The Last Theorem
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The Last Theorem

3.1 of 5 stars 3.10  ·  rating details  ·  1,113 ratings  ·  164 reviews
The final work from the brightest star in science fiction's galaxy. Arthur C Clarke, who predicted the advent of communication satellites and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey completes a lifetime career in science fiction with a masterwork.
Paperback, 299 pages
Published by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2008)
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Raj
I'm a big fan of Arthur C. Clarke, but 3001 The Final Odyssey and now this have tested my loyalty. Both were written in the latter years of Sir Arthur's life (The Last Theorem was the last book published before his death) and both had good ideas that were poorly executed.

The EM shockwave of Earth's nuclear tests spread into space and eventually reach a race of mega-beings, called the Grand Galactics who immediately dispatch one of their client races to eliminate this upstart race. Meanwhile, you...more
Wayne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alexis
This book was written by two great, but very old, authors.It shows. Half of the book is Clarke and Pohl,often ignoring the 4th Wall, telling the story of a young mathematician in the manner of two benevolent grandfathers who're trying to impress their grandkids by throwing random mathematical tricks (some of them pretty neat, tbh) and info in the plot.In the other half they're dreaming of a world where the UN, with Sri-Lanka as the vanguard (!!) can bring about world peace, where Clarke's dream...more
Sean Rourke
I love both these guys. They're unquestionably masters of their craft, and two of the greatest luminaries of science fiction. Having said that, this book is...well...very mediocre. I went on Wikipedia to find out if maybe something was going on during the development of the book, and it turns out that Arthur C Clarke was in the late stages of his life when he started this one. He owed his publisher a book, but hit a point where he felt like he just couldn't generate the ideas anymore. So, he rea...more
Elly
The book was, especially at the beginning, not at all what I expected. It was mostly a novel about a young man growing up, and not much mathematics, or science fiction in evidence. There is a second, smaller, storyline that is interwoven within this story which is very much sf. But in the end it was a very nice story, and I am happy to have read it.
One thing I missed: the actual 5 page proof of the theorem. It would have been so nice to read that... But given that the actual proof is 150 pages...more
Matt
From what I have read Frederick Pohl actually wrote this book based on a few notes from a dying Arthur Clarke.

Pohl managed to turn this book into a tribute to Clarke's best known work including, but probably not limited to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, and Fountain's of Paradise.

There is an alien race in this novel called the One-Point-Fives which reminds me of the Daleks from Dr. Who. I'm not sure that Clarke was fan, but I do remember seeing a photo of him posing with a Dalek. Perh...more
Iulia
Poate fiindcă am citit-o în limba română, poate fiindcă am văzut de curând 2001: A Space Odyssey pe marele ecran şi mă aşteptam la o poveste cu aceeaşi rezonanţă psiho-intelectuală, sau poate fiindcă trec printr-o fază în care, poate în mod nedrept, nu consider simplitatea ca fiind o valoare – Ultima Teoremă mi s-a părut o carte prea uşoară în raport cu aşteptările mele. Nu mi-a trezit emoţii sau idei pe care nu le-am mai avut; nu a strălucit cu nimic. Personajele sunt prea ideale ca să prindă c...more
Prashanth
I respect Mr. Clarke, I really do. And, I like some of his books. Unfortunately, not this one.

The story line follows the travails of one Ranjit, a mathematical genius, from being a kid through his days of glory after solving "Fermat's Last Theorem", and his daughter's (ahem) alien abduction. I remember Mr. Asimov somewhere saying that a story for kids proceeds at breakneck pace, and adult fiction cannot do so. The story here finds the pace somewhere in that category. In summary:
1. Ranjit does so...more
Chris
Given how highly I've held both authors in regard, I was expecting an incredible read. Instead, I found a boring, insipid story about a South Asian family. I'd like to recommend this to South Asian friends and colleagues, but I cannot. Containing very little "science," the book reads like a regular fiction novel by an aspiring author. Fortunately (I guess...) for Mr. Clarke, one of the postambles (there are 5!) suggested that Mr. Pohl did most of the writing, from Mr. Clarke's notes.

