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The Last Theorem Paperback – 18 Aug 2009

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Paperback, 18 Aug 2009

Product details

  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books; Reprint edition (18 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345470230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345470232
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,847,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘Clarke is one of the greatest imaginative writers of hard science fiction’
New Scientist

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

‘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

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

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

15 of 15 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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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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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J. Flaton on 25 Aug 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is some sadness here, while the last of the three great science fiction writers from the so-called "Golden Age" has passed away. Of the Big Three (the other being Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov) Arthur C. Clarke was the more gentle writer, as such famous stories as "The Nine Billion Names of God" or "The Star" can attest to. His grand galactic and spiritual vision (obviously from the "school" of Olaf Stapledon's transhumanism) found its way in such novels as "The City and the Stars", "Childhood's End" and "2001: A Space Odyssey"; they belong to the best of science fiction of that period.

Clarke has cooperated with other writers, notably Stephen Baxter, and for this last novel, with Frederik Pohl, another well-known and respected science fiction writer.

The story of finding a contemporary solution of Fermat's Theorem (that is: with mathematics within the time-span of that mathematician), coupled with aliens knocking at our door, is written with obvious love of Sri Lanka and its people in the forefront. But, just as Asimov and Heinlein before him, he tried to twine the various strands of earlier novels and worlds, such as "Fountains of Paradise", "The City", "Childhood's End" and "2001" into this book. And, predictable, he (and/or Fred Pohl) failed to convince. The Great Galacticans, a glittering utopia hanging before our eyes, and world problems solved with the stroke of a paragraph, it is all a bit too much contrived. It is a 'feel good' book, with much empathy but not with much depth, and a rather plodding plot.

And that is sad. Was Shakespeare really the only one who got better with age? At any rate, Clarke has started his own odyssey into the unknown, and there is much written by him to be fondly remembered. But not this last theorem.
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