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City and the Stars
Arthur C. Clarke
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City and the Stars

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  13,209 ratings  ·  338 reviews
Two classic novels are collected in this volume that includes a new introduction written by the author. In "The City and the Stars," the only man born among immortals wants to find out what lies beyond the city. And in "The Sands of Mars," a science-fiction writer visits a research colony on Mars and discovers the perils of survival on another world.
Published March 8th 2001 by GOLLANCZ (ORIO) (first published 1956)
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In Higher Speculations, a book I unsuccessfully keep recommending to people, Helge Kragh has an exasperated chapter on the subject sometimes referred to as "physical eschatology": the so-called scientific forecasting of the very distant future, where people, apparently seriously, discuss whether life will be possible 10 to the something or other years from now, when all the stars have run down and the black holes have evaporated due to Hawking radiation or whatever. The problem, of course, is th...more
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Another superb novel by one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. One of Clarke's earlier works, this is actually a re-write of [book:Against the Fall of Night|33841 and thus does not read like an early novel. Well written and full of BIG, BIG ideas it is classic Clarke. Set billions of years in the future, this is the story of a stagnant society, disconnected from the rest of the galaxy that, with the help of the main character, rediscovers it's place in the uni...more
I have neglected Sir Arthur C. Clarke for far too long. Way back when I started reading science fiction I tended to read more of other two authors from the group commonly known as "Big Three of science fiction", these other two being Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. I felt their works were somehow more flamboyant and entertaining. As for Sir Arthur I read may be three of his books as I found his writing a little too dry and his science was beyond my ken. Now decades later other sf readers are s...more
The City and The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke (1954)

This a rewrite of his first book Against the Fall of Night (first published in 1948 in Startling Stories). There are plenty of adherents of the original version, but the revised version is pretty good too. As one of his earlier classic tales, this one features many familiar genre tropes: A far-future city called Diaspar, where technology is so sophisticated it seems like magic, a young (well not exactly, but close enough) protagonist who curiosity...more

Being somewhat new to Arthur C Clarke, this being only the second of his books I've read, I find him unique to the point of odd amongst science fiction authors. He comes across as a philosopher as much as he does a sci fi writer.

The city is Diaspar, set in a desert on Earth, completely closed off from the outside world which is now all desert, no oceans. It was designed a billion years ago, after mankind had already been to the stars, created an empire and then been defeated by invaders. The...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in June 2008.

I had the impression that in my teenage years I read pretty much all of Arthur C. Clarke's output to that date. Yet I managed to miss The City and the Stars, one of his best known novels, until I picked up a copy in a secondhand bookshop recently. (I went off Clarke after a while, which explains not picking up on this omission earlier.)

Far in the future, when humanity's galactic empire has risen and fallen, and alien invaders have pushed us back...more
Joaquin Garza
Cada uno de los ‘tres grandes’ de la ciencia ficción tiene un sello bien distintivo. Asimov fue el gran divulgador, el prolífico, el apasionado de los datos y la información, y el siempre creyente en que en el futuro la agregación sería la norma para conocer el futuro y tomar las decisiones de la humanidad. Heinlein era el subversivo, el libertario, el que coqueteaba con el militarismo, el siempre contrario, quizá el más político de los tres. Y en cambio Arthur C. Clarke siempre fue el más filo...more
’La ciudad y las estrellas’ (The City and the Stars, 1956), de Arthur C. Clarke, parte de un cuento del propio Clarke que escribió en 1954, ‘Against the Fall of Night’. La historia transcurre en un futuro muy lejano, en Diaspar, la última ciudad sobre la Tierra. Diaspar es una ciudad aislada completamente del exterior, controlada por un ordenador central, donde sus diez millones de habitantes viven en una utopía maravillosa, viviendo por y para el entretenimiento. Si alguien, tras miles de años...more
Jay Daze
Am I a sf philistine? Clarke's book bogged right the hell down for me. I put it down for weeks and only picked it back up cause I was bloody minded. I remember reading other of his books, probably Childhood's End, 2001 and Rendezvous with Rama and enjoying them when I was a teen. But I found the book had most of the sins of early sf - a cypher for a main character, completely cut off from anything that would ground the book in some sort of believable world. Interesting ideas, but it just could n...more
The story is about Alvin, a Unique, who tries to escape from the city of Diaspar, just because he wants to find out what lies outside his confined city. Once he manages to get out, he will change the fate of not just his city, but the entire humanity.

