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Imperial Earth

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  3,716 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Editorial Reviews Product Description Imperial Earth is the fascinating odyssey of Duncan Makenzie, traveling from Titan, a moon of Saturn, to Earth, as a diplomatic guest of the United States for the celebration of its Quincentennial in the year 2276. Titan, an independent republic, was originally colonized from Earth three generations earlier. Duncan's initial challenge ...more
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published January 1st 1976 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (NY) (first published September 1975)
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This book is chockful of twists and surprises. At the beginning it looked like nothing more than an exuberant, gratuitous, though admittedly juicy, narration of life on Titan, the biggest of Saturn's moons. Clarke's description of hydrocarbon clouds and ammonia snow, the rose-tinted atmosphere and the wax formation that wraps around lukewarm volcanic effluvium is mesmerizing, as is his characters, the Makenzie twins, separated by decades, because they are clones. Add to that the fact that book w ...more
Unexpectedly romantic are the words that describe Imperial Earth. For many years I have known this novel only by its title. Based on that title, I had assumed the novel would feel bold and grandiose in every respect. So I was not prepared for how unexpectedly intimate and introspective it is.

If novels like 2001 and Rendezvous with Rama are operas, Imperial Earth is more of a play. And I love a good play. Get me musing about deep aspects of humanity and science, and I will pardon the absenc
Overall, I really, really liked this book --- I withheld one star for some minor complaints that made it fall short of perfect for me, which I will get to later.

It's very well plotted --- things are introduced early on in the story, in the vignettes capturing the protagonist's childhood on Titan, that all get woven into the plot much later, when he comes to Earth to give a speech at the United States's quincentennial celebration.

It also has great character development; the protagonist, Duncan Ma
Nutshell: copy of a copy of the colonial administrator on Titan travels to Earth to make yet another copy of himself, gets re-involved in love triangle, gives congressional speech at US quincentennial, &c.

Doesn't ever really get off the ground for me. Not until the final third of the volume does the love triangle reactivate, along with an arbitrarily associated techno-financial intrigue. The latter involves the construction of a very large radio telescope to pick up kilometer-sized radio wav
Booknerd Fraser
It's been a while since I picked up Clarke, and somehow I missed this when I was younger. In a lot of ways, I'm glad I waited, because there are some parts of this that would not have effected me the same way when I was younger.

It's probably the best character work Clarke ever did. The main character tours Earth - well, the US, mostly, in 2276, coming from his home on Titan. So it's part future travelogue. It's fun to see how close Clarke comes to things just 30 years later (the Internet, person
Anno nuovo, nuova sfida..leggere almeno un libro al mese con la parola che verrà sorteggiata.
Questo mese era Terra.
Così ho trovato " l'occasione " per leggere finalmente questo libro.
E' un libro molto tecnico che a tratti può risultare noioso, ma a me è piaciuto. Mi ha catapultato nel 2276 su Titano, e poi sulla Terra.

Belle le descrizioni dei luoghi, delle usanze..di tutto. il viaggio è stato emozionante..mi sembrava di essere nello spazio.
Clarke a me piace. qui sembra che sia dedicato solo alle
Well this was pretty cool.

Descriptions of Titan, of space travel, and of a depopulated and reforested earth are all great. I also like the idea of Washington DC as a giant smithsonian. Settings are all great as usual.

The social/cultural observations which are thrown in are pretty neat too. For example (spoilers) the main character is black, but this is only revealed halfway through the book as an inconsequential detail. He is also bisexual, as are most people. Religion and meat eating have also
The ruling family of Titan are invited to Earth for the 500th anniversary of the American republic and the youngest scion, Duncan, is sent. As we follow his journey, we encounter politics, singularity-driven spaceships, zero-gravity sex, the wonder of seeing Earth with fresh eyes and more.

Starting on Titan, we get Clarke's famously precise and yet poetic descriptions of the landscape and the technology needed to maintain life on that harsh, forbidding world. As Duncan travels to Earth we see som
David Roberts
I am reviewing the hard science fiction novel Imperial Earth by Arthur C Clarke which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. This novel was written in 1975 and I think it's one of his better novels and the theme of autonomous regions wanting self rule and drugs is quite apt to that period historically and still is today. The plot is there is a teenage lad whose grandad is a prominent scientist and ruler of Titan which is also governed from Earth and is like an autonomous region with in ...more
I thought this book was entertaining. It didn't have any stark life realizations, or a connection to something deeper, and was often quite confusing, but overall it was enjoyable. I think it was probably Clarke's ideas about what the future could hold, and the immense beauty of that, in a novel. It held a lot of unimportant details, unconnected to the real point of the story, and then when it got to the point of the story, there were important parts missing. The ending was a tad confusing, and s ...more
I admit that I haven't read every single book Arthur C. Clarke has ever read, but of his books that I have read this is without a doubt the very worst.

