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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very moving book
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...
Published on 19 Feb 2002 by Thomas Douglas

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3.0 out of 5 stars Convincingly told Sci-fi
Pretty quick read. Very enjoyable. Earth is no more and seed ships to distant star systems have settled planets with limited success. The last exodus, took advantage of energy technology discovered in the nick of time to traverse space to colonise worlds even further away; they stop off at one of the success stories. A watery world called Thalassa colonised by one of the...
Published 5 months ago by Mel Powell


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very moving book, 19 Feb 2002
By 
Thomas Douglas "TD" (Marlow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Songs of Distant Earth (Paperback)
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5/5 all the way! Superb!, 20 Oct 2004
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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Clear vision and stunning realism., 26 Feb 2002
By A Customer
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. Theirs is a lifestyle full of passion and zest for life, full of calmness and poise, free of selfish corruption or hateful bigotry. The worst disaster to strike them in their 700 years of history was the eruption of Krakan, the local volcano.
Mirissa, her lover Brant and brother Kumar were out fishing, when "the simple, carefree world they had known all their young lives came abruptly to an end." Starship Magellan had arrived after its 300 yearlong journey, started as the Earth was about to be vaporised. Its Quantum drive lit up Thalassa's sky, brighter than any comet could. Moses Kaldor, worthy ambassador, meets the Thalassans to negotiate a brief stay to enable the Magellan reach her destination; a further 50 light years and 300 earth years away. Of the 161 crew awakened from deep interstellar sleep, many form relationships with Thalassans. Some see no point in parting from their new love, and leaving this ideal world for an uncertain one that they may never reach. One such is Lieutenant Owen Fletcher, entrusted with assembling the shield that will protect Magellan from deadly interstellar dust. His plan is to abort the mission, by persuasion if possible, sabotage if necessary.
Will he succeed? Will Captain Bey be able to avoid mutiny? Will the million survivors from Earth overwhelm the 560 Thalassans, when they are awakened from their deep slumber?
Read this fascinating tale and find out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - A C Clarke at his best, 11 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Songs of Distant Earth (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is great Science fiction., 20 May 2004
This review is from: The Songs of Distant Earth (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Moving Book, 22 Mar 2005
This review is from: The Songs of Distant Earth (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read, 30 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Songs of Distant Earth (Paperback)
Set in the future when mankind has calculated the end of the world. The ongoing projects to send seed ships out to colonise far flung planets, so as to preserve humankind. Finally in the Last Days of earth a ship is able to leave earth with humans in stasis. The story centres around this ship arriving at a colony which has grown from one of the seed-ships. Interaction of the earthmen/women and the colonists is fascinating. A very plausible storyline.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believable, realistic........brilliant!, 2 Jun 2001
This review is from: The Songs of Distant Earth (Paperback)
Most science fiction novels are based on unimaginable technologies and just assumptions that these technologies can become reality, however far into the future. Clarke is brilliant and meticulous in his use of technologies - and the explanations of how they came into being and how they are used are excellent.
If you want a novel that still has that fantasy quality without being based in Wonderland this is one to read. A breath of fresh air!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars emotional!, 21 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Songs of Distant Earth (Paperback)
this was such a moving sci-fi romance. it was also fascinating to see what Clarke's vision of the future would be and to see that so far he was very accurate.
as for the story itself, i havent cried for about 4 years but in the last two or three chapters of this book i was very close!
definite 5 star!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Convincingly told Sci-fi, 24 July 2014
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Pretty quick read. Very enjoyable. Earth is no more and seed ships to distant star systems have settled planets with limited success. The last exodus, took advantage of energy technology discovered in the nick of time to traverse space to colonise worlds even further away; they stop off at one of the success stories. A watery world called Thalassa colonised by one of the earlier seed ships. The story tells of the interactions between star ship crew and the Lassens. Separated by centuries, they never the less, encounter each other on various and very human levels before parting. The star ship, keeps moving towards its ultimate goal, the Lassens continue to develop their culture and to understand their planet. A little bit sad at the end. It is a fairly short novel and although the characters are affectionately drawn, I didn't feel I got to know them well enough to be completely immersed in their lives or the plot. However, I enjoyed the ideas and the very plausible way they are woven onto this story, so would certainly recommend.
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The Songs of Distant Earth
The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke (Paperback - 9 Sep 2011)
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