This novel is full of dialogues concerning science, philosophy, religion and psychology. It is what you expect from a full blown science fiction, and you can expect it from one of the grandfather of modern science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke. But sinc...more
There is a reason Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – 2008) is considered one of the greatest Science Fiction writers of all time. For so many other authors, a book like “The City and the Stars” would stand out as their greatest work, but with Clarke one has to consider novels like “Childhood’s End”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and “Rendezvous with Rama” among others, and so this is merely one of his greatest works. Published in June of 1956, it is a rewrite of his novella “Against the Fall of Night” whic...more
Jim Mcclanahan
Apr 09, 2013 Jim Mcclanahan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all SF readers
Recommended to Jim by: my Father
I discovered, upon re-reading this book that it had been longer than I had first thought since my previous traversal. Much of the story seemed like a new experience for me.

I have been obsessively reading a good many older SF tales of late and am generally quite sensitive to indications of their being sadly rooted in the time of their composition. I didn't feel this way in my current absorption of this book. Although the manner of story-telling is obviously from a much earlier time (1953), I did...more
Bill Wellham
Just closed the book. How to review? I enjoyed the book, as it only took a few days to read; but was left feeling a little underwelmed.

Humanity a billion years from now, living under a dome, with a system of imortality and central computer controlled society; happy in their way. Almost a utopia, except of course it is not! A story of a young mans quest to discover the truth about humanity's history. He asks questions that no body else dares to. What lies outside the dome? Why is he the only one...more
The book cover says "Probably his most perfect work". But for me Rendezvous with Rama will be his most perfect work. Any case this is a good read.The concept in the initial parts of the book is what you have seen in the movie "The Matrix". I'm pretty sure that Wachowski Brothers have read this book. And Clarke draws a lot from Hindu mythological concept of creation and existence for this book. As far as the plot is concerned, it is built solely up on curiosity and imagination, which is why it is...more
ich wollte nur kurz reinschauen und bin absolut klebengeblieben. die konstruktion ist erstaunlich plausibel: eine gesellschaft die die zeit vollständig besiegt hat aber sich im raum auf eine einzige stadt beschränkt. das ist relativ plausibel angesichts immer weiterer speicherkapizitäten. wenn man bewußtseine auf technische speicher übertragen kann ist die kategorie der zeit erledigt.
allerdings wäre damit auch der raum erledigt. ein zeitlich entgrenztes bewußtsein braucht weder zeit noch körper...more
Micah Scelsi
This book truly written in the vain of classic sci-fi. It gives good scientific concepts about the future, but is truly introspective and a take on current society. I enjoyed the concept of society growing so technologically accomplished that it forgets how many of these things actually work and becomes complacent and decadent. Reading this book at this point in history already makes one appreciate how prognostic the author was, though he was dealing with truly unimaginable amounts of time in th...more
One of the grand daddies of modern science fiction, in my view.
It's hard to believe that Arthur wrote this just after the Second World War, on a boat trip from Australia to England as that was the normal way to travel such a short time ago. And he had vision! As part of the tale, he had computers, anti-gravity, machines with no moving parts, faster-thatn-light space travel, the distant future where the remnants of humanity, watched over by computers and other machines, live out their lives in th...more
William Herschel
It's classic old science-fiction. It reads more like a parable (although I hate to use that word), so maybe more like a historic story told around a fire by an old man with a white beard.

And it's full of awe and wonder, and emptiness, consequently because it deals with time in the billions, distances beyond the universe; and yet it begins in a city who won't look beyond its own walls.

The city is Diaspar, and I never could stop my mind from tricking itself into reading instead Despair. Alvin is b...more
Ummmmm I know we are supposed to always fall in line when reading one of 'the greats' and nod sagely at the end of their work but I kinda want to say huh? I don't think reading with a 3 month old around is doing me many favours lol. Another book that looks into mans future and sees us as either a back to nature telepath or a stored in a computer model of perfection - I know which I'd prefer. I failed to connect with the leading character and felt the rest were fillers. I'm disappointed, I want t...more
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a classic science fiction novel from one of the masters. Arthur C. Clarke has written more popular sf novels (see 2001: A Space Odyssey), but many including myself consider this his best. There is a clarity of style and a sense of wonder about how and why the Earth has begun to decline in spite of the beauty and brilliance of the City where people live their lives. Perhaps it is the simplicity and fairy-tale like setting that makes it one of my favorites, since I read fairy tales at an e...more
Erik Graff
Jan 18, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Clarke fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Clarke was one of the first science fiction writers to come to my awareness when still in elementary school. I'd been reading the genre since second grade, but it took quite a while for me to really distinguish between and actually seek out particular authors. The book that did it for me as regards Clarke may well have been his collection, Tales of the White Hart.