The cover qu...more
Clay Scott Brown
Arthur C. Clarke and Frederick Pohl are two of the Giants of Science Fiction. 2001 A Space Odyssey is one of Mr. Clarke’s works and Gateway by Frederick Pohl is one of my favorite books. I still remember when I was a youngster being blown away about Gateway.

So now these two fine creative men have joined together for the first time. That can be a good thing, yet it can be a bad thing as well, when two writers put heads together. Writers aren’t known for being ‘easy to get along with’, and collabo...more
Mohammad
اشتريت النسخة العربية من مكتبة ألف. الرواية بدأها آرثر سي كلارك كاتب الخيال العلمي الكبير، ثم لم يتمكن من اتمامها، فأرسل بها الى الكاتب فريدريك بول ليكملها، فرحب بالفكرة. أسلوب الرواية رشيق يتسم بالحماسة والخفة والشغف بالخيال العلمي. هذه أول رواية أقرأها لآرثر سي كلارك وأول رواية خيال علمي أهتم بقراءتها، لذا فليس عندي اطار مرجعي أقيم على أساسه مدى جودة هذه الرواية. الرواية أعجبتني كثيرا واستمتعت بها من الغلاف الى الغلاف وأعطيتها خمسة نجوم، ولكن بنظرة سريعة على الريفيوز تجد أن أغلب - ان لم يكن كل...more
Aces
Day 1:
I began reading this book last night. I checked it out at the library a couple of weeks ago, remembering how much I enjoyed the Rama series when I was in college. I'm already hooked, only 20 or so pages in. Radar . . .
Tomislav
The story itself...

How often are you treated to a novel in which a mathematical proof takes a prominent role? I can't think of any other. As well, I enjoyed the complex character of Ranjit Subramanian, and the accurate Sri Lankan setting of the first half. In the second half, a lot of recognizable Clarke concepts are deftly woven together, and the evolution of humanity itself becomes the theme, but the story itself suffers and the characters really fluff out.

The story of the story...

I wish Arthu...more
Nikola Tasev
I have a strong suspicion that in the long lives of the authors they accumulated a great deal of ideas, that never made it in a book. Well, it would be such a pity if they went to waste, now, wouldn't it?
This is the resulting stew from dozens of such ideas. The plot holding them together just connects semi-random stuff that happens around. Some of the ideas are awesome, like the Grand Galactics, and to a lesser extend their pet civilizations. Others range from geek fun to geek-boring but educat...more
Kevin Hartley
Shortly after starting the novel, I realized that I had not picked up any science fiction anytime nearly as recently as I should have, let alone Clarke. It started off a little slowly (though not like 2001...that started off like molasses in winter...going uphill), however, after the first chapter or two, I was drawn into the story and really enjoyed reading it. The next thing I knew, I was approaching the end of the novel and trying to avoid crossing that line. By the time I finally did so (on...more
Neil Davies
I've never read anything by Frederik Pohl before but I have read nearly all of Arthur C Clarke's work. This book has obvious ideas from Clarke in it (the setting of Sri Lanka, the space elevator, space yachts racing with the solar wind etc) but the writing does not read like him - it's far too simplistic and at times clumsy. Perhaps it was simply his age (it was the last book he finished before he died) or perhaps he had more to do with the ideas than he did the actual writing, but it's one of t...more
Ron Arden
I am guessing this was the last book Clarke wrote before he died. It was also the first I remember where he discussed his adopted home of Sri Lanka (maybe a farewell gesture).



This book took awhile to get going, but eventually got interesting. Ranjit Subramanian is a math whiz in Sri Lanka who is obsessed with solving Fermat's last theorem. He is a bit antisocial and his main interest is solving the theorem. Through a series of wild circumstances, Ranjit finds himself among Somali pirates and the...more
Kam-Yung Soh
A book with some interesting ideas but a bit of a let-down.

The book chronicles the life of Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan Tamil who, from childhood, is fascinated by Fremat's Last Theorem and dissatisfied with the solution produced by mathematician Andrew Wilies. He ultimately discovers a more elegant proof, earning him fame.