There seemed to be a disconnect between the plot elements in the three acts with little feeling of flow or foreshadowing. The characterization was OK, but it still felt like the characters were put in artificial situations.

Of the themes that it explored, I've seen them done better elsewhere. One of the major themes was the impact of cloning on t
Arun Divakar
There wasn’t much I gathered from this book. It started off well and with the eloquence that usually sets Clarke apart. But for all the well written lines, there is no story to back it all up. It was a kind of story that failed to grasp my attention or imagination.

And that’s all I have to write on this one.
The year is 2276 much of the solar system has been colonized. Duncan Makenzie of the most important family of (Saturn's moon) Titan is traveling to Earth for the first time to partake in the 500th anniversary of the US declaration of independence, and also to clone himself to continue the family line (he is himself a clone).
The plot is of minimal interest, it is just a vehicle for Clarke to expand on various ideas- cloning, living on Titan, space travel, the search for extra terrestrial life, ma
John Ess
Arthur C Clarke at his very, very best. He got it one hundred percent right; his blend between science fiction and science future fact. In my opinion, it could be exactly the way things may be, and likely will be, in a couple of hundred years from now. Interestingly, the probes put out around Saturn and Jupiter are discovering the very things that Clarke postulated in this work.

After multiple reads I still can't put it down. Well worth the read.
Not the best ACC. The technology is very cool as usual, but the stupid romance story feels quite dated. The nutter bisexual Karl was a much more interesting character than Duncan, but we don't get to hear Karl's story, only indirectly through Duncan. The whole point on the Duncan character felt quite forced and only there as a medium to tell Karl's story. There was a bigger picture component dealing with what life could be like outside the solar system, but it is hardly discussed with focus bein ...more
Jenny Yates

Clarke might as well have written an essay called, "What I Think Earth Will Be Like In the Year 2276". There's hardly any plot; the characters are wooden. Even when somebody dies, there's no drama.

I picked this up for a quick escapist read, but I could barely finish it. Every once in a while, I thought to myself, "I'm not nerd enough for this book."
Gabriel C.
One quarter exposition, one quarter puerile nonsense projections of 1970s technology, one quarter utter boredom as the mundane is lovingly described to eyes unused to it, one quarter total lack of dramatic tension, one quarter faddish pop psychology, one quarter colonialism, sexism, and a misguided engagement with race. Who authorized this? Utter tripe.
Matteo Pellegrini
XXIII secolo: la Terra è diventata la capitale e il giardino dei mondi, un pianeta addirittura favoloso. Qui deve sbarcare Duncan Makenzie, titaniano, il rampollo della più grande dinastia di mercanti d'idrogeno. La missione è diplomatica ma il romanzo si rivelerà ricco di misteri. Come hanno scritto Carlo Fruttero e Franco Lucentini, "ci sono mille modi di fare la fantascienza, ma a uno solo si deve la sua fortuna, la sua fama, la sua stessa esistenza. E' il modo che combina l'avventura con l'a ...more
Scott Holstad
In a word: boring. Boy, is it boring! I made it to page 112 and just couldn't finish. The protagonist is Duncan Makenzie, who lives on Titan, which is a moon of Saturn. He's from a very prominent family and he's actually a clone. A clone of a clone from Earth. In this book, Duncan travels as a diplomatic guest of the US for the celebration of its Quincentennial in 2276. It's a 500 million mile trip and there's going to be different gravity levels, etc., so Duncan spends time preparing for his ti ...more
Robert Guico
As a written sequel to Disney World's Tomorrowland, Imperial Earth is a fascinating look into what the future looked like from the mid 1970s. As a story it's several elements short of a plot.

