, along with a rare ability to bring the most cerebral science dramatically to life. Now these two champions of humanism and scientific speculation have combined their talents in a novel sure to be one of the most talked-about of the year, a 2001 for the new millennium.


For eons, Earth has been under observation by the Firstborn, beings almost as old as the universe itself. The Firstborn are unknown to humankind— until they act. In an instant, Earth is carved up and reassembled like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Suddenly the planet and every living thing on it no longer exist in a single timeline. Instead, the world becomes a patchwork of eras, from prehistory to 2037, each with its own indigenous inhabitants.

Scattered across the planet are floating silver orbs impervious to all weapons and impossible to communicate with. Are these technologically advanced devices responsible for creating and sustaining the rifts in time? Are they cameras through which inscrutable alien eyes are watching? Or are they something stranger and more terrifying still?

The answer may lie in the ancient city of Babylon, where two groups of refugees from 2037—three cosmonauts returning to Earth from the International Space Station, and three United Nations peacekeepers on a mission in Afghanistan—have detected radio signals: the only such signals on the planet, apart from their own. The peacekeepers find allies in nineteenth-century British troops and in the armies of Alexander the Great. The astronauts, crash-landed in the steppes of Asia, join forces with the Mongol horde led by Genghis Khan. The two sides set out for Babylon, each determined to win the race for knowledge . . . and the power that lies within.

Yet the real power is beyond human control, perhaps even human understanding. As two great armies face off before the gates of Babylon, it watches, waiting. . . .

From the Hardcover edition.Amazon.com Review
Sir Arthur C. Clarke may be the greatest science fiction writer in the world; certainly, he's the best-known, not least because he wrote the novel and coauthored the screenplay of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He's also the only SF writer to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize or to be knighted by Her Majesty Elizabeth II. This god of SF has twice collaborated with one of the best SF writers to emerge in the 1990s, Stephen Baxter, winner of the British SF Award, the Locus Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award. Their first collaboration is the novel The Light of Other Days. Their second is the novel Time's Eye: Book One of a Time Odyssey.

As the subtitle indicates, Time's Eye is the first book of a series intended to do for time what 2001 did for space. Does Time's Eye succeed in this goal? No. In 2001, humanity discovers a mysterious monolith on the moon, triggering a signal that astronauts pursue to one of the moons of Jupiter. In Time's Eye, mysterious satellites appear all around the Earth and scramble time, bringing together an ape-woman; twenty-first-century soldiers and astronauts; nineteenth-century British and Indian soldiers; and the armies of Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great. The characters march around in search of other survivors, then clash in epic battle. It's not until the end that the novel returns to the mystery of the tiny, eye-like satellites (and doesn't solve it). In other words, the plot of Time's Eye is a nearly 300-page digression, and 2001 fans expecting exploration of the scientific enigma and examinationof the meaning of existence will be disappointed. However, fans of rousing and well-written transtemporal adventure in the tradition of S.M. Stirling's novel Island in the Sea of Time will enjoy Time's Eye. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (62)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Clarke's best, but worth a read
I'm not sure how I managed to miss Clarke's (and co-author Stephen Baxter's) Time's Eye trilogy when it first appeared, but somehow it slipped in under my radar. So while browsing in the Kindle store I was excited to find Time's Eye.

Alas, that excitment didn't last long. As the first book in the trilogy, Time's Eye doesn't have much to recommend it except for die-hard Clarke fans. After a promising start in which small reflective "eyes" begin appearing all over the globe, Earth is seemingly chopped up into sections and reassembled. The sections are from differing time lines ranging from the prehistoric to the 21st century. Three U.N. peacekeepers are suddenly thrown into 19th century Afghanistan where they join up with British and Indian soldiers battling the Pashtuns. This group, in turn, joins with Alexander the Great's army. Three other 21st century travelers are returning from a mission aboard the Mir space station and end up in the nomadic army of Genghis Khan. Using patched-together technology, the groups detect a radio signal in the ancient city of Babylon. Thus the stage is set as both armies rush toward Babylon.

There's spectacle, action, clashing swords, betrayal, and all the things one would expect to find in a story that pits Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. But if you're expecting challenging sci-fi ... eh, not so much. It seems like Time's Eye has little purpose besides setting up the next novel in the series. The book's not a bad read, but it's just never gets around to answering any of the questions it poses. Granted, I know the second and third novels will answer questions ... but it seems so much of the first book is about mechanically moving characters into position for the next book that in the end the first book comes across as pretty hollow. I'll stick with reading the rest of the story, but I hope the rest of the series will be more thought-provoking than Time's Eye.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying!
This was a great book!It had great characters, a fascinating plot, and ended in a very satisfying way in which most of the plot lines were nicely tied up....with a few left open for the sequel.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Romp, Rather Than a Revelation
Time's Eye, published in 2005, is the product of a fun collaboration between Arthur C. Clarke (no introduction needed) and Stephen Baxter, a very accomplished SF writer in his own right.The result is an entertaining, but not awe-inspiring, romp through time.A good beach, airplane, or vacation read, it lacks the depth and ability to awe that made the strains of Thus Spake Zarathustra seem perfectly appropriate in the film version of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Clarke/Baxter team will likely not disappoint those who find sci-fi a staple, but nor will it move any reader into the "this book changed my life" territory.Even in his late 80's, Clarke's writing still shows his hallmark inquisitiveness and creativity.Clarke was an excellent futurist, proposing a satellite based communication system based on geostationary orbits ten years before Sputnik was launched (even today geostationary orbits are sometimes referred to as "Clarke orbits").The effects of his fine mind permeate this book.Clarke/Baxter spin the tale of a time dysjunction, with a new planet being patched together with segments of Earth that have been biopsied from different eras.Thrown together are humans with advanced technology, Mongol warriors, Macedonians under Alexander the Great, and even a Lucy-like protohuman.Great fun results when armies clash, intrigues unfold, romances blossom. All of which is presided over by the brooding presence of silvery spheres that are impervious to earthly laws of physics.

Should you add this book to your TBR (to be read) pile?Hmmm.Be aware that it is book one of a trilogy, and that it has a typical cliffhanger ending to hook you into the sequel, Sunstorm.Read Time's Eye, and you've had the bread and soup, but the main meal awaits.I cheated:I listened to the audiobook version (courtesy of my local public library) while bike-commuting, and enjoyed it.Would I put it in the queue of books on my night stand or in my Kindle?Nope.Is it good enough for me to listen to Part 2 and Part 3 while I pedal through Central Oregon.You betcha!

5-0 out of 5 stars Latter-Day Masterpiece
As a long-time Arthur C. Clarke buff and fan of The Light of Other Days, his first Stephen Baxter collaboration, I had high hopes for Time's Eye and was not disappointed. It came out in 2003, when Clarke turned eighty-six - an age when most artists have long since ceased to make quality work. He may have needed a collaborator, but Baxter is ideal - the writer probably most in his style today. Together they made the best entry in Clarke's canon since 1987's 2061:Odyssey Three or even 1982's 2010:Odyssey Two. It is nothing less than one of the greatest science fiction novels of the last few decades and one of Clarke's ten best - high praise indeed. One should of course read Clarke's classic masterpieces first, but this is well above most of what he put out after the 1980s and a boon for his many fans - an unexpected latter-day jewel in his incomparable crown and another co-triumph for Baxter, one of SF's most talented current writers.

As the Time Odyssey subtitle suggests, the novel has crossovers with the famous Space Odyssey books, which will attract and delight their millions of fans. It is not a sequel - is indeed not even set in the same universe -, but there are several similarities and a good number of references. Such a thing is always risky - not only almost always failures but often veering near self-parody. The authors admirably manage to make it interesting and entertaining; the parallels seem respectful and worthwhile rather than rehashed material from (an admittedly legendary) has-been. The prime similarity is the large role of The Firstborn, the mysterious forces behind many Space Odyssey events. Long-time fans will be glad to see them as they are one of SF's most intriguing creations and can probably never be overused. Their role here is similar, and they maintain the mysterious allure that makes them so fascinating. The chief difference is that, where their Space Odyssey purpose is initially benign and later at least neutral, here it is deliberately hostile. As the title hints, they deal now in time rather than space, and the famous monolith is replaced by the titular Eye - another puzzling and utterly absorbing creation.

It cannot be overemphasized that Time's does not recycle the Space Odyssey books; it is vigorously fresh and original - a vivid independent creation that deserves to stand near those eternal masterpieces. Its main charm is that, like those books at their best and all Clarke at his height, the sheer imaginative reach is astounding and utterly absorbing - mind-bending, thought-provoking, and simply fascinating. I will not give away details because constant surprises are the chief joy of reading the book. Suffice it to say that Clarke's unmatched imagination - doubtless with significant Baxter assistance - is in full swing. The grand, sweeping story is masterfully plotted and deftly executed, keeping us in constant wonder and suspense and never ceasing entertain. A wealth of historical references is put to great use, actually becoming integral to the story and not used as mere window dressing as so often in SF time stories. The time element itself is also put to excellent use; time travel and its variants are of course SF clichés, but this manages to exploit a new angle, adding significantly to the subgenre.

Characterization is also very strong. Clarke has always been criticized here, and Baxter may have helped significantly; Time's in any case has one of the most interesting and varied casts of any Clarke book. The characters are far from the cardboard cutouts so unfortunately common in SF; we are deeply engrossed in their actions and truly feel for them in a way very rare in the genre. Their interactions and conflicts are also unusually engaging.

Time's main strength, though, is common to all of Clarke's best work - its mind-expanding panorama of intensely imaginative wonder. It can be easily appreciated on a very simple level as a truly cosmic adventure, but deeper themes resonate. Classic Clarke themes like the universe's vast scale, its endless possibilities, and its essential mystery, especially as related to the possibility of life and its implications for our place in the overall scheme, are brilliantly and vividly dramatized. It had been a long time since a Clarke work engaged these perennial themes so overtly and strongly, and seeing it again was a great joy. To make things even better, the vibrantly descriptive, highly poetic prose characteristic of Clarke at his best is here as it had not been in so long that many despaired of its return. Simply put, this belongs in or near Clarke's top tier, which is all that need be said.

As so often with Clarke, the ending is a cliffhanger, and many important threads are left dangling; there are indeed more questions than answers. The series continued in two more books that answered most of these, and anyone who reads this will of course want to read them, but it is important to be warned that they are far less good. The next book, Sunstorm, is a major disappointment - perhaps Clarke's worst. Firstborn, the third, is much better but well below Time's. Clarke completists will of course want them, and Firstborn is worthy and the series itself worthwhile, but Time's is his last great work. It later became clear that Time's was the last book he was able to work on significantly, which explains the drastic quality drop. Fans can only be glad that three more books (partly) flowed from his unmatched pen, but this is in many ways his last hurrah. We must be grateful considering his age when he worked on it and the many great works he had already given, but there is of course a certain sadness in it. It is very hard not to lament, but we must remember Clarke's essential optimism and cherish Time's as the last true monument from what may be SF's premier writer. There will never be another Clarke, and Time's will remain valuable in addition to its great inherent worth as a powerfully stirring reminder of just how great he was. It is essential for all his fans - and, indeed, anyone even remotely interested in SF.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up on very good Sci Fi/Alternate Historical Fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed Time's Eye - it's got action, science, and solidly developed characters. It's also got an ancient history battle royale between Alexander the Great and his army vs. Genghis Khan and his Mongolian hoard.

