Against/Beyond The Fall Of Night Paperback – 19 Jan 2000
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Arthur C. Clarke is awesomely informed about physics and astronomy, and blessed with one of the most astounding imaginations ever encountered in print (NEW YORK TIMES)
For many readers Arthur C. Clarke is the very personification of science fiction (THE 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)
Classic Clarke, plus the spellbinding sequel from acclaimed writer Gregory Benford.See all Product Description
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Clarke forms a world in the very distant future whose inhabitants live for hundreds of years on a ravaged planet earth in the oasis of the city. The city is an incredibly advanced utopia but an island of machines and somewhat bored inhabitants.
The main protaganist is the youngest member of the community who ventures out into a voyage of discovery and onto another community which has also survived the ravages of time. The reuniting of the two tribes of mankind each a distinct culture at opposite ends of the spectrum is problem and goal of "Against the Fall of Night".
This is science fiction storytelling at its best. A great story and a must have for all fans of the genre.
Clarke would later feel compelled to extensively rewrite this novel and release it under a different title (The City and the Stars.) Personally I prefer this version. The Technology is set over a ten billion years into the future so a mere 50 years or so since it was first published doesn't really "date" it.
This book doesn't share the high degree of hard science fiction detail that you find in most of his books. The technology is so advanced (machines never break down and read your mind to know what you want of them)that it seems more like magic. In fact, there is a statement that there are no more engineers in the world of the future since once the master robots started building themselves- and everything else- they were no longer needed and engineers faded away. I can identify with that, why work a thankless, unappreciated, arduous pursuit like engineering if the machines can do it better?
The cosmic sweep of this novel over vast intervals of time and the entire universe reads more like an Olaf Stapledon novel (a British science fiction author that died in 1950 and whose works Clarke was no doubt familiar with.)
If you like old-fashion space operas about the lost glories of the galactic Empire this book still weaves that classic atmosphere.
Clarke rewrote this story many years later as "The City and the Stars", but I don't think it was as good as the original- more up-to-date, and more "scientific", perhaps, but this was a better yarn...