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The City and the Stars

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  14,282 ratings  ·  387 reviews
This is the Signet 10th printing.

Men had built cities before, but never such a city as Diaspar; for millennia its protective dome shutout the creeping decay and danger of the world outside. Once, it held powers that rules the stars. But then, as legend had it, The invaders came, driving humanity into this last refuge. It takes one man, A Unique to break through Diaspar's s
Mass Market Paperback, #W7990, 191 pages
Published December 1st 1957 by Signet (first published January 1st 1956)
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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
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
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
Clarke does it again. In "The City & The Stars", he paints a vivid picture of humanity in the far future that has reached for the heavens before inevitably falling back to Earth and stagnating.

Enter our hero, who feels that there must be more to existence than the city he lives in and sets out to discover what else there is.

Much like "Rendezvous With Rama" there is no villain other than Man's ignorance and prejudice, and in truth this is a very gentle, if intriguing story.

So why do I think i
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

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
’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
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
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
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
Daniel Gonçalves
Books like this are always fascinating and endearing to read because they kindle a reaction inside the reader’s mind that largely resembles an intrinsic feeling of pride. With Arthur C. Clarke’s stories, I find myself rejoicing the fact that I am breathing, alive and well, in such a vivid, colorful time.

The main theme of this novel - painting a civilization in the distant future - creates within the reader a perpetual feeling of nostalgia towards the present times. This might be Clarke’s ulti
Nia Nymue
The story centers around a social (and biological?) deviant who challenges the norms of his society in a sci-fi setting. I'd read somewhere that sci-fi is a good blend of philosophy and fiction and I think this book is an example of that. The scientific aspects are not too technical to turn most people off, I think, and there are many ideas that are implied at and explored throughout the novel. On a superficial reading, it might just be a somewhat enjoyable book, but a slower, more careful readi ...more
The social forces which determine which books become popular and which fade into obscurity will forever baffle me. The City and the Stars will hence forth be a classic cause of my bafflement. Let me explain.

There are two extremely well known works which deal with Utopia, the ultimate "end" of society. They are, of course, Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World . This review will make much more sense to you if you have read those works but you will probably find this review useful even if yo
Matt Mongiello
First off, all of the Clarke novels I've read have been highly enjoyable. The City and the Stars was no exception. It did seem to lack some of the intensity and build up of Rama, Childhood's End, and 2001/2010. But once again Clarke paints a compelling and oddly plausible picture of the future.

I'm really struck by the common themes and styles of all Clarke's book. It's a double edged sword as each novel is terrific, but the overall uncatalogued starts to feel a little stale. He is a master of m
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
Arthur C Clarke i okuyanlar bilir, kendisi bilim kurgu kitaplarini gercekten ayrintilari ile yazmaya calisan ve genellikle yazdiklari sonraki senelerde bilim tarafindan doğrulanan gelecegi görebilen nadir bilim kurgu yazarlarındandur,

Bu kitabini da bu sekilde.değerlendirebiliriz. kitabi yazdiktan ve yayinladiktan bir sure sonra daha iyi fikirler ve yeni.bilimsel tezler ile tekrar yazmistir bu.kitap da tekrar yazim olan halidir.

Binlerce yillik hatta milyon.senelik bir kulturu olan ve dunyanin son
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
This is not a novel.
It's a philosophy book.
It asks the big philosophical questions in the guise of a novel: what does it mean to be human? What is the end of history? How did we get here--what were our beginnings? Is there a God, and if so what is that God's relation to the world and to the inhabitants of the world/universe? Is God a separate entity, or one the inhabitants of the universe created? Is there more or is this all there is? What is life? These are all huge questions--questions Clarke
Ryan Langrill
Books this reminded me of: The Dispossessed, The Giver, other Arthur C. Clarke books (obviously).

I read Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End several years ago, and it turned me off of of him for years. Spoilers for the CE if you're curious why: (view spoiler)
Un libro que narra una historia en la que en pocas páginas te sumerge en un mundo de ciencia ficción genial cerrando una historia perfecta.

Una posible futuro en el que, junto con el personaje, descubres el significado de la enigmática ciudad de Diaspar, sus habitantes y su pasado. Es un libro que se lee rápido, en dos días me lo he terminado y porque me ha sido imposible dejarlo aparcado por el deseo de querer saber más. Me parece que algo bueno que tiene el libro es conseguir vincularte con el
Ed Tinkertoy
This was a good read as are all books by Clarke. I was just a little disappointed at the ending because I thought the lead character would take off again and explore the universe.

The story takes place 100 million years or so in the future of the Earth and there is just one city left on the planet. The city is run by a central computer that controls everything that the million or so people see and use, including reconfiguring the building and city when needed. Normal reproduction is no longer us
A billion years in the future, humanity lives enclosed in a great dome, and, with the help of a central computer, has evolved to be essentially immortal. Art, philosophy, and mathematics contentedly amuse everyone in the vast city of Diaspar, except for Alvin, who wants to know what's beyond. Not only has no one ever left or entered in the city since it's inception, everyone has a deep-seated fear to even approach the boundary of the dome, in part due to a story that long ago the Invaders banish ...more
Gareth Evans
This is probably the first straight science fiction book I have read for over 30 years so my perspective might be a little unusual, with historical thrillers, crime novels and literary fiction being my usual terrioritory. I am certainly an outsider to the science fiction community. Clarke has a straightfoward, clear style of writing, with little in the way of humour. This could have been an action story, the lead character, Alvin, is placed in enough potentially perilous situations, but it is cl ...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
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
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
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
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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 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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