Jake's Reviews > The Ghost from the Grand Banks

The Ghost from the Grand Banks by Arthur C. Clarke
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Sep 08, 10

bookshelves: fiction, science-fiction, arthur-c-clarke
Recommended for: die-hard Arthur C. Clarke fans
Read from September 01 to 07, 2010

It pains me to give this novel two stars. I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece, but I was hoping for more than I got. I had greater difficulty getting into The Ghost from the Grand Banks than any other stand-alone Arthur C. Clarke novel I’ve read. There is a certain dryness to all of Clarke’s books. However, as I scribbled in the margin, this is “a chronically dry novel steeped in anticlimax.”

This book has several good moments, a couple of great ones; however, I can’t think of any character, subplot, or theme that is fully developed or satisfying. Whenever a twist or revelation occurs, it is hastily tied off so the next underdeveloped subplot can take center stage. The slightness of this novel is most apparent in how little direct attention or exploration is given to the R.M.S. Titanic. Too much of the story is spent at the surface dreaming, scheming and bantering about hypothetical technologies. Only in the last few pages does the story begin to feel meaty.

I do recommend this novel to diehard Arthur C. Clarke fans, if only because even average novels bring you closer to your favorite author. I especially enjoyed the Sources and Acknowledgments section at the back of the book. Clarke’s wry wit and galactic sense of irony come out crisp and clear when he doesn’t have to filter his ideas through characters. Below is one of several great lines where Clarke the storyteller reckons with reality.

“I would prefer not to know too much about the events of that distant summer, so that I am not handicapped by mere facts.”
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Reading Progress

09/01/2010 page 49
17.0%

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason Cooperrider Wow, a 2?! I have been avoiding this one (making it a very low Clarke priority) and now I see I have been justified in doing so.


Jake Honestly, I had more fun reading the Afterword material, because it was like listening to Clarke chat. This one was mostly about checking off another box for me.


message 3: by Jason (new)

Jason Cooperrider Jake wrote: "This one was mostly about checking off another box for me."

As I'm sure it will be for me too.


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