Time's Eye is the first in Stephen Baxter and Arthur C. Clarke's Time Odyssey series which takes place in the same universe as Clarke's 2001 stories. Inexplicably (at least initially), Earth is sliced up and stitched back together creating a mish-mash of timeframes. This scenario creates the opportunity for Baxter and Clarke to position a Genghis-Alexander battle for control over the new Earth (dubbed "Mir" by the remnant individuals from the 21st century). The story is broad in scope, with multiple story lines intersecting, connecting and culminating in a satisfying conclusion. While the ending isn't quite a cliff-hanger, it certainly sets up book 2 nicely.

Time's Eye has the requisite amount of hard science and pseudo-scientific - and sometimes atheistic - philosophical musings. These are the elements that Baxter and Clarke fans anticipate in their works. The philosophical vignettes are tightly written, and rarely feel forced or out of context with the rest of the story. I was thankful that there wasn't too much rumination on the structure and specifics of time-travel.

The characters are solidly drawn and the authors were able to make the "real" characters like Alexander the Great, some of Alexander's cohorts, and Rudyard Kipling (who gets caught in the time shifts), believable and relatively cliché-free.

In addition to the science fiction standbys of time travel and "those-that-watch-us-from-above", the book contains solid historical fiction elements, specifically when dealing with Alexander and the Mongols. The authors take time to detail their histories, battle strategy and tactics of each set of warriors. There are also shades of Baxter's Evolution while writing on the early hominids that get caught up in the time shifts.

Overall, I strongly recommend this sci-fi / alternative historical fiction from two of the best in the business.
... Read more

3. The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke
by Arthur C. Clarke
Paperback: 976 Pages (2002-01-14)
list price: US$21.99 -- used & new: US$11.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312878605
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, The City and the Stars, and the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke is the most celebrated science fiction author alive. He is—with H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and Robert A. Heinlein—one of the writers who define science fiction in our time. Now Clarke has cooperated in the preparation of a massive, definitive edition of his collected shorter works. From early work like "Rescue Party" and "The Lion of Comarre," through classics like "The Star," "Earthlight," "The Nine Billion Names of God," and "The Sentinel" (kernel of the later novel, and movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey), all the way to later work like "A Meeting with Medusa" and "The Hammer of God," this immense volume encapsulates one of the great SF careers of all time.
Amazon.com Review
Ancient Rome had its famed Five Good Emperors--Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian,Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius, for those keeping track. And whilescience fiction might not have Edward Gibbons around to dole out similar,agreed-upon honors, everyone pretty much accepts the canonization of a fewfounding fathers: Asimov, Heinlein, Wells, and Bradbury all make the shortlist, as does--always--the venerable and venerated Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master and the winner of just about every SF award you care to mention.

So whether you're already familiar with his works or not (most notablyChildhood's End andthe Rama series), you certainly can't go wrong picking up this veritable brick of acollection--912 pages in all--as either primer or essential reference.Within you'll find virtually every short piece of fiction that Clarke hasever published, from 1937's endearingly twee (in retrospect) "Travel byWire" to 1999's "Improving the Neighbourhood," the first sci-fiNature ever published.

The Collected Stories is all short works (as short as 31 words inone case) and includes some of Clarke's best stories, including thelighthearted "Tales of the White Hart" and the momentous "The Star" and "TheNine Billion Names of God." --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Writer
Clark is probably the best writer of our time. This book is a great sampling of his work. I highly recommend this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Collection
From his earliest published efforts to some of his most recent short stories (into the late 1990's), The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke shows off the insightful and brilliant mind this man possessed.Clarke was so far ahead of his time in so many ways.Among my favorites:"The Lion of Comarre" details a mythical place where people travel to and never want to return from, and "Reunion" tells of long-lost cousins (of a sort) returning to Earth after being away for a very long time.These are but a meager sampling of many noteworthy tales.Simply put, no one will ever replace Clarke's genius.This collection is well worth picking up.

5-0 out of 5 stars This was a present for my kid
I got this as a present for my kid.I read it more than he does!! Good anthology of Clarke's work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read for any true sci fi fan
Arthur C. Clarke was a true master of science fiction, and hist short stories is where his genius shines best

2-0 out of 5 stars interesting for history of sci-fi, but otherwise out-of-date
Clarke was a prolific writer. Some would say that qualifies as being a great writer, but I would say that putting out a high quantity of stories just fills the bell curve as far as quality of stories. Maybe it is because of the span of time over which these were written, but many of them read like episodes of "The Twilight Zone" or "Outer Limits" - and many more read like bad episodes of such.

Reading these stories, you get a feel for where the seeds of other sci-fi stories came from, but often times, you are simply left confused (like the ending of "The Star"), wanting a better ending (his endings definitely tend to be pessimistic), or simply laughing at the infantile writing while asking yourself, "This is one of the greats of sci-fi?"

Again, maybe it is just because sci-fi was in its infancy when he wrote most of these, but his prejudices and pessimistic elitist style too often cloud what could have been a decent story. ... Read more

4. Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey)
by Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter
Mass Market Paperback: 368 Pages (2006-02-28)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345452518
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
When Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the greatest science fiction writer ever, teams up with award-winning author Stephen Baxter, who shares Clarke’s bold vision of a future where technology and humanism advance hand in hand, the result is bound to be a book of stellar ambition and accomplishment. Such was the case with Time’s Eye. Now, in the highly anticipated sequel, Clarke and Baxter draw their epic to a triumphant conclusion that is as mind-blowing as anything in Clarke’s famous Space Odyssey series.


Returned to the Earth of 2037 by the Firstborn, mysterious beings of almost limitless technological prowess, Bisesa Dutt is haunted by the memories of her five years spent on the strange alternate Earth called Mir, a jigsaw-puzzle world made up of lands and people cut out of different eras of Earth’s history. Why did the Firstborn create Mir? Why was Bisesa taken there and then brought back on the day after her original disappearance?

Bisesa’s questions receive a chilling answer when scientists discover an anomaly in the sun’s core–an anomaly that has no natural cause is evidence of alien intervention over two thousand years before. Now plans set in motion millennia ago by inscrutable watchers light-years away are coming to fruition in a sunstorm designed to scour the Earth of all life in a bombardment of deadly radiation.

Thus commences a furious race against a ticking solar time bomb. But even now, as apocalypse looms, cooperation is not easy for the peoples and nations of the Earth. Religious and political differences threaten to undermine every effort.

And all the while, the Firstborn are watching...

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

3-0 out of 5 stars Better than part one, but that's not saying much
I was tremendously disappointed in Time's Eye, the first book in this trilogy. I can definitely say that the sequel, Sunstorm, is a much better book, but that's faint praise.

Sunstorm is the kind of story Clarke could not only make look effortless, but could use to educate and entertain as well. Too bad that near the end of such a long and distinguished career he churns out a series that feels pointless and is more interested in lecturing than educating.

For what it's worth, Sunstorm takes one of the characters from the first book - U.N. peacekeeper Bisesa Dutt - out of the patchwork Earth called Mir and returns her to the real Earth the day after she disappears. Earth, it seems, is about to be deluged by a sunstorm caused by the Firstborn. This ancient alien race wants to wipe out Earth so that humans won't be competing for the universe's energy. Suddenly the human race finds itself in a race for survival and begins construction on a huge space shield to blunt the worst of the solar storm. Any guesses on whether humankind will survive?

Apart from the presence of a single character and the mention a few times of the Firstborn, Sunstorm seems hardly like a sequel. In fact, I wish I could have just skipped all the pointless running around and Alexander the Great vs. Genghis Khan of the first book. Perhaps it will all come together in the third book, though I'm not holding my breath.

If this series had been by a first-time author I'd probably be praising it and assuming the author would grow and improve over time. That it's written by a much-beloved writer who was one of sci-fi's giants only makes its mediocrity that much more apparent.

1-0 out of 5 stars Bad Sequel - Political Drivel
There are two problems with Sunstorm.The first is that it contains none of the excitement or excellent story telling found in Time Shift.The second is it takes Clarke's and Baxter's political beliefs to the nth degree.

In Sunstorm the authors explain to readers that Americans are selfish and overbearing.Thanks to the good people of the rest of the world man made global warming is finally being addressed, scientific discoveries are being made, and man kind is maturing.

All religions are bad, remnants of mankind's childhood.Constant references are made to the way "all religions" perform horrible acts of aggression including terrorism.Absent real world examples of terror acts perpetrated by Christians on Muslims, Clarke and Baxter make up a few.Oddly they never mention any of the thousands of real terror acts perpetrated by mad Muslims on "infidels".

Diversity is key in this story.There are constant passages containing look down the nose descriptions of evil or ignorant Americans.Somehow that a person is a scientist, or very intelligent, or insightful about events is secondary to their race.If the people in the future are beyond race, beyond nations, then they wouldn't think of everyone they meet in terms of race and nationality.

Nationality is replaced by a futuristic European union.The major power in the world, it's better than petty nations like America because, well, it isn't America.And when there's a world crisis, only the mighty government of this non nation can save the day.The world, according to Clarke and Baxter, is a better place because socialism and duty to the union has replaced individuality.

Just a few years later the perspectives delivered in the book are, far from forward looking, horribly outdated.Man made global warming has been exposed as a flim flam game.The idea that rabid Christian terrorists are running rampant is absurd.Diversity has been exposed by its adherents constant reference to race.Socialism in America and the European Union and all over the world isn't making the world a better place, it's failing under the weight of its own bloated programs and bankrupt social services.

Time Shift makes the reader look forward to a sequel.Sunstorm makes the reader dread a sequel.

5-0 out of 5 stars Could it actually happen? Find out here
In Sunstorm, the Firstborn -- an ancient alien race -- contrive to send a planet fifteen times the size of Jupiter hurtling into our sun causing a "sunstorm" (get it?) that would wipe us out.

But could it happen?

That question plaqued me as I read this book but I don't think it could...at least how Clarke told this story.

It all has to do with what he tells about the Firstborn.

For one thing, he describes the Firstborn as an ancient race that first evolved when the first stars alighted just after the Big Bang.Just after the Big Bang, the universe was entirely composed of hydrogen and helium (in a roughly 3 to 1 ratio).Though there may have been other elements created as a result of the Big Bang I think it's unlikely that any organic life producing elements like carbon or oxygen would have existed in sufficient quantities to give rise to life.

And time is a problem too!When the first stars alighted after the Big Bang, they were tremendously huge and as a result of their great size they burned themselves out very quickly on the order of millions, and not billions of years.As anyone familiar with Earth history can tell you there is no evidence that life existed here on Earth any earlier than 3.8 billion years ago, a full .8 billion years after the planet was first created.And significantly, when that life was created it was archaic and possessed nothing like the type of intelligence Clarke depicts his Firstborn possessing when their star had to have burned out.

What's more, Clarke says that the Firstborn first conceived of their plot to destroy Earth 4.6 billion years ago when the planet was first formed.At that time, any species observing our planet would have had no way of knowing whether Venus, Earth or Mars would be able to give rise to life.And there's even evidence to suggest that for a time both Mars and Venus may seemed to be superior candidates for giving rise to life.(In this regard, please see Impey's very excellent How it Ends for a full description of the scenerio.)

Long story short:As Clarke depicts it, I would have to say I don't believe it COULD happen the way he says.

But that being said, there could well be intelligences greater than ours and whether they view us with eyes envious or not, they could still view us with eyes malevolent and even now be casting...or executing...their designs.

Watch the skies...watch the skies indeed.

