The City and the Stars

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Image of The City And The Stars (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Author: Sir Arthur C. Clarke
Publisher: Gateway (2001)
Binding: Paperback, 256 pages

A novel of three several parts: a self contained City, an open community & a voyage amongst the stars. I found the initial part set in the City of Dispar to be the most intriguing section, featuring many classic SF wonders for 1956. Some great concepts of virtual reality, computer simulation, human storage & regeneration, along with moving walkways, domes cities & robot assistants.

Despite it's far-far future setting, once Alvin (not a very SF name is it) leaves the City it becomes a simple tale of exploration & discovery. But most of the things Alvin comes across are all to briefly part of the story & then get left behind or are never fully explored, especially the gestalt entity & the creature of pure intelligence. Thought the history of the city had a great plot twist in it.

A quick word of comparison with a couple of other Golden Age SF writers. The City and the Stars came across a little like Olaf Stapledon's "Star Maker" in the sense of - some great ideas, sadly under used. Although I personally prefer Asimov as a writer, Clarke's use of language (from 50+ years ago) hold up better than The Good Doctor's. It would be interesting to compare this book to the original Novella it was based upon, "Against the Fall of Night" (1953).

Comments

Re: The City and the Stars

Yeah, give it a go, there is some fantastic stuff in there. But it's a case of ideas over story for me.

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Just have fun

Re: The City and the Stars

I read this book when I was about 14 and it blew me away. I was working my through a lot of Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein etc. at the time and found this vision of the distant future of mankind absolutely captivating. I really must read it again to see if it still does the job 20+ years later!