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The City And The Stars (S.F. MASTERWORKS) [Paperback]

Arthur C. Clarke
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Men had built cities before, but never such a city as Diaspar; for millennia its protective dome shutout the creeping decay and danger of the world outside. Once, it held powers that rules the stars. But then, as legend had it, The invaders came, driving humanity into this last refuge. It takes one man, A Unique to break through Diaspar¿s stifling inertia, to smash the legend and discover the true nature of the Invaders.

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The City And The Stars (S.F. MASTERWORKS) + Rendezvous With Rama (S.F. Masterworks S.) + Childhood's End
Price For All Three: 18.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (8 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857987632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857987638
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Somerset in 1917, Arthur C. Clarke has written over sixty books, among which are the science fiction classics 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, The City and the Stars and Rendezvous With Rama. He has won all the most prestigious science fiction trophies, and shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay of the film of 2001. He was knighted in 1998. He died in 2008 at his home in Sri Lanka.

Product Description


Probably his most perfect work. --Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Arthur C. Clarke is one of the truly prophetic figures of the space age ... The colossus of science fiction. --New Yorker --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

Clarke¿s masterful evocation of the far future of humanity, considered his finest novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Graceful Work of Supreme Vision. 3 Jan 2008
I never thought I'd find myself describing a book in such terms, but Arthur C Clarke's "The City and the Stars" is simply a beautiful work of breath-taking vision and insight. It's beauty resides in the gentleness with which he submerges the reader not only into the flow of the story but into a way of thinking that makes us understand profound issues which confront the human race as we head into the future.

In part, what is remarkable is the book itself - written in 1956, it anticipates many of the problems and conflicts which the rise of technology presents us with today: in particular, how human beings themselves interact with and then become shaped by the machines they create. But what is even more remarkable is that Clarke's style does this in a way which takes the reader back to the early days of almost childhood innocence when everything is strange and new; the reader becomes a child again, looking at the world with eyes filled with wonder and asking the simplest of questions all over again. This is Clarke's critique of the main city - Diaspar: in effect, he is saying that with the rise of technology we become at first reliant on and then indifferent to the world. Machines do it for us - and then what is left for us to do or think? Diaspar is the city of the future - along with the stagnating human beings who fill that world.

The plot itself is breath-taking;in 255 pages we are unbelievably taken across a barren world millions of years into the future, across a long forgotten galaxy - and then back to Earth again, all with amazing precision, speed - and above all, stylistic grace. At no point are we forced into assumptions or presuppositions. The story unfolds quite naturally and without haste.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Twilight Years 5 Sep 2003
Grand ideas of great scope were the hallmark of 'The Golden Age of Science Fiction' and this book certainly fits that mold. Set in the very far future, so far that many main sequence stars have started to die, this is a story of two very different paths that two different groups of humans have taken to the puzzle of existence and life. In the city of Diaspar, we have a totally enclosed and static society, where people live for a thousand years, then store their memories for some later computer controlled reincarnation, where anything outside the city is not only totally ignored, its very existence is practically denied. At the other extreme is Lys, where man is just one part of the world of living, growing things, where bio-engineering has been raised to such an art it is buried in the background, and humans have developed telepathic talents. These are the last two areas of civilization on an Earth that has otherwise become a desert, where even the oceans have totally dried up.
Against this background we find Alvin, the first truly new citizen in Diaspar in seven thousand years, born without any memories of prior existences, to whom, without any preset thought biases, all things are open to question. When he starts to question the origin of Diaspar and ask what exists outside the city, he is met with rebuff and ostracism. Persisting in his questions, he eventually finds a way to leave Diaspar and travel to Lys. The things he learns there and the additional questions provoked by this knowledge eventually lead to things far beyond the Earth and a complete revision of 'known' history, with the fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. Just Wow 17 July 2011
By Shishya
There are very few books you read, and go wow. And go back and read again. And say wow again.

The book is about a boy stuck in a city- a perfect city, where there is no disease, people are immortal(sort of), you can have anything you want just by thinking about it. But there is one problem- you can never leave the city, even thinking about leaving gives most citizens cold fear.

The hero is someone who doesnt have this fear and wants to leave- but cant, as the city is closed. Why is it? Whats the secret of the city? What happened all those years ago that scared the people of the city so much they decided never to leave again?

This book has many layers of suspense- you keep reading, and you keep going, "Aha!", all to the very end, when the final secret is revealed.

Brilliant. One the best books Ever.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A myth for the future 18 Oct 2005
I first read this when I was 7 or 8, and it was one of the books that made me a sf fan. This is one of the novels that perfectly capture that 'sense of wonder' that is the heart and purpose of SF, sweeping vistas of the imagination, but still at a human scale. It is not a fautless work, Clarke's future humans are basically too nice, (I would recommend Tanith Lee's "Don't Bite The Sun / Drinking Sapphire Wine" as a rather more realistic view of how humans are likely to act in Utopia), but the sheer pace of the quest as Alvin stretches the horizons of his culture from a self-imposed inward focused bubble like a medieval walled city to recover their heritage of deep space and deep time is a great trip.
It's a novel that bears re-reading, just for the images it can conjure up.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic of it's time..and all time!
This was written back in the late 1950s, and unlike many SF books of its generation has aged well. This is largely because it is set in a very distant future, with a vision of... Read more
Published 15 days ago by John M
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a really great story. Unlike most of Clarke's works
This is a really great story. Unlike most of Clarke's works, it's set in a far distant future. It's a truly dynamic story, which I won't I won't go into, as many reviewers have... Read more
Published 1 month ago by El Guitaro
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic (some spoilers)
Considering that this was written in the 50's, it is a remarkably prescient book. From the moment it begins, with the protagonist playing an immersive, virtual reality, on-line... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Carl Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars A childhood classic revisited.
I remember this book from the school library. Re-reading it 30 years later and it's better than I remember it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Great read. hard to believe how old it is. thanks for the recommendation Roch Maher. Looking forward to the next one
Published 3 months ago by Ed
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the all time great novels of SF
This is a book about the loss and rediscovery of unquenchable human spirit. It reminded me a little in terms of theme of Engine Summer by John Crowley, but unlike that similarly... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Will
5.0 out of 5 stars What a way to enter the realm of science fiction
It seems 'The City and the Stars' is one of Arthur C. Clarke's slightly lesser known novels, when, for instance I mentioned his name and the title of the book to a friend he... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Smatch
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of mystery
Great book. You never quite know what is going to happen until the very end but you are gripped throughout.
Published 5 months ago by Alex Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the best SF books of all time!
What else is there to say this book has it all - what an imagination. I simply love it - a must read.
Published 5 months ago by Jeffrey Northam
4.0 out of 5 stars The View from the Future
For a book that was written in 1956, The City and the Stars has aged remarkably well.

It's been years since I first read this and so when I read it again recently I was... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jason
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