As I got older and as the New Wave passed from the UK to the USA in the sixties, my tastes changed. Now Clarke seemed a bit passe, his...more
I was reading some article in Wired or something and it was listing off things that science fiction authors had predicted, and it said something like "And Arthur C Clarke predicted artificial intelligence in The City and the Stars" and I thought "Wait what?" I thought I had read every Arthur C Clarke book when I was a kid, but apparently I had missed this one (AND Against the Fall of Night, an earlier version of the book). So I bought it and got to read my first new Arthur C Clarke book in like...more
Tuan Ho
WOW! The last 30 pages are incredible!

You can't help but feel full of joy and an intense desire to travel the stars after reading this book!

Even if the future may never make it possible for ordinary citizens to fly past the stars -- at least reading a book like this will satisfy your mind's desire to do so.

It is marvellous how Clarke is able to capture the curiosity and longing for the stars a person feels when they look up at the skies.

I also loved this book as it's a nice dig at religion -- or...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
This is Clarke's rewrite of his first novel, Against the Fall of Night(1939). Either he didn't rewrite it enough or maybe should have let it alone and moved on. THe City and the Stars is filled with descriptions and explanations of society a billion years from now, rather than scenes that immerse us in this world so we have to figure some of the workings out for ourselves. Often the dialog reads like more exposition with quotation marks placed around it. All the classic Clarke motifs are in plac...more
Kathy Dolan
It did me good to persevere with this short, challenging novel. I often feel too many people give short shrift to science fiction without trying it, so I decided to get hold of this novel after it was recommended to me. It's not an easy read. My imagination struggles to grasp the concepts of classic science fiction. But it's compelling in its ideas - the fact that mankind has become such a fearful, inward looking race, content with their virtual world and no-one - except Alvin - curious about li...more
Man seems to have conquered all of the laws of nature and even the stars themselves. Death and disease are meaningless concepts of a forgotten time. But he has not yet conquered his own worst enemy, himself.

Clark tells a story of a far future that is inconceivable in scope. Millions of years are but short time slots in this story of man. The technological concepts are mind blowing close to magic. What does man become?

Clark's worldview is inescapably naturalist. What I find interesting is that...more
Ah Ah Ah
This book treats the passage of time in a bizarre way. Nothing happens for billions of years (literally - Clarke is fond of his thousands of millions of years), then a pile of fundamental discoveries and changes takes place in the span of a few days. There is some great visual imagery and convincingly alien settings, as well as truly out-of-the-blue body horror moments (halfway into the book you learn humans lost their teeth with evolution, which messes mightily with one's mental image of the pr...more
The second book in my 2013 travel collection was my first ever Arthur C. Clarke. Recommended to me by a stranger at a charity book sale as we bonded over our mutual love of classic science fiction whilst flicking through hundreds of old books, as his favourite science fiction novel ever I couldn't refuse to buy it. That strange man didn't let me down, I really enjoyed this classic piece of science fiction from the Grandmaster. It's a science fiction adventure the likes of which they just can't s...more
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Arthur C. Clarke was one of the most important and influential figures in 20th century science fiction. He spent the first half of his life in England, where he served in World War Two as a radar operator, before emigrating to Ceylon in 1956. He is best known for the novel and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he co-created with the assistance of Stanley Kubrick.

Clarke was a graduate of King's Co...more
More about Arthur C. Clarke...
2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1) Rendezvous with Rama (Rama, #1) Childhood's End 2010: Odyssey Two (Space Odyssey, #2) The Fountains of Paradise

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“Long ago the signalling had become no more than a meaningless ritual, now maintained by an animal which had forgotten to learn and a robot which had never known to forget.” 0 likes
“Oh, I can think of many reasons. Perhaps it’s a signal, so that any strange ship entering our universe will know where to look for life. Perhaps it marks the centre of galactic administration. Or perhaps—and somehow I feel that this is the real explanation—it’s simply the greatest of all works of art. But it’s foolish to speculate now. In a few hours we shall know the truth.” 0 likes
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