In a separate thread in the book, aliens known as the Grand Galactics detect the first nuclear bomb explosions from Earth and decide to exterminate humanity before we get...more
Blue Willow
Ultimo libro di Arthur C. Clarke e ultimo saluto ai lettori, con l'aiuto di Frederik Pohl che, quando nel 2006 lo scrittore si ammalò gravemente, accettò di terminare il lavoro dell'amico.
In questo volume Clarke sembra voler condensare tutti i temi che più ha amato della fantascienza: il viaggio spaziale, l'incontro con razze aliene, le meraviglie della matematica e delle scienze.
La storia si snoda attraverso una duplice prospettiva, terretre ed aliena.
Sulla Terra seguiamo la vita di Ranjit, abi...more
Keith Stevenson
From the sublime to the not so. And it really pains me to say that. Arthur C Clarke died last year and it was a great loss indeed. It’s hard to imagine a more famous science fiction author and one who had such a prestigious career. So when ‘the final novel from SF grandmaster Arthur C Clarke’, as the shout line went across the cover of The Last Theorem, came through the letterbox, and I saw that Clarke had co-written it with Frederik Pohl, another significant talent, I though, ‘Wow, this is goin...more
Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aithen
I have to admit that I've never read an Arthur C. Clarke book before and that's probably why I liked "The Last Theorem." Apparently, according to long-time fans of the late Mr. Clarke, this author must stick to technologies that are currently hypothetically possible. He did that, but it seems with very little that he hadn't used before. It also seems some readers expect much more than plausible motivations for side characters. For me, I don't need fully analyzed characters in my science fiction....more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in June 2011.

This is the novel with which Clarke rounded off his lengthy and prolific career. Like much of his later work (later in this case basically meaning novels published after Clarke was eighty), The Last Theorem is a collaboration. While most genre collaborations are between established authors and newcomers, this is different, in that Frederik Pohl is one of the very few authors who could be considered one of Clarke's near equals for prestige in scie...more
Andrea Bampi
Merita di essere letto anche solo perchè è l'ultimo progetto a cui abbia lavorato Clarke. Per il resto, pur essendo sicuramente godibile e ben scritto, fa veramente fatica a decollare.
La sensazione è che gli autori abbiano voluto un pà strafare, il contesto è da Space Opera, lo span temporale è di due generazioni, c'è un pò tutto l'armamentario classico della SF (operazione anche piacevole, innumerevoli le autocitazioni) ma per 300 pagine forse c'è un pò troppa carne al fuoco. Inoltre il vero di...more
Douglas
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Mariya
August 2010 was the most frustrating summer, trying desperately to find something invigorating to read.. and failing all the way. This book joins the pile of near-useless paper that has collected at the end of my holidays. I have not finished reading the book yet. No, don't stone me to death for writing a review and not having read the work in it's entirety. But excuse me for being totally bored on page 259 out 410, and after restraining myself and 'talking sense' to myself at least three times...more
Jared
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Mike
Nov 14, 2009 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone
The solving of "Fermat's Last Theorem" was for many the Holy Grail of mathematics. What could be crueler than a gifted mathematician writing in the margins of a book a short equation and a claim to a proof of it's correctness, then having the ungraciousness of dying without writing down the proof. The kicker was that the equation does not seem to have an easy proof. When a solution was finally found, it was neither brief nor simple, and relied on branches of mathematics that did not exist in Fer...more
Lynne
There are several interesting aspects to this short novel by Frederik Pohl and Arthur C. Clarke. One of which is that it takes place almost entirely in Sri Lanka, an unlikely location for a sci-fi novel, if I may say so. The main character Ranjit Subramanian grows up and attends university there. He loves math and astronomy but doesn't know exactly what to do with his life and is often in the shadow of his strict father, a wealthy man who retires and becomes a Buddhist priest. So he pursues teas...more
Ben Babcock
Overall, the word I'd use to describe this book is "shallow." Clarke and Pohl, two big names in SF, have managed to take two interesting concepts (Fermat's Last Theorem and alien sterilization of Earth) and turn them into a boring book. It's as if they said one day, "Well, we've succeeded at everything else in literature; now we have to succeed at writing a bad book!"

My major problem with the book is the lack of any consequences, or really, any conflict at all. At points the story threatens to i...more
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Sir Arthur C. Clarke 1 17 Nov 14, 2009 10:31PM  
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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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