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The City and the Stars

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A billion years into the future, Earth’s oceans have evaporated—and humanity has all but vanished. The inhabitants of the City of Diaspar believe theirs is the last city—but there is no way to find out for sure. The city is completely closed off by a high wall, and nobody has left in millions of years.

The last child born in the city in millions of years, Alvin is ...
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Overview

A billion years into the future, Earth’s oceans have evaporated—and humanity has all but vanished. The inhabitants of the City of Diaspar believe theirs is the last city—but there is no way to find out for sure. The city is completely closed off by a high wall, and nobody has left in millions of years.

The last child born in the city in millions of years, Alvin is insatiably curious about the outside world. He embarks on a quest that leads him to discover the truth about the city and humanity’s history—as well as its future.

The City and the Stars is a rewrite of Clarke’s first novel, Against the Fall of Night. While the author assumed that the old version would be replaced by the new version and eventually go out of print, he was surprised to find that the older version was popular enough to stay in wide circulation. Today, both stories are equally popular.

Any fan of Clarke’s would find this book a fascinating read, not just for the intriguing story and Clarke’s singular futuristic vision, but also for the purpose of comparing his approach to the same story at different points in his writing career. While The City and the Stars shares the general plot of Against the Fall of Night, many details are different—making an interesting study of Clarke’s progression as a writer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clarke is widely revered as one of the most influential science fiction writers of the 20th century, esteemed alongside Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, a trio known informally as the “Big Three.” Before his death in 2008, he authored more than 100 novels, novellas, and short story collections and laid the groundwork for science fiction as we know it today. Combining scientific knowledge and visionary literary aptitude, Clarke’s work explored the implications of major scientific discoveries in astonishingly inventive and mystical settings.

Clarke’s short stories and novels have won numerous Hugo and Nebula Awards, have been translated into more than 30 languages, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Several of his books, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey II, have been adapted into films that still stand as classic examples of the genre. Without a doubt, Arthur C. Clarke is one of the most important voices in contemporary science fiction literature.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553288537
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/5/1991
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clarke is widely revered as one of the most influential science fiction writers of the 20th century, esteemed alongside Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, a trio known informally as the “Big Three.” Before his death in 2008, he authored more than 100 novels, novellas, and short story collections and laid the groundwork for science fiction as we know it today. Combining scientific knowledge and visionary literary aptitude, Clarke’s work explored the implications of major scientific discoveries in astonishingly inventive and mystical settings.

Clarke’s short stories and novels have won numerous Hugo and Nebula Awards, have been translated into more than 30 languages, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Several of his books, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey II, have been adapted into films that still stand as classic examples of the genre. Without a doubt, Arthur C. Clarke is one of the most important voices in contemporary science fiction literature.

Biography

Widely considered the greatest science fiction writer of all time, Arthur C. Clarke turned his formidable technical knowledge and lively creative imagination into an amazing career that spanned the fields of literature, invention, futurology, and entertainment.

Born in 1917 in the seaside town of Minehad in Somerset, England, Clarke developed an early interest in both science and its literary sister, speculative science fiction. After secondary school he moved to London and joined the British Interplanetary Society, where he contributed articles to the Society's bulletin. During WWII, he joined the RAF, working in the experimental trials of Ground Controlled Approach Radar, the forerunner of today's air traffic control systems. (This experience inspired his only non-science fiction novel, 1963's Glide Path.) In a technical paper written in 1945 for the UK periodical Wireless World, he set out the principles of satellite communication that would lead to the global satellite systems in use today.

After WWII, he attended King's College, London, on scholarship and received first class honors in Physics and Mathematics. He sold his first sci-fi story to Astounding Science Fiction magazine in May of 1946. From that point on, he never stopped writing. Some of his more notable works include Childhood's End, Rendezvous with Rama, and The Fountains of Paradise.

In 1964, Clarke was approached by film auteur Stanley Kubrick to collaborate on a science fiction movie script. The material chosen for adaptation was Clarke's 1948 short story "The Sentinel," an eerie tale about the discovery of an extraterrestrial artifact. Over the next four years, he expanded the story into a full-length novel, while simultaneously writing the screenplay with Kubrick. In 1968, both versions of 2001: A Space Odyssey debuted to great acclaim. Clarke also worked in television -- as a consultant during the CBS news coverage of the Apollo 12 and 15 space missions and as creator of two distinguished series, "Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World" and "Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers."

In 1954, Clarke visited Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon). He fell in love with the country and settled there in 1956, founding a guided diving service and continuing to produce his astonishing books and articles. On March 19, 2008, he died in Sri Lanka at the age of 90, leaving behind an impressive literary legacy and millions of bereft fans.

Good To Know

Clarke shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Clarke was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998.

In 1986, the Science Fiction Writers of America bestowed on Clarke the title of Grand Master.

At home in Sri Lanka, Clarke survived the deadly Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 that caused the deaths of more than a quarter million people.

Clarke was an expert scuba diver and in 1956 founded a guided diving service in Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon.

In Profiles of the Future (1962), Clarke set forth his "Three Laws," provocative observations on science, science fiction, and society:

  • "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
  • "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."
  • "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
  • Read More Show Less
      1. Date of Birth:
        December 16, 1917
      2. Place of Birth:
        Minehead, Somerset, England
      1. Date of Death:
        March 19, 2008
      2. Place of Death:
        Sri Lanka
      1. Education:
        1948, King's College, London, first-class honors in Physics and Mathematics

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 3.5
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    Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted March 1, 2005

      Classic Sci-Fi from a master

      Over 50 years ago, Clarke first published this novel of earth one billion years in the future. After eons of space exploration, the human race has withdrawn to the city of Diaspar on earth, and its inhabitants are afraid even to venture outside city walls. Enter Alvin, a young man not bound by those fears, who is determined to see what lies outside of Diaspar. City and the Stars is a re-write of Clarke's own novella Against the Fall of Night, which I read before reading this. City and the Stars is a great improvement over the original work, with more fleshed-out ideas and characters, although the plot is very similar to the original. If you have already read Against the Fall of Night, there isn't much reason to read this (unless you are a big fan), but if not, read this one instead. The concepts are slightly dated so you are more likely to enjoy this if you are a fan of classic sci-fi.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 25, 2013

      Great read

      A sci-fi founded in questions of science and religion, fate, and destiny. I read the last three chapters twice to better absorb the closing of the book.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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