3-0 out of 5 stars 2 and 1/2 Stars -- A Major Disappointment
Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter's Time's Eye is one of the greatest recent science fiction novels, which makes it a true shame that this sequel is distinctly subpar - a great disappointment to fans of Time's, to say nothing of Clarke's many masterpieces. It has since emerged that, in contrast to Time's, the nearly ninety-year-old Clarke did little writing, but Sunstorm would not stand out even if written fully by Baxter or any other capable SF writer. Though not entirely without merit, it lacks nearly all of what made Time's and other Clarke classics great and has little else to recommend it. Though meant to be palatable as a standalone, it makes more sense if one has read Time's - and no one should have anything to do with it until having read the latter anyway. All Time's fans should read it because Firstborn, the concluding volume, is far stronger, but Sunstorm is of at best moderate worth in itself.

The novel is simply weak on every front. Clarke is known for brilliantly imaginative stories and plot elements, but this has his weakest premise. The general idea of a potentially catastrophic sunstorm is interesting, but the details are poorly thought out; for instance, the method by which the Firstborn instigate it is implausibly roundabout. The authors manage to work historical events into the context in an interesting and inventive way, but the plot is very dull. Early segments where the threat is discussed and possible defenses theorized are somewhat intriguing, but the solution is quickly reached - and is so obvious as to be passé. Its enactment takes up most of the plot and is simply not engaging enough to hold the book. One might think suspense would at least be high, but things work out just as anyone would have predicted. The distinctly anti-climactic ending is not helped by a contrived, out of nowhere crisis that is in any event almost instantly resolved. Clarke has thrilled and fascinated me since I was thirteen, and I never would have thought he could be associated with such weak material. I have read nearly everything he wrote, and this is by far his least successful dramatization.

The authors try to save the weak plot by throwing in numerous things of interest to Clarke buffs:space elevators, solar wind, references to the Space Odyssey series and other works, etc. These are somewhat fun at first but soon start to seem disingenuously manufactured. Clarke fans have long been used to such things, accepting them with a wink, but in the past they always had a strong story with mesmerizing ideas to hold them up. Here they practically stand alone and almost seem dangerously near self-parody. Clarke was after all not only one of the most brilliant writers of recent times but one of the most brilliant thinkers and inventors, and it is truly sad to see him recycling old ideas with nothing to add. He would have been better served by leaving Sunstorm unwritten than trotting out such a half-baked effort.

Clarke has always been criticized for weak characterization, and Baxter presumably contributed significantly to Time's relatively strong showing in this area. However, Sunstorm's characters are simply uninteresting; no other novel, or even short story, by Clarke has such bland and, above all, boring ones. It is almost impossible to care about them. The emotions we are supposed to feel simply do not come; even deaths fail to move. The younger characters in particular are downright annoying, as are the computers - a sad realization considering they come from the creator of HAl. Even the lone major character returning from Time's is newly uninteresting - indeed, is inexplicably practically a different character, everything that made her worthwhile somehow replaced by near-risible timidity. The authors of course had the right to take the series in a new direction, but it is extremely hard not to wish for Time's far superior cast. The slight romance attempt is also a failure, while the interesting Time's romance is mysteriously dismissed in an aside; several other continuity discrepancies are similarly jarring. The two researchers are the only even remotely alluring characters, and the book would probably have been better if their subplot had been developed more.

The novel's strengths are few. Clarke standbys like religious critique are here implicitly but a pale shadow of former depictions and hard to pay attention to in any case amid general mediocrity. His characteristic optimism and faith in technology are here in full, but the presentation makes them infinitely less compelling than usual. The fact that we can see where his strengths could have been utilized only makes the weak execution all the more depressing.

Sunstorm is simply a major disappointment. Clarke completists will of course want it, but anyone who liked Time's but is scared by my review and/or others might consider skipping to Firstborn, as it parenthetically explains the little one would miss. I am glad it was not Clarke's last novel, as I feared it would be, but it is still unfortunate that his canon has such a weak entry.

1-0 out of 5 stars Endlessly Ending His Career
FirstBorn has a great many plots all running at once and all leading to a final great climax. Very well written until the author ran out......the end is so pathetic as to be meaningless..... 2001 A Space Odyssey at least had a suggestion of meaning.This was a Dead.....end ... Read more

5. Firstborn (Time Odyssey)
by Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2008-10-28)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$1.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345491580
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Firstborn–the mysterious race of aliens who first became known to science fiction fans as the builders of the iconic black monolith in 2001: A Space Odysseyhave inhabited legendary master of science fiction Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s writing for decades. With Time’s Eye and Sunstorm, the first two books in their acclaimed Time Odyssey series, Clarke and his brilliant co-author Stephen Baxter imagined a near-future in which the Firstborn seek to stop the advance of human civilization by employing a technology indistinguishable from magic.

Their first act was the Discontinuity, in which Earth was carved into sections from different eras of history, restitched into a patchwork world, and renamed Mir. Mir’s inhabitants included such notables as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and United Nations peacekeeper Bisesa Dutt. For reasons unknown to her, Bisesa entered into communication with an alien artifact of inscrutable purpose and godlike power–a power that eventually returned her to Earth. There, she played an instrumental role in humanity’s race against time to stop a doomsday event: a massive solar storm triggered by the alien Firstborn designed to eradicate all life from the planet. That fate was averted at an inconceivable price. Now, twenty-seven years later, the Firstborn are back.

This time, they are pulling no punches: They have sent a “quantum bomb.” Speeding toward Earth, it is a device that human scientists can barely comprehend, that cannot be stopped or destroyed–and one that will obliterate Earth.

Bisesa’s desperate quest for answers sends her first to Mars and then to Mir, which is itself threatened with extinction. The end seems inevitable. But as shocking new insights emerge into the nature of the Firstborn and their chilling plans for mankind, an unexpected ally appears from light-years away.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book in this series!
Firstborn is actually the last book in the Clarke/Baxter Time's Eye series picking up where Time's Eye and Sunstorm left off.

It's 2070 and the Earth faces its latest challenge from the Firstborn.They have sent a Q bomb capable of altering time and space itself to absorb species they consider a threat to cosmic order.

The reason they did this is because the Firstborn are ancient race (according to Clarke, they evolved with the "first stars" billions of years ago).Being old, they want to live forever or at least as close to forever as they can.

Because the universe ultimately has only a discrete amount of energy the Firstborn seek to eliminate species that they believe have the propensity to exhaust this energy.

In Time's Eye we watched as our main heroine Beisa Dutt was transported to an alternate Earth where slices of the planet were carved from different time periods in the past two million years.In this way, she was witness to a great conflict between Ghengis Khan and Alexander the Great played out under the watchful "eyes" of the Firstborn.

The "eyes" were extra dimension spheres located throughout the planet so that the Firstborn could witness the permutations of pitting so many from so many different time periods essentially against each other.

In this way, Time's Eye kind of borrowed from that great old sci fy standard, The Arena, except that all the competitors were human...albeit from different historical time periods.

In Sunstorm, Dutt was sent back to then present day Earth (circa 2040) to watch as mankind readied itself for a great sunstorm (hence the title) caused by the agency of the Firstborn.

This writer's impressions of both works can already be found in different installments on this website by accessing the book(s) in question.

Here, as indicated, we're farther forward in history and to surmount the challenge of the Q bomb will take the united cooperation of both then contemporary humans as well as those residing on humanity's sister world.

For my money, this is the best book in the series for its integration of the best parts of its earlier predecessor works.If you liked the alternate history stuff, you got it.If you liked the cutting edge science well then you got that too. As an extra added bonus you even got some great character development thrown in.

In fact, I believe this series is the best sci fy series since the original Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov.And unlike Foundation, where essentially there was only one "cool" idea (psychohistory or the concept that human history could actually be predicted), this book has many great ideas:

NONLOCALITY:Here, Clarke uses nonlocality as his vehicle for creating alternate universes.Not surprising, he's as short on details as Creighton's Timeline would be.But still he provides at least serviceable demonstrations for what he's talking about.

HUMANS IN SPACE:This book paints an excellent picture of human life in space based a contemporary understanding of some of the relevant issues.I especially liked little details like where the Martian born human children were actually morphologically different from their parents as would actually be the case in such a situation.

FUTURE TECHNOLOGY:Clarke, not surprisingly, is really good at the space stuff.I say not surprsingly because Clarke was the guy who back in the 1950s originally suggested putting satellites in geosynchronous orbit.Here, he's especially strong at describing solar sails and other space age technology.

I did find myself however noticing that Clarke failed to pick up any of the predictions made by Ray Kurzweil that "other" futurist.I wondered whether it was because Clarke wasn't familiar with them (something I highly doubt) or whether Clarke is simply less willing to make predictions relating to areas where his personal understanding of the subject material is less (which I consider more likely).

There seems to be no doubt that many readers are not as excited about this series as I am.But I would suggest at least checking out one of these books and deciding for yourself.

Who knows?You may agree with me and yourself highly recommend this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars should have stopped when he was ahead
Not Clarke's best work by far. All his familiar concepts and themes are there, but this is an endless travel report more than a SF novel. There is nothing new here we haven't had in much better, much earlier Clarke novels.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worthy End to a Respectable Series
Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter's Time's Eye, the first book in the series that Firstborn concludes, is one of the greatest recent science fiction novels. However, its sequel, Sunstorm, was extremely disappointing. Fans thus did not know what to expect from Firstborn, but the news is thankfully positive; though significantly below Time's, it is far above Sunstorm - a small latter-day triumph for Clarke, who turned ninety the month it was published. Anyone who liked Time's will certainly like it, and those scared by Sunstorm need not fear. One should certainly read Clarke's classic works before coming to the series, but Firstborn reassuringly ends it on a relatively high note and is fairly strong in itself.

Everything that made Sunstorm weak is essentially corrected. Though not as mesmerizingly inventive as Time's, much less classic Clarke, the plot is very intriguing. In great contrast to Sunstorm, the central danger is fascinating; its inner workings and dangers are compellingly described, and solutions are worked out plausibly and excitingly. Clarke works are rich in potentially Apocalyptic disasters, but this is one of the most mind-bendingly inventive. Again in contrast to Sunstorm, the path to stopping it is absorbingly unpredictable - well thought out and effectively executed.

Other plot elements are also engaging. We finally see the resolution of threads left dangling in Time's, and Sunstorm's meager developments are finalized. The authors weave in historical elements interestingly and successfully, and the future extrapolations intrigue. As usual with Clarke, particularly in late years, there is a wealth of references to his ideas and past works:space elevators, solar racing, the Space Odyssey series, etc. This will of course be of great interest to the many Clarke buffs, especially as it is far more natural and seamless than in Sunstorm.

Characterization is also greatly improved over Sunstorm, though again not as strong as in Time's. I still find Myra annoying, but most major characters are sympathetic or at least palatable, and the interpersonal drama is far more moving and engrossing. The Firstborn themselves are of course ever fascinating, mesmerizing and beguiling readers since their first appearance in 2001:A Space Odyssey nearly forty years before this book. We learn a little more about them here, though the authors are of course careful not to remove all the mystery.

This brings up an important point - this would not be a Clarke book if everything were tightly wrapped up. He long ago learned that an essential condition of SF greatness is alluring wide-openness. Our minds often fill in blanks more vividly and forcefully than minute description could do, luring us in and provoking thought. This makes works stay with us long after reading whereas we may well have pushed them out of mind if they ended with a conventional ribbon and bow. Firstborn is another entry in this grand tradition, conveying classic Clarke themes like the universe's vast reach, its limitless possibilities, and its endless capacity for surprise - not least in regard to life. Humanity's place in the cosmos is again put in perspective, and a variety of philosophical and other issues of importance are memorably dramatized. The writing also has an occasionally dazzling poetic turn, though certainly not on Clarke's highest level, and is notably tight and concise.

