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The Last Theorem Hardcover – 4 Aug 2008

27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; First Edition edition (4 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007289987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007289981
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.9 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,178,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘Arthur Clarke is one of the true geniuses of our time’
Ray Bradbury

“[The Last Theorem] works as a compendium of Clarke's best ideas."
New Scientist

‘Arthur C. Clarke is the prophet of the space age’
The Times

‘A one-man literary Big Bang, Clarke has originated his own vast and teeming futurist universe’
Sunday Times

‘Arthur C. Clarke is blessed with one of the most astounding imaginations ever encountered in print’
New York Times

‘One of the truly prophetic figures of the space age… the colossus of science fiction’
New Yorker

‘The most consistently able writer science fiction has yet produced’ Kingsley Amis on Frederik Pohl

‘In his grasp of scientific and technological possibilities, Pohl ranks with Asimov and Clarke, but he has greater originality than either’ Sunday Times

‘I want to be remembered most as a writer - one who entertained readers, and, hopefully, stretched their imagination as well’ Arthur C Clarke

Book Description

A major science fiction event: the first solo novel in a decade from Science Fiction's grand master.

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Customer Reviews

2.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By zargb5 on 8 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am a long time SF reader. I picked this gem up for a mere £1 (for the hardback version) I think i paid too much for it to be honest. The bits which are obviously Clarke (about 33% of the novel) are the dullest parts. Pohl's contribution raises the bar a little. The only really interesting parts of the novel are the brief descriptions of math tricks and problems (of which there are too few to sustain the readers interest through the turgid conservative middle class dialogue and what passes for a plot.

The plot consists of old ideas patched together which were done far better in their original forms years previously. Pohl occasionally adds a bit of gritty realism (ie torture sequences) but these when contrasted against the grand absurd theme of the grand galactics just show the novel to be even more unbelievable and ridiculous.

The super intelligent aliens (the grand galactics)come across as ill thought out and would have been better portrayed as in a comic parody ala HGTTG.

The book is a disjointed affair, the last theorem has nothing at all to do with the main plot at all. The main plot is also not worth the ink or paper used to print it on.

Overall a sad ending to Clarke's brillant career and Pohl does little better. But he has't written anything decent for 20 years either.

Heaven forbid that any new readers to Clarke & Pohl get their hands on this travesty. Please new readers to these authors please check out Clarke's "2001:A Space Odyssey" "The City & The Stars" "Rendezvous with Rama" and Pohl's "Starchild Trilogy" "Man Plus" & "Gateway" to name just a few classics. They are way above the level of this monster.

I read all of this novel and by the time i got to the end i wished i had not wasted my time and had read something more worthy. The whole thing comes over as a contractual obligation exercise. Avoid at all costs.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Katamari King on 15 May 2009
Format: Paperback
When I saw this, I thought it sounded promising with its talk of Alien invasion and the World being on the brink of nuclear war.
Instead of the exciting thriller that was expected, it delivered an insipid, at times downright boring tale during which I spent the entire time waiting for some decent plot development instead of lots of pointless little side stories that amounted to nothing.
One of the most frustrating things about this book, was the so called "Alien threat" Rather than the menacing invasion promised on the back cover, it was presented as an almost comedic event and dismissed in a really abrupt and unconvincing manner.
It would also have been nice if the main character solving Fermat's Last Theorem was somehow relevant to the rest of the story, but it just seemed like a red herring.
As a big science fiction fan, over the years I have read and enjoyed many of Clarke's classic stories. Sadly this was a real disappointment.
I'm just glad this isn't the book he will be remembered for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Varnor on 6 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Being something of a fan of Clarke's earlier books but not having read any of his later ones, I picked this up while on holiday from a service station, and I wish I'd left it there! As others have said the back of the book makes out the story of an alien invasion, of excitement and suspense, but although it's over a month later I've STILL failed to get to the end of it.

For every page of aliens there are about 75 pages of "storyline" about a Sri Lankan "boy" and his growing up with a love of math, and of his bisexual lovelife which has no relevence at all that I can see and is a bore to wade through

The writing style is also very poor, with the continual use of characters full names (No doubt to pad the book out)

£6.99 that could have been spent on a much better book, I will be avoiding any of Pahl's other books like the plague. And for a grandmaster this last book was the worst book I believe I've ever read attributed to Clarke, I imagine he's spinning in his grave
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. V. Patel on 15 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Having read and loved the "Rama" books, I was immediately drawn to this, evidently one of the great Mr Clarke's final novels. The description reads like the book should be a science fiction masterpiece, split between the down to Earth goings on of a young Sri Lankan astronomy student and the inter stellar doom about to be levied onto humans by the Grand Galactics. It is not.

You are graced with barely a handful (and this is no exaggeration!) of pages dedicated to Science Fiction, the rest of the book is devoted to the somewhat mundane daily life of the student Ranjit Subramanian. Although classed as "science fiction" you would expect the life of the said student to reflect some type of realism, but no - this particular Sri Lankan runs into events and people that are so unrealistic it almost has comedy value! Some of the background characters are so stereotypical you're left searching for some irony. To prove my point and as something to use as a benchmark here, in this novel, the United Nations (UN) are a decisive and internationally feared force which carries out regime changes at the drop of a hat! And University mathematics lectures are somewhere where you learn basic primary school number tricks (eg: how to count in binary using your fingers... I somehow couldn't envision that occurring at Oxford or Cambridge).

Being a big fan of Arthur C Clarke's work, I really wanted to like this book, but just couldn't. The few pages that are devoted to the aliens are mostly towards the end, and even then there's nothing new apparent that would have you on the edge of your seat. The bulk of the book is Ranjit's diary and it's about as riveting as reading a diary about moving rocks from one end of the garden to the other.

A very, very disappointing read.
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