The book is largely about Duncan, the second clone of the Makenzie family returning from Titan to Terra (Earth). He's there primarily to acquire a third clone to continue the family's rule on Titan, but also to play the politics game on Terra. There's also a romantic coming-of-age subplot that is the closest
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This isn't one of Clarke's more strongly plotted novels, and at over thirty-five years old, well, it's inevitably already quite dated in lots of details. But Clarke's imaginative vision of humanity's future, his descriptions of the wonders of Titan (one of Saturn's moons) and Earth both, makes for good reading nevertheless, and actually I think Duncan Makenzie is one of his most strongly written and memorable characters. Makenzie, who had never seen Earth, but was born there, is one of a line of ...more
I've read a few books from Clarke, and I'd have to say this one is not as good as some of the others I've laid eyes on.

I don't know why but it took me forever to get into anything interesting. It became a page turner for me more then 2/3rds of the way in.

In the footnotes he states that he came up with the treatment for the book sometime in the 50's but can't remember what his pitch was and feels that perhaps the end product is not what he originally had in mind. I would be curious to see if the
Complaining that an Arthur C Clarke novel is dry and didactic is like bemoaning the wetness of water. But Imperial Earth is far too much a product of the time in which it was written, and Clarke devotes the majority of the novel to telling us things we already know. The first few chapters take place on Titan, and that's a fascinating setting, and just reading about the weather and geology on that moon is improbably riveting, like a college lecture from an unexpectedly charismatic professor. That ...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]This was one of my favourite Clarke novels as a teenager, and I felt it held up pretty well on a return visit. It's a book about Duncan Makenzie, scion of the ruling family of Titan, and his once-in-a-lifetime journey to Earth to attend the 2276 celebrations of the United States (the book was published in 1975, in time for the Bicentennial) and also incidentally to get himself cloned (he is himself a clone.) The good things about it are actua ...more
Cian Beirdd
This was only a three star novel. Why? Because it fails as a novel. I thought it was very successful, however, as a memoir. There isn't a strong plot, there is a series of untied but interesting stories. Characters are not vivid, but I don't expect that of Clarke. The technology, the vision of the future, and the moral issues of cloning, in my opinion, are given a better voice with his book as a memoir. Perhaps he should have done that more clearly in his other works.
Jordan Rawlins
Super fun book! I love Arthur C. Clarke in general, but this one really worked for me. There are a few spoilers ahead, so if you want to avoid them, just read the book, it's worth it, and skip the rest of this. I have to admit the elephant part and the titanic thing were a bit off the mark and odd. But, overall, the book is as fun as can be. I loved the way he depicts Earth in the future. As a space nerd, I really loved the portion where the main character just admires the rings of Saturn from a ...more
Jim Razinha
This book took forever to get through. It's not complex. It's not too long. It was just not engaging.

Dated...I was a tad disappointed in Clarke for that. I'm not keen on authors using contemporary terms, mores, etc. when writing a future history novel. Three hundred years is a lot of time for change and I would expect Clarke to know better than to use geopolitical names and overly specific limits on technology, and yet here he did. And I thought one part rather cute (this was written in 1974-19
Vintage Clarke, filled with classic Clarkey goodness, like clunky and weird interpersonal relationships, and such proofs that the book is set In the Future as casual homosexuality, "The President is a woman—and she was chosen by lot!" and "I have waited until page 403 to mention that the main character is black!" (BTW, the dude who did the cover illustration apparently didn't make it to page 403.)

Overall, and amusing tale of an oligarch from Titan who travels to Earth, to, among other things, ha
Published in 1976, which was the Bicentennial of the USA. This book is set in 2276, during the 500th birthday of the USA. Clarke takes us on a tour of Titan, which is a colonized moon of Saturn, an interplanetary cruise, plus various spots on Earth.

The whole thing is basically a mechanism for Clarke to write about things that interest him, such as space, pentominoes, 23rd century social and sexual mores, and diving. Clarke managed to link all these things together, but it doesn't fully work.

Stephen Dawson
A well imagined future solar system, but with a plot that feels like it came afterwards rather than being the starting point, but the book just about manages to get away with it!
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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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“For the last century, almost all top political appointments [on the planet Earth] had been made by random computer selection from the pool of individuals who had the necessary qualifications. It had taken the human race several thousand years to realize that there were some jobs that should never be given to the people who volunteered for them, especially if they showed too much enthusiasm. As one shrewed political commentator had remarked: “We want a President who has to be carried screaming and kicking into the White House — but will then do the best job he possibly can, so that he’ll get time off for good behavior.” 11 likes
“Even more alarming were persistent rumors that someone had smuggled an Emotion Amplifier on board 'Mentor'. The so-called joy machines were banned on all planets, except under strict medical control; but there would always be people to whom reality was not good enough, and who would want to try something better.” 2 likes
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