Also, as so often with Clarke, the end is a cliffhanger. This will dismay some, as Firstborn is the close of a series, but such open-endedness is a Clarke trademark for better or worse. 2001, which was supposed to be a standalone work, after all ended thus. Even those who can usually roll with such things may think this simply goes too far, and it is definitely frustrating to a certain extent. However, the authors surely thought it necessary to leave the great question unresolved; they after all know humanity's future no better than anyone and likely did not feel safe in assuming. Human arrogance coupled with inevitable ignorance is after all one of the series' themes - and one of Clarke's generally -, and the book arguably could hardly have ended otherwise. Clarke's diehard optimism and faith in human progress, coupled with his many other books' endings, strongly suggest humanity will triumph, but this remains to be seen. Firstborn was advertised as the concluding volume, but the door was certainly left open for at least one more book. However, Clarke's death surely put an end to the possibility, so we must take the ending on its own terms. The series probably could have ended better, and Clarke certainly has superior endings, but I prefer this to something overly pat like 3001.

All told, though far from Clarke's best, Firstborn is a worthy latter-day novel and a fairly effective end to a respectable series - a worthwhile coda to an unmatched career.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Vehicle for Pet Ideas
And these pet ideas are the only things that make this book worth reading, bringing what could have been a promising series to its sadly weak conclusion. 19 years after the events of "Sunstorm," Bisesa Dutt is retrieved from hibernation by her daughter, now a grown woman with issues, who has thrown in with a nebulous "spacer" organization whose designs on Bisesa Dutt are never quite clear. Dutt's daughter doesn't know what they're after either, yet she goes along with it anyway. ???? (this is a sentence) Next they are on a space elevator, one of Clarke's grand ideas from yesteryear brought back to overwhelming life during a three-week-long journey into space in which Bisesa shares close confines with her daughter and a spacer. Why are they on this journey? The spacer won't say, yet Bisesa, the hard-charging heroine, agrees to the trip anyway--as uncomfortable and odiferous as it becomes--without explanation. ????(another sentence) During their journey, however, the space elevator is described in detail down to the width of its carbon nanotubes.

Next they are on a light ship bound for Mars, in another long journey. Why? The spacer won't say. Yet Bisesa continues to go along with it. ???? (you see the pattern) Along the way, the light ship is described down to its movable cabin walls--you could practically use this novel to build your own.

Now they're on Mars fleeing the authorities. Why? Still don't know, but the reader gets a description of Mars akin to Kim Stanley Robinson.

No need to go on, just continue with this theme to the conclusion of the book, which is as enigmatic and incomprehensible as 2001: A Space Odyssey.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not up to Clarke's HIGH standards
I've read at least nine Arthur C. Clarke novels because I genuinely love his writing.And I actually had a very good time reading this trilogy despite my following complaints.That being said, I threw this book down when I finished because I could not believe I was left with how it ended!After the first two very engaging books that give a realistic perspective of the future, comment on our world politics, and develop appealing characters, Firstborn seems to just race to the end without resolving everything (and the resolutions that we DO get are kind of expected).

Another BIG problem I have with this book (spoiler alert), is that there is a monolith on the cover...and NO monolith makes an appearance in the book.As someone who lost his sci-fi virginity to 2001, I was VERY disappointed here.If someone knows why the monolith was on the cover, please tell me.

I'd say read this if you began the trilogy, and I recommend you read the trilogy because the pros of the first two books seriously outweigh the cons of this one, but just don't expect the kind of ending this trilogy deserves ... Read more

6. Rendezvous With Rama
by Arthur C. Clarke
Hardcover: 274 Pages (1994-02)
list price: US$35.95 -- used & new: US$24.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0899684491
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In the year 2130, a huge alien artifact approaches the Earth from outer space. Commander Norton and his crew take their ship to meet it, and, once inside, discover the wonders that go to make up Rama.Amazon.com Review
An all-time science fiction classic, Rendezvous withRama is also one of Clarke's best novels--it won the Campbell, Hugo,Jupiter, and NebulaAwards. A huge, mysterious, cylindrical object appears in space,swooping in toward the sun. The citizens of the solar system send aship to investigate before the enigmatic craft, called Rama,disappears. The astronauts given the task of exploring the hollowcylindrical ship are able to decipher some, but definitely not all, ofthe extraterrestrial vehicle's puzzles. From the ubiquitous trilateralsymmetry of its structures to its cylindrical sea and machine-island,Rama's secrets are strange evidence of an advanced civilization. Butwho, and where, are the Ramans, and what do they want with humans?Perhaps the answer lies with the busily working biots, or thesealed-off buildings, or the inaccessible "southern" half of theenormous cylinder.Rama's unsolved mysteries are tantalizingindeed. Rendezvous with Rama is fast moving, fascinating, and amust-read for science fiction fans. Clarke collaborated with Gentry Leein writing several Rama sequels, beginning with Rama II. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (244)

4-0 out of 5 stars Joy of Discovery
A Sci-Fi Classic, every chapter reveals the mystery of Rama. Characters are a bit one dimensional, but this is still an amazing and fast read.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book
I read this when I much younger it was nice to catch up with an old friend. While driving back and forth to work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of Clarke
His best work by far.Easily deserves all the awards it won.All the great science, story line, and without some of the cheesy crap that showed up at the end of Childhood's End and 2001.

Dealt witht he arrival to aliens in a creative and very real way.A must read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Boldly imaginative
Criticisms have been made of this book (and others by Clarke) that it doesn't have enough "drama," which is a way of saying that it doesn't follow the normal rules of narrative fiction.Those criticisms are perfectly accurate.Clarke does not follow the rules.

And I'm glad.I read plenty of fiction that conforms to what a novel is "supposed" to be, but sometimes it's good to be different.This book is a great example of Clarke's gigantic imagination at work.I love the way he speculates.It's a given that his human characters will be thin, even two-dimensional.And the plot manipulation is sometimes too obvious and contrived.His stories read like abstractions, like something between fiction and straight-up science.So they can be jarring.But I find this book, like 2001, to be fascinating.Clarke always imagined that, whatever we might expect alien contact to be, it will be far stranger.And that's what I find interesting.

Note:There are three SINOs to this book--Sequels In Name Only.They were "co-written" (which means, I think, entirely written) by someone other than Clarke, and they are trashy melodrama.The caliber of storytelling is far lower than in this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining in a weird fashion
This book was really weird for me.I kept on waiting for something to happen, some alien to jump out and say : "Surprise!" but no... nothing.I still enjoyed turning and reading every page and therefore, it gets a four star rating. ... Read more

by Arthur C. Clarke
 Paperback: Pages (2003)

Isbn: 0575039884
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful, if slightly dated, sampler of Clarke's work
I just came across my ancient, yellowed copy of this book, which is literally falling apart, and re-read most of the stories. While some of them are showing their age, most remain fresh and thought-provoking. Several reminded me of similar stories by Fredric Brown, another writer whom I enjoyed a lot in my youth. Not the greatest SF short story collection ever, but definitely a classic.

PS: My copy is a first paperback edition from 1959,and the cover illustration is a hoot! It depicts an astronaut in a space suit that features a helmet that looks like a 1920s football helmet, and black rubber boots! Behind him, in the distance, is a classic 1950s flying saucer.

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection of sci-fi shorts!
"The Other Side of the Sky" is a collection of short stories by Arthur C Clarke, an author whom many consider as an icon of both classic and contemporary science fiction. Frankly, I never agreed. I always felt that his work was pretentious - "literary" in the most pejorative sense of the word, mystifying, muddy and purposely deep, yet without clarity, for the sole purpose of achieving the lofty height of being arty.

No doubt others may disagree with me, but when I read the opening story in this collection, "The Nine Billion Names of God", my first reaction was disappointment - "oh, oh, more of the same"! Why would anyone, even those with an abiding faith in their god, believe that there was some sort of deep religious or philosophical ramification to the act of physically preparing a complete list of the permutations of an arbitrarily selected set of letters? What meaningless drivel!

I almost closed the book at that point and I suspect it was because the next story was only a few pages long that I decided to try it anyway. And what a lucky choice for me! From that point on, the collection was a thoroughgoing winner with everything a reader could wish for - charm, characterization, fun, pathos, warmth, wit, depth, twists, humour, human interest, solid science and thought-provoking questions - all of this without ever stooping to being either mundane or, worse yet, snobbish and superior.

A few examples will perhaps to serve to whet the appetite. "Refugee" manages to humanize the British royal family in a most appealing way. "Special Delivery" explains some of the difficulties of living in a satellite and the physical implications of a jammed autopilot that accelerates a rocket delivering supplies for just a few seconds too long - a very, very small incident that illustrates the enormous implications of such a tiny event. "Cosmic Casanova" is pure space humour with an unexpected ending reserved for the final sentence in the manner of Jeffrey Archer's "A Twist in the Tale". "Publicity Campaign" is tongue in cheek and humorous but it is also a clear and scathing condemnation of bigotry and man's xenophobia. "The Star" could not be perceived as anti-religious in its tone but this tale of a very special and unique supernova should provoke more than a little head-scratching and puzzlement in those that would interpret the Bible literally. (This was probably my favourite story in the entire collection)

If you're already an Arthur C Clarke fan, I'm sure you'll enjoy "The Other Side of the Sky". If like me, you were unconvinced of his right to icon status, try this one on for size. Plenty enjoyable enough that I'd be happy to pick up more of Clarke's work and give it a try again. Maybe I'll even go back and try some of his other stuff again to see if perhaps I missed something. It's happened before!


Paul Weiss

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic Collection
The Other Side of the Sky (1958) is a collection of classic SF stories and one fantasy.They range in time from tomorrow to a distant future.

The first story, The Nine Billion Names of God, is a tale of the supernatural, yet is probably the most famous story in this volume.A Tibetan monastery makes arrangements to acquire an Automatic Sequence Computer and two technicians to maintain it.The monks are compiling a list of all the names of God so that the universe can finally terminate.

The following stories tell of a royal stowaway, the building of the first space stations (and the founding of the Vacuum-Breathers Club), a wall with only one side, a future security leak, the end of the world, and the race to the Moon.Others tell of the non-invasion of Earth, the super gadget from the future, the gorgeous woman at journey's end, the most famous of novae, a strange solar phenomenon, and the coming of the Dark Nebula.This collection concludes with The Songs of Distant Earth, a tale of the infatuation of a native girl with a visiting spaceman.

This collection is probably the most representative of the author's works.These stories were written early in his career, yet subsequent tales usually expanded upon similar themes.Although the number of stories about the world's end seems excessive, remember that those were ominous times.

Highly recommended for Clarke fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of human reactions to advances in science and technology.

