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Customer Review

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The ninth billion name of god has been called, 25 Aug. 2008
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This review is from: The Last Theorem (Hardcover)
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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J. Flaton
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Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Top Reviewer Ranking: 868,913