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SONGS DIST EARTH-O M Mass Market Paperback – 12 Oct 1986


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Del Rey (12 Oct. 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345339088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345339089
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Review

‘Clarke’s simple, musical style never falters in this novel, which is a sobering yet far from bleak commentary on humanity’s longing for the stars. Highly recommended’
Library Journal

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

For many Arthur C. Clarke is the very personification of science fiction. He is particularly known for the scientific basis of his writing, and his often uncannily accurate predictions. In 'The Songs of Distant Earth' he intertwines these elements with deeply-felt humanitarian themes, to create a thoughtful and hauntingly evocative tale.

Over centuries of knowing the end was at hand humanity launched probes carrying embryos to distant star-systems, relying on machines to incubate the first people of a virgin land under an alien sun. Finally, in the Last days of the Earth, the 'Magellan' takes off for the stars carrying a million refugees. They witness the death of Earth as they leave: the Atlantic boils dry, the pyramid disintegrate, the ice of Antarctica melts. Then they sleep. Five hundred years later the 'Magellan' must make planetfall for repairs. The voyagers awake to find themselves on the idyllic planet of Thalassa. Curios yet wary, the Thalassans offer their distant cousins a cautious welcome and alien destinies become inextricably entwined in a clash of cultures unlike any before.

In 'The Songs of Distant Earth' Arthur C. Clarke has created a poignant and vivid account of doomsday and beyond. His simple, musical prose-style perfectly captures man's longing for the stars in a moving story about human diversity and the meaning of loss.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tom Douglas TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Plausibility and readability come as standard with Arthur C Clarke's novels. And these are two features that are far from guaranteed in the sci-fi arean.
In fact, Clarke writes SO convincingly, that you can easily believe you are reading a factual account rather that a hugely imaginative work of fiction.
With this novel there is an additional dimension.
Emotion.
Sure, it is there in his other novels, in the same way the emotion is with our every living moment. But this book is genuinely moving as it tells the tale of two cultures meeting and overlapping. It tells of love and loss, of heartache and tragedy, but without ever ceasing to be a ripping good yarn.
The pages skip by - it can be read in a few hours - but its memory will linger. And for me it is one of those few books that I will recommend to others without any reservations.
It is impossible to pick a single one of Clarke's novels as his best, but Songs of Distant Earth is guaranteed a place in any shortlist.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
Here is another superb novel in the classic Clarke style; combining solid science with prophetic vision. Clarke wrote the first version as a short story in 1957, 6 months before the launch of Sputnik I! 12 years were to pass before scientists would discuss for the first time the idea of the interstellar drive mentioned here! Ten more years and further scientific papers followed. Thus by 1985, when this novel was written, the original idea was showing promise already, unlike many contemporary space operas featuring fanciful hyperspace drives.
This then is no fantasy. It is hard sci-fi, extrapolating current knowledge and not violating known boundaries. Arthur C. Clarke is reassuringly solid with his science, inspiringly bold with his vision, thrillingly readable with his portrayal of passion and human interactions.
The vision here is not quite as far-reaching as in the Rama stories, but in some ways even more fascinating because of its greater realism. The immediate impact is not as stunning as in 'The Trigger', but the scope is so much grander. The short story version can be found in 'The Sentinel', which is a superb and memorable collection.
The story follows from the end of Earth and the solar system in AD 3620, when the Sun goes supernova. By then some of the interstellar spaceships launched 1200 years ago have fulfilled their mission of establishing human colonies beyond the reach of the exploding sun. Thalassa is one such.
Thalassians are gentle people, possessing technology but not slaves to it. Their world consists of three small islands. Oceans cover the rest of their planet. Theirs is a society free of guilt, violence and jealousy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
Mankind has been fleeing the solar system for centuries but without the benefit of faster-than-light travel. Colonising the stars by launching embryos and genes stored in computers to other worlds in robot seed-ships; the world has resigned itself to remaining on Earth and dying with their star. But, at the eleventh hour a new propulsion system is invented that can send humans to the stars. This book tells the story of a ship of Earth-born humans arriving at a seeded colony.
One of the things I loved about this book is that the science is so believable and well explained but without getting technical - there is just enough detail but never too much. The same could be said about the characterisation which builds right up until the final moving pages which end in a way that you'll never forget. I strongly recommend this book - in a recent interview Arthur C Clarke said it was his personal favorite !
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Withheld on 20 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
Quite simply, this is one of the best small sci-fi novels I've ever read. I hate to quote a cliche, but I simply couldn't put it down. The characters are so entirely believable that it's, in my opinion, extremely easy to become sympathetic with them. In fact, I almost shed a tear whilst reading the last chapter! Clarke has also only used technology that he feels will likely exist in the distant future which he is portraying, giving the story even more believability. 5/5 all the way! Superb!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 20 May 2004
Format: Paperback
I am not a lover of Science Fiction, but this I really liked. It's well-written and easy to read as well as being not to long to become tedious or boring. I preferred it some much more than 2001, which I had previously read. I will now go on to read some of Arthur's other books. I give it 4 stars and not 5 simply because I reserve 5 for the absolute classics.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevan James on 22 Mar. 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book after hearing Mike Oldfield's CD of the same title - his musical interpretation of the book. Much as I enjoyed the music, it is the tone of the book that still haunts me years later. This story is just so moving, not something I expect from a science fiction story. Highly recommended - one that you will want to return to over the years.
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Format: Paperback
Clarke has been perhaps best known for the "epics" of "2001", "Childhood's End" and "Rendezous with Rama", but he went through a very reflective period of balancing hard-core sci-fi with the intricacies of human relationships that resulted in his two most charming novels: "Imperial Earth" and this, "Songs". Admittedly, "Songs" had had a very long gestation period, reflecting Clarke's own escape from muddy wartime Minehead to Ceylon/Taprobane/Sri Lanka/Thalassa. In this novel, as in "Imperial Earth", the main (er... )thrust of the novel is an eternal triangle between a woman and two men, who find themselves torn between the worlds of science and love. The story was deliberately grounded in "hard" science, that is NO Warp-Drives, so the earthmen who arrive on the planet Thalassa have only escaped the destruction of Earth (by a spotty and cantankerous Sun!) by long-term hibernation. The humans already occupying Thalassa had been sent out as frozen embryos on a "seedship" hundreds of years before. The impact of one culture upon the other drives the novel along with the friction between a driven crew of hardcore astronauts facing the docile spirit of a people on a semi-paradisical island adding to the spice. Clarke indulges himself in some of his favourite themes of pleasure and duty, exploration for its own sake and the odd sexual shenanigan, but these are woven into a seamless tapestry that will please even people who HATE science fiction. Why it has never wound up as a film is beyond me, but, along with Julian May's "Pliocene Quartet", and "Milieu Trilogy", this is well overdue. Read for instruction, read for sheer pleasure. But READ, anyway!
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