-Arthur W. Jordin

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I agree, Clarke is better suited to the novel, but he is also a brilliant short story writer. The Nine Billion Names of God, as everyone knows, is one of the best SF short stories ever written, and has actually led severalpeople to carry out the exploits in the story in real life, so compellingis the idea behind it. Not to be overlooked in this collection, are suchmasterpieces as the chilling Wall of Darkness, The Star (which is also oneof the best ever), and All The Time In The World, yet another great story.Also included, among others, is A Venture To The Moon, a fictionalpre-Apollo account of the first manned mission to the moon that is told issuch striking detail that it comes off nearly as a documentary (and afactual one at that). Regardless of what facet of Clarke's writing that youenjoy the most, there is bound to be something here that you'll like.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Brief Glimpse of the Future
The Other Side of the Skywas a great Science Fiction book.The stories of the joint moon exploration were funny and were not carrying "heavy" issues. ... Read more

 Hardcover: Pages (1999)

Isbn: 0261672746
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9. The Sentinel
by Arthur C. Clarke
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-04-27)
list price: US$9.97
Asin: B003TU2JUW
Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The best collection ever of Arthur C. Clarke's short fiction, including the stories on which 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood's End were based.The Sentinel is a magnificent retrospective showcase of Arthur C. Clarke's finest shorter fiction. Spanning four decades of writing, this book includes many gems of a genius at the height of his powers. The title piece is the story that inspired 2001. 'Guardian Angel' is a rarely anthologised work that gave birth to Childhood's End, and 'The Songs of Distant Earth' is the original version of Clarke's own favourite novel. Along with other vaulting tales of imagination are fascinating introductions telling the history of each story from conception to completion. From one of the greatest science-fiction writers of all time. The Sentinel is one of those all-too-few collections that must be read, re-read, then treasured.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor editing
The kindle edition is full of truncated sentences, poor formatting. There's no table of contents. Clearly no proof-reading of any kind was done. What a shame. Given the price, a robbery. Too bad; it's an excellent book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't buy the kindle version
I purchased the collection to read "The Sentinel", and this was a wonderful short story.
But don't buy the Kindle version.
The ebook is awful considering the price. It seems just a OCR'ed text but nobody did proofreading.
It contains a lot of typos, no TOC. Even it is hard to find where a chapter starts.
(I bought it August 17, 2010, and it is possible that new one is improved.) ... Read more

10. Songs of Distant Earth
by Arthur C. Clarke
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (1987-04-12)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345322401
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Thalassa was a paradise above the earth. Its beauty and vast resources seduce its inhabitants into a feeling of perfection. But then the Magellan arrives, carrying with it one million refugees from the last mad days of earth. Paradise looks indeed lost....
... Read more

Customer Reviews (87)

4-0 out of 5 stars What is there not to like?
Not his best work but very good book in its own right.I liked everything about it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Colonists versus refugees- a clash of cultures
This is a classic science fiction story.I found the characterization a little dry but the story of a colony and a vast refugee ship coming in for repairs was intriguing. Each were escaping the destruction of Earth, with the new group having better technology and are recently departed, while the colonists have an established life far separated from Earth. When the ship's personnel become split on whether to go forward or remain, the two divergent society's begin to clash.

5-0 out of 5 stars Earth is very distant from here.
I bought this book new in 1987 and it has stayed on my bookshelf for more than two decades. It's my favorite type of science fiction--it presents a mostly positive view of the future of humanity. There is no invading alien race that wants to destroy us. There is no evil empire that we must fight to survive. Instead, this is just a story about what might happen when humanity is spread across the galaxy and loses touch with one settlement or another, and what happens when two separately evolving cultures come in contact with one another. The book is not violent. It's ponderous. I do not mean to imply that the plot is boring. It is not. Instead, there are plenty of twists in the plot to keep the reader engaged. Some of the pleasure that comes from reading the book comes from an appreciation for the simple yet desirable Thalassians, a human population that has developed over a couple centuries of isolation on the planet Thalassa. Appropriately, Thalassa is a planet of vast ocean, and its only landmass is a small island chain where these people live. This is an interesting metaphor for humanity as a whole--how we live in one place surounded by a vast ocean of space.

Clarke's Thalassians are mostly naive but a few are politically savvy; all are skilled in one field or another (ranging from art to science) but none are really hard-working; these people remind me of the quirky towns in forgotten places in rural America (or elsewhere) that other authors have come up with--the TV show "Northern Exposure" comes to mind. Even if these people have a small-world mentality, they live a life that any one of us might look for. Thus, the reader can't wait to learn what new challenges will come about and how the Thalassisans endure.

There is an interesting allusion to "intelligent design" on page 256 (Chapter 46). But an interesting twist is that Clarke has described a group of Thalassians as "expounding the wonders of Nature as proof that [creator God] was, if not supremely evil, then utterly indifferent to human standards or morality and goodness." This of course is opposite of what present day people on Earth who support intelligent design are doing. Clarke is an athesist. I am not. I still like the book a lot.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic SF by one of the genre's great authors
Humankind has a millenium and more to prepare for Terra's destruction. As scientists learn how to send seedships out to the stars, each generation does that job in better ways. The ship that reaches the world called Thalassa arrives fairly early in the great drive for species survival - early enough to establish contact with Terra, and then lose it two centuries later due to a natural disaster. So when the last starship to leave Terra arrives at Thalassa, a necessary stop on its way to a much farther destination, the few crew members not sleeping the journey away do not know what they will find. The small but thriving Human society there provides both a pleasant surprise, and help in obtaining what the Magellan needs to resume its journey. Some crew members like Thalassa and its people so much that they want the ship to stop there permanently. Hospitable as they are, though, the Thalassans really cannot offer the starship's huge sleeping population a new home because their world is mostly covered by ocean. They do not have enough land to sustain more people.

What the Thalassans don't know is that they are not alone on the planet they have claimed and made into their home. Deep underneath the oceans, another kind of intelligence is on its slow evolutionary way toward sentience. They also do not know the full history of the planet where both the Magellan's crew and their own ancestors were born. How much of that history to give them - in the form of records carried in the ship's library - creates a daunting dilemma for philosopher and Magellan crew member Moses Kaldor. Do the Thalassans, especially Mirissa Leonidas whose family has kept the planet's archives for generations and whose curiosity knows no bounds, deserve the whole truth? Or is protecting them from at least some of that truth his highest duty?

Although I disagree wholeheartedly with at least one of Arthur C. Clarke's most cherished beliefs, which this novel showcases, I thoroughly enjoyed its classic science fiction "feel" as well as its world building and characters. I grew up on this kind of writing. Somehow I missed this one at the time it was published, and reading it now has been a great pleasure. A bit dated? Yes. But for me that didn't matter at all.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 EPPIE science fiction winner "Regs"

5-0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Moving
The Distant Future: The human colonists of the planet Thalassa have never known what is to gaze upon the face of the Earth. Originally borne to safe harbour as DNA banks aboard massive "seedships" fleeing a dying Terran sun, they have survived and endured some six hundred years upon the three islands that make up the continental landmass of their idyllic tropical planet, evolving a carefree culture along the lines of the indigenous Polynesians in the process. However, the arrival of "Magellan", a massive starship carrying the last humans to witness the death of the Earth, will have shattering repercussions for both cultures.

That the late Arthur C Clarke was a genius was never open to dispute, but even I was surprised by how profoundly moved I was by the emotional powerhouse that is "Songs Of Distant Earth". In his usual humane, musical, wryly amused prose, Clarke produced an eloquent, elegiac and beautifully subtle rumination on love, loss, desire, courage and redemption that is the equal of any novel in the more self-consciously high-brow literary canon. In many ways, it reminds me of Neville Shute's similarly haunting, On the Beach. There are so many moments of haunting beauty in this novel that it really is impossible to do them justice here - suffice it to say passages such as "the little lion's ascent to the stars" will stay with me for a very long time indeed. For many years now, Clarke's fiction has been my preferred method of transcendence. Some choose narcotics or the rosary, but whenever I need to be swept up in a divine sense of wonder, I reach for my copy of Rendezvous with Rama. No doubt the devoutly atheist Clarke would have been deeply amused by the fact that I, and I'm sure many of his readers, experience something akin to a sense of spiritual communion when they read his books.

I urge you to pick up this stunning novel. Reading it can only make you a better human being.
... Read more

11. 2001: A Space Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (2000-09-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.05
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Asin: 0451457994
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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2001: A Space Odyssey is the classic science fiction novel that changed the way we looked at the stars and ourselves....

2001: A Space Odyssey inspired what is perhaps the greatest science fiction film ever made- brilliantly imagined by the late Stanley Kubrick....

2001 is finally here....

"Dazzling...wrenching, eerie, a mind-bender."-Time

"Full of poetry, scientific imagination and typically wry Clarke wit. By standing the universe on its head, he makes us see the ordinary universe in a different light...a complex allegory about the history of the world."-The New Yorker

"Brain-boggling." -Life

"Clark has constructed an effective work of fiction...with the meticulous creation of an extraterrestrial environment...Mr. Clark is a master."--Library Journal

"Breathtaking."-Saturday ReviewAmazon.com Review
When an enigmatic monolith is found buried on the moon,scientists are amazed to discover that it's at least 3 million yearsold.Even more amazing, after it's unearthed the artifact releases apowerful signal aimed at Saturn.What sort of alarm has beentriggered?To find out, a manned spacecraft, the Discovery, issent to investigate.Its crew is highly trained--the best--and theyare assisted by a self-aware computer, the ultra-capable HAL 9000. ButHAL's programming has been patterned after the human mind a little toowell. He is capable of guilt, neurosis, even murder, and he controlsevery single one of Discovery's components.The crew mustoverthrow this digital psychotic if they hope to make their rendezvouswith the entities that are responsible not just for the monolith, butmaybe even for human civilization.

Clarke wrote this novel while Stanley Kubrick created the film, thetwo collaborating on both projects.The novel is much more detailedand intimate, and definitely easier to comprehend. Even though historyhas disproved its "predictions," it's still loaded withexciting and awe-inspiring science fiction. --Brooks Peck ... Read more

Customer Reviews (269)

2-0 out of 5 stars Reading with Tequila
I didn't love 2001: A Space Odyssey, but space travel in general doesn't really do it for me. The original concept, taking into account when it was written and how far we've come since then, is well beyond anything conceivable and I believe that is one of the main reasons this book is so highly regarded.

Unfortunately, this book is all concept. The pacing is slow and the story drags for the majority of the book. What should have been terrifying never really effected me as it should have. The characters were hard to become emotionally attached to and most of the time I found myself rooting for the "villain" to win so the book would come to an end. Even the actual ending of the book felt like a disappointment.

2001: A Space Odyssey is a classic science fiction novel and hugely loved by most. While I can see why it's been enjoyed by the masses, I just couldn't garner the enthusiasm others have had. I appreciate how imaginative and unique the book would have been considered in the sixties, but given a first time reading in the present day, it failed to impress me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic
I would recommend this book to anyone that would like a proper introduction to science fiction.This book is a classic for many good reasons.

4-0 out of 5 stars Intelligent Science Fiction at its best!
2001 is a book that I had been planning to read since I had seen the movie 10 years ago.i never got around to reading the book because I figured that it would be just as cryptic as the movie.Nothing could be further from the truth.Having read Clarke's Rama series I expected a hard science fiction story that that was just as enjoyable due to it's mystery and the questions that are left unanswered as much as from the facts that are provided. I was not at all dissappointed.
2001 take on two major themes one is the nature of consciousness and what it means to be consciousness. It could be argued that the first encounter with non human intelligence occured with the HAL 9000 unit and the disaster that ensued was a cautionary tale as to what misunderstandings can lead to.The second half of the book takes up the issue of the ultimae fate of mankind and where we are going as a species.In many way space is the ultimate test as to how far we have advanced as a species because the endevors that are taken up in exploring its depths will have to be measured in lifetimes trancending the experiences of any one or any particular group of individuals. The books does a good job of portraying this as it jumps from several different protagonist in a story that spans 4 millions years.This is one of the best examples of intelligent Science Fiction that I have come across and i highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly mind-bending. A book that will stick with me for life
This was another book on the list of books I should have read, but I just haven't. I remember as a kid watching the movie in class, but I was a punk so I didn't really pay attention to it. I should have!

2001 is a book about the progression of man. The book starts by taking us back 3 million years ago to a time when apes were evolving into man (man-apes). This is a time when our ancestors make a significant evolutionary step, the step when we truly become human, we develop an imagination. An alien race has helped us evolve, without the monolith that was discovered by a man-ape dubbed 'Moon Watcher' who knows where we would be, perhaps nowhere.

Well, another alien artifact was discovered, but this one was uncovered on the moon. This time a man named Dr. David Bowman is the center-piece in a new dawning of man.

Like the reviewer just before me said, for some reason this book seems oddly plausible, eerily plausible considering how non-plausible it sounds when you simply summarize the plot. Clarke just writes so well.

This book is absolutely amazing. Clarke writes in a very succinct, accessible prose. Rendezvous With Rama was originally my favorite Clarke novel but 2001: A Space Odyssey has taken that place.

When I find a better space sci-fi book I'll remove this line. Until then, 2001 is now my all-time favorite space sci-fi book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transcendent
Recently, I decided to catch up on some older, classic films.One of the first I tried was 2001: A Space Odyssey.While I admit that it gave a great sense of the chilling isolation of space, the ending was too much of a non-sequitur.The special effects (ape-men of the veldt, the final trip) did not age well.However, a friend I watched it with was intrigued enough to read the book.They were very much impressed and recommended it to me.I skeptically decided to check it out.

I'm so glad I did.This is possibly the most important book I have ever read.There is too much that goes on beneath the surface for a film, but it works as a novel perfectly.Many sci-fi books try to be spiritual, but this is the first that I have read, sci-fi or not, to actually pull it off in a profound way.One thing that really sets this book apart is how incredibly plausible it all seems.Yes there are aliens.Yes there are evil computers.But this book is the product of a clearly scientific mind.For as fantastic as the elements are, nothing seemed impossible.

Even knowing (sort of) how it ends, this book has changed my life.It is uplifting and spiritual, and there is simply nothing else like it.

As Clarke says in the forward, "Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question... The truth, as always, will be stranger."
... Read more

12. Childhood's End
by Arthur C. Clarke
Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1953)
-- used & new: US$4.92
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Asin: 0345027507
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13. 2010: Odyssey Two
by Arthur C. Clarke
Paperback: 320 Pages (1997-02-25)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.17
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Asin: 0345413970
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"A daring romp through the solar system and a worthy successor to 2001."

 *Carl Sagan

Nine years after the disastrous Discovery mission to Jupiter in 2001, a joint U.S.-Soviet expedition sets out to rendezvous with the derelict spacecraft *to search the memory banks of the mutinous computer HAL 9000 for clues to what went wrong . . . and what became of Commander Dave Bowman.

Without warning, a Chinese expedition targets the same objective, turning the recovery mission into a frenzied race for the precious information Discovery may hold about the enigmatic monolith that orbits Jupiter.

Meanwhile, the being that was once Dave Bowman *the only human to unlock the mystery of the monolith *streaks toward Earth on a vital mission of its own . . .

"Clarke deftly blends discovery, philosophy, and a newly acquired sense of play."


"2010 is easily Clarkes' best book in over a decade."

 *The San Diego Tribune

... Read more

Customer Reviews (102)

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent Sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey
I was just a little kid when this title came out in 1982.I remember thinking at the time that 2010 seemed like such a long ways away.Now we're finally here, so I decided it was finally time to read this novel.

I heavily admire Arthur C. Clarke, who was obviously a highly intelligent man with a great imagination.As a storyteller, however, he fell short in many respects, and those shortcomings are clearly evident in 2010: ODYSSEY TWO.Most notably, this novel's characterization is painfully weak, and most of its scenes lack any sense of drama and emotion.In the end, I found this book more thought-provoking than moving.

Still, 2010: ODYSSEY TWO is an intellecutally engaging novel, and after a very slow start, it eventually builds up to a exciting, satisfying conclusion.This novel lacks the depth and mysticism of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, but it contains a lot of interesting information about science and space travel.It's also quite fun to compare Clarke's vision of 2010 with the reality we face today.

Overall, this book is worth your time, especially if you enjoy science fiction.But if you're new to Arthur C. Clarke, my advice is to first read CHILDHOOD'S END or 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY -- those are generally considered to be his two best novels.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Second Odyssey Through the Stars
The first sequel to Clarke's stunning Space Odyssey series, 2010 takes us on a second journey to the distant Solar worlds. In a retroactive change, instead of Saturn, Discovery One is now floating around Jupiter.

Floyd, from the first book, as well as Chandra and several soviet cosmonauts, set off on a journey to Jupiter to investigate what happened to Bowman when his transmissions ceased.

It is here that they discover more than just an abandoned space ship. They discover an event that will change the Solar system as they know it.

This book brings more insight into the Star Child, as well as a glimpse into extra terrestrial intelligence. Clark is able to write convincing characters dealing with plausible science problems, and his books never cease to be entertaining.

I recommend this book to you if you enjoyed the first one, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent successor to 2001
If you liked 2001 A Space Odyssey, then read 2010 Odyssey Two...a very worthy successor.One of the more intriguing science fiction novels I think one could imagine...yet conceivable!

5-0 out of 5 stars The best science fiction movie ever made second only to 2001 a Space Odyssey
I am writing a review for the movie under the book category because although I bought the DVD of the movie from Amazon years ago the DVD seems to be no longer available. I read the book too which is also good but I strongly recommend that you find the DVD too from somewhere and watch it.

If you watched 2001 A Space Odyssey and liked it you are very likely to like 2010 the year we make contact as well, which like 2001 is also based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke. If you haven't watched 2001 watch it before you watch 2010. Because the latter continues the Odyssey where 2001 left off. In fact the two movies can be seen as a single movie if watched in the proper sequence i.e. watch 2001 first and then watch 2010 a few days later. 2010 came out about 15 years after the movie 2001 was made in 1968. You can see my separate review for 2001 elsewhere.

2010 is not the type of science fiction for people interested in Alien and Star Wars type of space - horror movies. There are no monsters attacking human beings nor any warring spaceships blowing each other up by shooting lasers and missiles in 2010. It is not a horror nor Star Wars type of science fiction. On the other hand people who are interested in astronomy, extraterrestrial intelligence, science facts such as the General Theory of Relativity, the meaning of human existence in the universe are likely to enjoy the movie. Science fiction has to be believable to be of good quality. In this regard 2010 is of top quality. The viewer is not only entertained through high quality cinematography and acting but is also led to deep thinking about cosmologyand philosophical matters mentioned above. There is no need to be knowledgeable about astronomy nor physics to enjoy the movie. Curiosity about the subject matter is enough. The story is based on a sound knowledge of science facts about astronomy. The deceased science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke has written excellent novels by the same names and both moviesare based on the novels 2001 and 2010 are equally good.

I also read the books by Arthur C. Clarke and I recommend that you read them as well. There are some differences in the stories in the books and in the movies but these are minor. I don't want to explain what happens in the movie 2010 because that would take away some of the excitement for the viewer if he / she knew what is going to happen in advance. There is a lot of mystery and suspense in the movie but as I said before no crap like in the space movies where aliens attack humans or space ships that shoot and blow each other to pieces.

5-0 out of 5 stars The intelligent person's science fiction story, a worthy successor to "2001"
Even though it was difficult to understand, "2001: A Space Odyssey" was a superb movie. It introduced many unusual twists on space flight, extra-terrestrial intelligence and the relationship between humans and intelligent machines. This book is a worthy extension of that story, answering many of the questions raised in "2001", yet generating many more in the process.
In this sequel, it is determined that the orbit of Discovery is decaying rapidly and the planned U. S. mission to the spacecraft will not arrive at Jupiter until Discovery has already made contact with the planet. Therefore, a joint U. S./Russian crew is placed aboard the Russian craft Leonov and they depart for Jupiter. The crew is well trained and they believe they are prepared for all eventualities.
A Chinese mission blasts off and by using all of their fuel, manage to arrive at Jupiter ahead of the Leonov. They then land on Europa in an attempt to refuel by tapping into the liquids under the ice. However, they are destroyed by an indigenous creature that is just following its' mindless phototropism.
The crew establishes contact with Discovery and is able to restart HAL. His bout of digital insanity is explained and the crew explores the vicinity of Jupiter, including the monolith. They learn very little about it until David Bowman reappears and tells them they must leave. Using Discovery as a booster, they are able to blast out of orbit and enter a course back to Earth. Once they have left, changes take place and they understand some of what the makers of the monoliths planned.
No one writes about enigmatic aliens and their artifacts better than Arthur Clarke. His style of prose is almost completely scientifically accurate and he somehow always manages to weave a tale that is complete, yet leaves undetermined loose ends. This is a quality and intellectually challenging sequel to the original story of 2001.
... Read more

14. The Last Theorem
by Arthur C. Clarke, Frederik Pohl
Paperback: 336 Pages (2009-08-18)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.50
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Asin: 0345470230
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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When Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan with a special gift for numbers, writes a three-page proof of the coveted “Last Theorem,” which French mathematician Pierre de Fermat claimed to have discovered (but never recorded) in 1637, Ranjit’s achievement is hailed as a work of genius, bringing him fame and fortune. But it also brings him to the attention of the National Security Agency and a shadowy United Nations outfit called Pax per Fidem–or Peace Through Transparency–whose secretive workings belie its name. Suddenly Ranjit–along with his family–finds himself swept up in world-shaking events, his genius for abstract mathematical thought put to uses that are both concrete and potentially deadly. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
This is not Clarke... period. Do not waste your money. Because that's what they (the publishers and the sole author of the book) are after. Totally disappointing.

1-0 out of 5 stars What is it with boring books recently?

What is it with boring books recently?

I have just had the most frustrating summer, trying desperately to find something invigorating to read.. and failing all the way. This book joins the pile of near-useless paper that has collected at the end of my holidays. I have not finished reading the book yet. No, don't stone me to death for writing a review and not having read the work in it's entirety. But excuse me for being totally bored on page 259 out 410, and after restraining myself and 'talking sense' to myself at least three times so far, finally sitting down to write this. I will post an updated review once the book is finished - a place in time that looks painfully far.

I mean - don't you judge a book by the sadness that fills you when you look at the remaining pages and see them getting less and less, the front - read - part of the book growing, while the living, interesting, mysterious, captivating unread part getting thinner and thinner? Well, not this time. I am profoundly bored. There is some talk of aliens, lots of maths, a few humans going about their day-to-day business - boring, boring, boring. Absolutely not one of the characters makes a connection with me. Absolutely not one of the characters makes a connection with another character, the love story, if I may call it that, is flat and uninteresting. The main character got kidnapped and that's about the most interesting event in the whole book so far.

It is hard, I promise you, to read this! I am plodding along simply because I do not give up on books. But I decided I'd write this review now anyway, because if a book has failed to entertain its reader by the time he is halfway through... well.. I think it has missed the spot. I mean - these are two HUMONGOUS writers! What has happened to them?

I catch myself only making the effort to write a review when I am disappointed. I should make an effort to share my thoughts when I come across good books as well, just so nobody is left with the impression that I am just a sourpuss. Which I am not. Anyway, let me finish the book and I will write another review.


2-0 out of 5 stars Mykal
Here's what I think happened. Art and Fred got together got drunk and had a fine time going over all the things they'd written that should have made it and those that did but probably shouldn't have made it. They decided that they could write a book anytime they wanted. So they each picked three words: mathematician, pirates and space-elevator/innocent suffering, galactic super-beings and a (one and a half dimensional# gay friend. Then they wrote this book during a weekend bender. Then they sent it off to their editors who were either afraid to say anything bad about it or thought that it must be one of those really great pieces of literature that very few people even recognize for what it is.

The six words above are obviously part of their collective psyche not least the innocent suffering and the gay character who is never really recognized or talked about. I'm only partly mad at them for that. They are both gay men who come from a very old and mostly dead generation #of course Art and Fred are as old as their generation#. On the other hand, who are they protecting? They could have used their fame to actually forward gay issues, work toward ending the innocent suffering and expand heroic and positive gay characters, but they did none of that.

I liked the math and Ranjit #my only reason for the 2 stars), but I have no idea what he had to do with anything in the story except for his own little world within the world. He did nothing really except be in a given place at a given time to move the plot along. In fact there were no heroic characters in the novel at all.

Novel? Did I say novel? First of all there was nothing novel in it. Second there was no novel. There might be several story ideas all mashed together, but there is no cohesive story.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Up to "Golden Age" Standards
There's a metric that I've found very useful as I read any book. I continually ask myself, "Will I ever want to read this book again?" If the answer is "Yes," it goes into my library. If the answer is "No," it's relegated to the public library donation pile. As I applied this metric over many years, I built up a large collection of books that I enjoyed very much the first time through, and still enjoy re-reading from time to time. Most of the works of the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke are in this category, as evidenced by my pristine paperback first editions (we're talking 35- and 50-cent-cover-price books here!) of all of his classic science fiction books. Unfortunately, "The Last Theorem," a collaboration between Clarke and his colleague Frederick Pohl, is not a keeper.

I really wanted to like "The Last Theorem" much more than I did. I hoped it would offer the same sense of wonder that used to be such an enthralling part of reading science fiction, but is rarely found today. The central story, the life of Sri Lankan mathematician Ranjit Subramanian and his successful effort to prove Fermat's Last Theorem, seemed to offer a lot of promise. But, ultimately, I found that the book did not deliver.

Set mostly on Earth in an undated but not-distant future in which brushfire wars rage worldwide, it somewhat resembles Clarke's "Imperial Earth" in being more of a "gee whiz" travelogue than a story the reader can sink his or her teeth into. The fact that Subramanian proves Fermat's Last Theorem is largely incidental--it really has little bearing on the tale. And many things in the book are rehashed from other works. There's a space elevator, of course. As in "The Fountains of Paradise," its Earthside terminal is in Sri Lanka, despite the physical impossibility of it being there (the terminal must be on the Equator, which Sri Lanka is not). Unlike "Fountains," the space elevator in "The Last Theorem" is throwaway technology--you'll find none of the details about the "skyhook" that made "Fountains" such a great read. There's also pentominoes, solar sailing and human consciousnesses transferred into computers--other favorite Clarke subjects. There's really not much new, and, sad to say, its all a bit boring. Most unforgivably, in telling the story of Subramanian's entire life in a scant 300 pages, its often quite superficial. Applying the metric I mentioned earlier, "The Last Theorem" is worth reading once, but its not worth re-reading. Its not bad, but its not great, either, and thus I give it a middle-of-the-road rating.

I had a special reason for wanting to like "The Last Theorem." Years ago, when my wife and I were on vacation in Sri Lanka and had a few hours to spare in Colombo, I looked up "Clarke" in the telephone directory. There was only one. I noted the address and we set out on foot from our hotel with a crude city map. We had no trouble finding Mr. Clarke's villa--a former embassy building, as I recall--and I boldly approached a Sri Lankan man working under the bonnet of a Land Rover in the driveway. "Is Mr. Clarke in?" I asked. He was. The great Arthur C. Clarke, one of my childhood heroes, came out to meet us, invited us into his home and we spent a short but very enjoyable time (at least to me) talking about spaceflight, the "Golden Age" of science fiction, rocket testing at White Sands Missile Range and other wide-ranging subjects. Mr. Clarke was gracious, pleasant and accommodating to a headstrong American tourist who barged in uninvited and disturbed his privacy. I'll never forget that.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pointless meandering
What a disappointment. Although Arther C. Clarke was never my favorite of grand old masters of SF (I'm more of a Heinlein and Asimov fan), I've read a good deal of his work and enjoyed most of it. This book however, written jointly with Frederik Pohl, was not enjoyable. It is poorly written, badly paced and just plain boring.

It is a slapdash biography of the Sri Lankan mathematician Ranjit Subramanian, rendered as a concatenation of anecdotes and episodes from his life with little to hold it together. Certainly it had little to do with the end of the book when the aliens arrive and decide not to sterilize the planet. Even after reading his life's story, I still could not bring myself to care much about him or his family. Unfortunately the characters were much like the writing: shallow and pointless.

Apart from the pointlessness of the biography, there was one other thing that bothered me immensely: There was no science fiction. Sure, there was solar sailing and a space elevator, there were space aliens and magic boron-catalyzed hydrolysis-powered cars (well, one of them anyway), but in no way did science (or even technology) play any important role in the plot. There were no new ideas, no exploration of new technology and its effects, no awe-inspiring concepts or themes.

In a way this book could have been written in the 1950s; the future as presented has a rickety and superficial feel to it, and does not ring true in the least. Essentially the world consists of (naively idealized versions of) the same institutions that exist today with a bit more tech sprinkled on top. Or perhaps even that is too charitable: there are idealized versions of institutions (such as the UN, the (scientific) press, universities, etc) as they existed a few decades ago. The book entirely ignores the profound changes that are already taking place.

At least some of the classic Golden Age SF could rely on space aliens to spice things up, but even here the authors do not deliver. There was plenty of material to work with, but in the end the aliens are presented in the same superficial manner and the same disinterested voice as the rest of the story. The aliens were just the pretext the authors needed to do some clumsy geopolitical moralizing. It is so clumsy, naive and preposterous however that the intended effect of the moralizing is entirely lost by the absurdity of their premises.

I feel a bit guilty for being so negative about a book written by two of the great names of SF, who have truly deserved their reputations. But unfortunately the book leaves me no choice, and one can only hope it will be mercifully forgotten in assessing the legacy of these two great masters. ... Read more

15. 2061: Odyssey Three
by Arthur C. Clarke
Paperback: 304 Pages (1997-02-25)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$2.90
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Asin: 0345413989
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
"[Clarke] remains a master at describing the wonders of the material universe in sentences that combine a respect for scientific accuracy with an often startling lyricism."

 *The New York Times Book Review

Fifty years after meeting the spirit of Dave Bowman aboard the abandoned Discovery and witnessing the fiery transformation of Jupiter into Earths second sun, 103-year-old Dr. Heywood Floyd boards the luxury spaceship Universe for the historic first landing on the surface of Halley's Comet.

At the same time, the Galaxy expedition sets out to probe the evolutionary upheaval on Jupiter's former moon Europa haunted by the fate of a doomed Chinese mission and by the ominous message from space: "All these worlds are yours *except Europa. Attempt no landings there. "

As the stranded Galaxy awaits rescue on the dangerous and forbidden surface of Europa and Universe races to her aid, the omniscient force that is Dave Bowman watches *and waits to reveal the extraordinary secrets of the monoliths, of the masters he now serves, and of mankind's ultimate role in the course of cosmic history . . .

"[Clarke] is, after all, the poet laureate of the Space Age. He is at his best making the reader feel . . . that it is those dreams that finally come true that are the best dreams of all."

 *Los Angeles Times

... Read more

Customer Reviews (95)

3-0 out of 5 stars Maybe Flawed But Still . . . . . .
The big idea behind Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 series is so good that just about anything he wrote within it would be good reading.This isn't a great book -- it really has an amazing amount of catchup-style narrative, telling us what has gone on over long periods of time in order to set the context for dialog and action in the present tense.John Barth derisively referred to such narrative as "corning the goose."

The other thing that Clarke does in this book is explain.He explains what's going on on Europa.He explains (more or less) what's happened to Dave Bowman.One of the great things, I thought, about 2001 was how little he explained.The enigma of the blank, black monoliths was great -- a power beyond our ken.Fortunately in this book, Clarke doesn't explain who made the monoliths.Even Dave Bowman doesn't understand who they are.

But I don't really care about what are arguably faults in the book.I enjoyed it, I enjoyed finding out what was going on on Europa, and I even enjoyed knowing a little more about Dave Bowman's fate.And I especially enjoy the way that Clarke puts us in our place, contrasting us with an inconceivably different and sophisticated alien presence.

2-0 out of 5 stars What happened to the master???
I am giving this one two stars out of respect for one of my favourite authors.I have 3001 at home but can't bring myself to read it.

3-0 out of 5 stars He ran out of ideas
This book is good.In the "Odyssey" series, the majority of it stands up as incredible as the rest of the series.Unfortunately, it's the least well-written (discluding 3001 because it was utter trash), and not solely because the author seemingly ran out of ideas.

Arthur C. Clarke does a splendid job of describing things like Halley's Comet, its surface, and even handles with the same level of shock, amazement, wonder, and awe the discoveries in "2001" or more accurately, in "2010" when Dr. Chinese Guy I mistakingly called "Tsien" in my other review reveals there is life on Europa.But things like finding vaguely maybe-organic matter beneath the surface of Halley's Comet is hardly the highest in this regard.

But first, the book itself.The story does well in extending the style and tradition of the Odyssey series, setting up several plotlines to be handled in a later sequel (which 3001 does not count because it goes off on its own story) involving an African terrorist group only revolving around the name "Shaka" (as in Shaka Zulu).

The story, though, is almost nonexistant.It involves two massive passenger spacecraft, Galaxy and Universe, with Universe carrying Heywood Floyd, a 100+ year old with the physical health of a 60 year old, and others to explore Halley's Comet, while Galaxy is across the Solar system probing Europa.

A terrorist attack by someone from this "Shaka" organization causes Galaxy to crashland on Europa.She (the terrorist) is conveniently killed in the crash, and now Galaxy calls for help, and Rohan will answer.I mean, "Universe".

So there's no real drama, as Galaxy is safe and has enough supplies to last the several months journey.Universe, meanwhile, discovers a method to cut the travel time down to a few weeks and undertakes it.

The big revelations made revolve chiefly around a Europan mountain called "Mount Zeus" which is not very cleverly disguised by Arthur C. Clarke under the title of an old Beatles song, which if you've read "2010" pretty much gives it away right then and there (Non-Spoiler alert is further ruined since he mentions it involving someone named Lucy.If you still don't get it: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds")

So Mount Zeus is made entirely of diamond.In fact, it's part of Jupiter's original core that crashed onto the surface only recently.

This is of extreme interest to an Afrikaaner scientist Rolf van der Berg, who takes Heywood Floyd's grandson Chris Floyd out to study it.

In the process, they discover sentient life in Europa, life that has established a village around the black Monolith, and has stripped all the metal off the Tsien for some odd reason.

All of a sudden, the minimalist story is given a sudden push towards the ending, and events suddenly unfold rapidly, in a Harry Turtledove past-tense style where some big event is about to happen, then the next chapter takes place AFTER the event, with people talking about the event.

As well, there are some things which due apparently to a lack of a proper sequel, come off as massive Red Herrings:

- "Shaka".An entire small chapter is devoted solely to describing the mystery behind this terrorist group.After its operative on the Galaxy dies, it's never mentioned again save for passing remark involving her.

- van der Berg's uncle and his contacts he is so secretive in contacting regarding Mount Zeus.

- The potentially organic matter in Halley's Comet.

- The constant and, quite frankly, annoyingly repetitious talk and descriptions about Io

A lot of areas of this book show signs of what is to come in the poorly written sequel "3001"---there is copious description and detail that ventures into the realm of opaquity, and some repetition in the form of copied passages straight from 2010, though nowhere near as pointless or recycled as in the sequel.

Ultimately, though, while it was an interesting read and loads of fun for the discoveries on Europa, it contributed nothing overall except to set up a sequel which never came.

4-0 out of 5 stars For those of you who didn't quite get 2001, there was 2010. 2061 became too predictable.
Despite a somewhat negative technical evaluation, this book is a definate 4 for readability and entertainment value. Clarke goes to great lengths to continue to clarify what he started in 2001, the book holds your interest to make it both quick and a good read to the end. That is what a good book is all about - it was fun.

2010 brought a lot of clarity to those who didn't quite get it with 2001.Although, if you actually read 2001, Clarke does have an eye for scientific detail with a few factual anomolies.

2061 seems like he was trying to over-clarify points from his previous work (the fate of Bowman and HAL, etc.)2061 doesn't seem to have the spark that activates the readers imagination the way his previous work does; it became too predictable.

In my opinion, Clarke embarked on the path of Asimov and Herbert - great writers in their forte who I enjoy immensely; however, the more they try to develop an epilogue for a great work, the more predictable they become until either their apathy (or ghost writers ineptitude)towards the characters and plot begin to produce a script that is colored in pallor instead of an engaging prisim of mental imagry.In 2061 Clarke fell a little short in developing a construct that blurs the boundary between fact and imagination.

All of this said, it was still quite an enjoyable and informative continuation from where 2010 left off.I also think it will make a great movie some day.

4-0 out of 5 stars The definition of Sci-Fi
I read this book without reading the others in the series but didn't have a hard time grasping what was going on. The book doesn't have a definitive ending since it is left open to the next in the series but it was enjoyable. It is complete science fiction in seemingly every way. Space ships, the fact that a person can extend their life by living on a planet other than earth, a computer that has taken on a consciousness, and extraterrestrials, although these creatures aren't ever seen. Very interesting book but only if you can wrap your head around the impossible facts provided. ... Read more

 Hardcover: Pages (1968)
-- used & new: US$5.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000N2NCTG
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17. Childhood's End (Del Rey Impact)
by Arthur C. Clarke
Paperback: 256 Pages (2001-07-03)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345444051
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city--intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began.

But at what cost? With the advent of peace, man ceases to strive for creative greatness, and a malaise settles over the human race. To those who resist, it becomes evident that the Overlords have an agenda of their own. As civilization approaches the crossroads, will the Overlords spell the end for humankind . . . or the beginning? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (313)

4-0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking and entertaining read
This is a powerful reminder that evolution may not go in the direction that we might assume. Humanity's end may be a frightening thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still Inspiring
Read this book as a kid and it really inspired me, literally opened my eyes to another thought of existence.

Bought it recently to reread as an adult and enjoyed it tremendously.

Who knows what's next for us all?

4-0 out of 5 stars Pushes the limits of creativity
This book has some flaws. Let's get them out of the way. The story is separated into parts and each lacks some depth. The characters are not around long enough for you to achieve a good understanding of them. Also, I would have liked much more description of details and setting. Yet, this book does not fail to please. It is written in a very smooth and seamless manner that comfortably brings you from beginning to end. I definitely was in awe of Clarke's ability to write; it transcends my preconception of the range of human ability. But best of all, Clarke not only paints a picture of a possible future, but takes it many steps further in terms of complexity and imagination, beyond anything else I have ever read. Almost all SciFi seems to attribute very human qualities to all beings; for in a sense we are confined by what we know. While some other works present alien beings as the antithesis of us. But this book creates something new that is not comparable to human behavior or qualities. It is almost inconceivable. That's what makes Clarke such a genius. Have your thinking cap on and be ready to imagine new paradigms.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Classic
Arthur C. Clarke is certainly one of the best writers of the 20th Century, in any genre.Within the Sci-Fi universe, he is undoubtedly one of the best.After reading a few pages of this book, putting it down was always difficult and I couldn't help but wonder why I had to wait until almost the end of my 38th orbit around the sun to finally read his work.Not only was it suspenseful, unpredictable, and very entertaining, but more significantly, philosophical and thought-provoking as all great sci-fi should be.Also, as a South African, I was thrilled to read the many S.A. references, with one of the pivotal characters being a Cape Townian, named Jan Hendriks.Fortunately, S.A. fared much better in our reality as compared to Mr. Clarke's alternate future depicted in this wonderful, epic tale.I'm glad he was at least wrong about that.Nonetheless, I absolutely loved this book and look forward to reading it again....

4-0 out of 5 stars More Than Human
Childhood's End taps two themes that it's hard not to root for.

One is that we, human beings, have almost unlimited potential.We are meant to be more than we are.Clarke's story tells of "Overlords" who arrive suddenly, in incomprehensible spaceships, representing a civilization of a scale and technology well beyond our ken.But we have been recognized for our potential, to join and contribute to that civilization (provided we don't blow it, kill ourselves, and destroy our planet first).

The other is that we have in fact been selected and are being looked after, by a kind of father/mother who can shepherd us toward realizing our potential.Here, our "Overlords" are midwives, incapable of the same kind of potential as us but capable of seeing us through our adolescence.

These are invigorating self-images that Clarke plays out.And he builds an entertaining story around them, unfolding them for us.

I couldn't help likening Clarke's vision here to his own 2001 (check out the story "The Sentinel" that provides the basis for that movie) and, maybe more esoteric, Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in which Zarathustra similarly midwives the exceptional human from the "merely human" to the "more than human". ... Read more

18. Of Time and Stars: The Worlds of Arthur C.Clarke
by Arthur C. Clarke
 Hardcover: 192 Pages (1983-07)

Isbn: 0575033150
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
A Clarke collection that again wisely leads off with the best story, finishing with another of his best, and a few other higher quality pieces are scattered throughout.Also some short entertainments like the Robin Hood story and Feathered Friend, all of the not very long at all variety.

Actually a 3.61 average here, rathed good.

So, a bit over 4.25 this one, rounded up.

Of Time and Stars : The Nine Billion Names of God - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : An Ape About the House - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Green Fingers - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Trouble with the Natives - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Into the Comet - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : No Morning After - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : If I Forget Thee Oh Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Who's There? - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : All the Time in the World - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Hide and Seek - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Robin Hood F.R.S. - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : The Fires Within - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : The Forgotten Enemy - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : The Reluctant Orchid - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Encounter at Dawn - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Security Check - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Feathered Friend - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : The Sentinel - Arthur C. Clarke

Ubergeek monks finish a cataloguing project, and with it comes some serious consequences.

5 out of 5

Art can be done by smart monkeys.

3 out of 5

Moon botanist rooted.

3.5 out of 5

Interstellar contact tricky.

3.5 out of 5

Ship abacus report.

3.5 out of 5

Telepathic brain's thirty-seventy dimensional warp bridge earth fry escape message rejection.

3.5 out of 5

Independent attitude required.

3 out of 5

Kitten score quite popular.

3.5 out of 5

A sneaky thief discovers that time travel robbery isn't all it is cracked up to be.

3.5 out of 5

Military Intelligence Phobos evasion story.

3.5 out of 5

Moon archery ideas.

3.5 out of 5

Very solid discovery.

3.5 out of 5

There's a polar bear in there.

4 out of 5

Wellsian hothouse epic coward.

4 out of 5

Generation gap leavetaking.

3.5 out of 5

Space Legion design investigation.

3 out of 5

Canarynaut warning.

3.5 out of 5

Moon machine.

4 out of 5

4.5 out of 5 ... Read more

19. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Signet)
by Arthur C. Clarke
Paperback: 221 Pages (1968-07-01)
list price: US$3.50 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451134699
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars 2001Arthur C Clarke
Over all, the book is in good shape, binding and actual cover.I was a little disappointed that the paper cover has some large tears in it.The book had been listed in "used, very good" condition.It doesn't rate quite that.But it finishes my collection of the Space Odyessey series and had a copyright date from around when the movie was released.

4-0 out of 5 stars Similarities to "Contact"
**Some Spoilers!***

Love how Clarke uses factual science like the most obvious crater on the moon to house the monolith, the tycho crater, as well as the very strange Saturn moon that has an all white side, Iapetus. How more obious can an alien make it for us to make first contact by keeping monoliths in the center of these obvious places? Besides the changes from jupiter orbit to the Saturn moon as staging grounds for the stargate I found the book to be similar to the movie/ book "Contact" by Carl Sagan. Not sure if you've seen or read, but i think Carl has read 2001. A signal from deep space was sent to earth in Contact and from the moon monolith to deep space in 2001.His story involved his character going through a wormhole to end up in a familiar earth environment (the beach) so as to be comfortable. Very similar here going through a stargate although in 2001 feeling comfortable is achieved in a hotel room, from that point however the stories change.

I did know that Bowman became something more from watching the sequel 2010 but not from 2001. Wonder why Kubrik left all that out. ... Read more

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2000-12-07)
list price: US$26.85
Isbn: 1841490555
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
On the moon, an enigma is uncovered. So great are the implications of the discovery that, for the first time, men are sent out deep into the solar system. But before they can reach their destination, things begin to go wrong. Horribly wrong. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars The curvature
The curvature of my review is based on the book written by a famous philosopher called Friederick Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" , the philosophical meaning of the monolith, a contrast between the movie and the novel, the respective "supermen" i.e. David and the chapter "Star Child" and then my opinions on the chapter 27 untitled "Need to Know" as one of the most important chapter of this novel, under the philosophical profile.

The essence of "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" is "The idea that mankind will one day be surpassed by the superman" in order words this is a form of Darwinism, where there is a law based on the "struggle for existence in which the fittest survive, strength is the only virtue and weakness the only fault".

This concept implemented and sustained by humans and not by our mother nature are 100,000 light , years distant from the real concept of evolution expressed by Charles Darwin.

According to Nietzsche, the evolution of man is based on three stages, for instance:

1) The Ape-Man
2) The Modern Man
3) The Superman

Anthropologically speaking the evolution of the human beings, in a galaxy of the universe, can be leaded by an evil force, in a wrong direction i.e. the love for the human self-destruction, violence and so on.

In my opinion the so called third force is expressed after the appearance of the monolith and its controversial mission.

This risk in not only the clash of cultures but slowly and intrinsically speaking the erosion of our freewill, in other words the monolith is our destiny, we are not able to react , because it is imperceptible like the dark matter.

From millenniums we creed that our freewill depends purely on our choices, unfortunately the truth is completely different.

A substantial difference between the movie and the novel is the interpretation of the "superman" for Kubrick the superman is Dave Bowman, during his deathbed scene, when he becomes aware that his life has been manipulated by the monolith.

In the last chapter of Clarke "Star Child" the philosophical message is believe that the innocence of a baby prevails on the purpose of the monolith, i.e. the hope of regaining of our freewill.

Need to Know (Chapter 27th)

In my opinion this is the most important chapter of this novel, written by Arthur C.Clarke,
the main character of this chapter is Hal, and his main frustration: the human beings.

Hal is not a simple personal computer he is like a human being he has a soul too.

Hal represents the utopia ofan evolution where the human being is no longer dominated by the selfish gene, unfortunately this is impossible.
"a snake had entered his electronic Eden"(A.C.Clarke, 2001 a space odyssey, pp.161)

Even Hal has been infected by the original sin, no one is immune.



4-0 out of 5 stars Similarities to "Contact"
**Some Spoilers!***

Love how Clarke uses factual science like the most obvious crater on the moon to house the monolith, the tycho crater, as well as the very strange Saturn moon that has an all white side, Iapetus. How more obious can an alien make it for us to make first contact by keeping monoliths in the center of these obvious places? Besides the changes from jupiter orbit to the Saturn moon as staging grounds for the stargate I found the book to be similar to the movie/ book "Contact" by Carl Sagan. Not sure if you've seen or read, but i think Carl has read 2001. A signal from deep space was sent to earth in Contact and from the moon monolith to deep space in 2001.His story involved his character going through a wormhole to end up in a familiar earth environment (the beach) so as to be comfortable. Very similar here going through a stargate although in 2001 feeling comfortable is achieved in a hotel room, from that point however the stories change.

I did know that Bowman became something more from watching the sequel 2010 but not from 2001. Wonder why Kubrik left all that out. ... Read more

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