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Tales from the White Hart

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,838 ratings  ·  140 reviews
From outside it was simply an ordinary-looking London pub, a place you'd have to be guided to more than once before you memorized its location, somewhere between Fleet Street and the Embankment. But if, by chance, an insider led you to the White Hart on a Wednesday night, you would have found yourself in the midst of a select gathering or writers, editors, scientists and i ...more
Paperback, 151 pages
Published 1957 by Ballantine Books
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  2,838 ratings  ·  140 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Tales from the White Hart, Arthur C. Clarke

Tales from the White Hart is a collection of short stories by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, originally published in paperback in 1957.

Silence Please,
Big Game Hunt,
Patent Pending,
Armaments Race,
Critical Mass,
The Ultimate Melody,
The Pacifist,
The Next Tenants,
Moving Spirit,
The Man Who Ploughed the Sea,
The Reluctant Orchid,
Cold War,
What Goes Up,
Sleeping Beauty,
The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch.

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Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read some bar tall tales theme in science fction/fantasy genre. Before this book, I have read Tales From Gavagan's Bar and The Draco Tavern.

Tales From The White Hart (TFTWH) is my third book, and I already has some expectation when reading it. My expectation "hurts" some of the surprises. But I give 4 star rating not because I am a fan of Mr. Clarke, but because the ending of last story is better wrapping up the book than Gavagan or Draco (Draco has a good ending too, Gavagan has the
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Absolutely outstanding. I hadn't re-read this book for at least twenty years. Somehow it had gotten pigeonholed in my memory as a bit boring and dull.

But it's anything but dull or boring! Classic and funny science fiction stories using the classic bar-story format. Over and over I found myself coming across phrases and ideas which I'd incorporated into my personal lexicon, only to forget where they'd come from. "Oh, so this is where I first read that!" I kept saying.

It's a pity that Clarke wrote
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
Short science fiction stories, all by the same man. Very amusing and whimsical. Kind of silly and fun. All sorts of stuff, like finding the perfect tune, discovering a man-eating plant, sabotaging Florida with a fake iceberg, termites taking over the world, noise cancellation, controlling animals, etc. etc. No outer space stuff – just good old outlandish science.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Arthur C. Clarke is/was one of the "big three" of science fiction.

Although the stories from the White Hart are not exactly SF they do bring a sense of wonder and astonishment.


Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories has some very personal connections. First of all the book though. Its a series of tales from yes you guessed that very British establishment the pub (have actually been in a white Hart myself come to think of it), where tales are told and stories swapped. The stories represent the extremes like all good tales (think Baron Münchhausen at his most respectable) where morals and punchlines take over where restraint and subtly should normally prevail. For example one ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Evgeny's review of Callahan's Crosstime Saloon made me think I should rate this! ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although a fan of Arthur C. Clarke, I'd never heard of this collection before reading Charles Stross's short story A Bird in the Hand on his blog (well worth reading itself), which was written in homage to 'Tales from the White Hart'. I've encountered a few of the stories before in other collections, but never as a set, and I must say that I really enjoyed them.

The humour in these tall tales and shaggy dog stories is evident right from the word go, many of them are build-ups to a single pun deli
Mary JL
Oct 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Any SF fan
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
Arthur Clarke has published several collections of short stories. This particular book was originally published in 1957---so contains some of his earlier works.

All of the stories are well written; Clarke has a clear prose style and some good ideas. However, this was his early work and none of the story is really memorable. This is the type of book where most Sf readers will read it, enjoy it, and not remember the stories two months later.

However, if you have read Clarke's later works, it is inte
Erik Graff
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Clarke fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I read this when really young up at paternal grandmother Lajla's cottage on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan--on the great wicker couch in the living room, to be exact. It was a cool night outside. Clarke's device, setting up his stories in the context of tale tales told in a pub, the whole grownup Englishness of it, enchanted me thoroughly, made me think consciously that "now, this is a good book!" To that point, I hadn't often thought such things about what I read, but the style of it stru ...more
Carol Tensen
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Oh - Em - Gee!! I finally finished this!!!

Tales From the White Hart is an occasionally enjoyable, uneven collection of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, all told by Harry Purvis, one of the White Hart's regular customers. Some of the stories are quite clever, but they all tend to follow the same story arc: Someone broaches a topic; Harry puts in his own two cents; Then Harry commandeers the conversation by spinning a yarn that has some semblance of a science basis and is semi-probable; the scie
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fun book of stories about scientific inventions and their unintended consequences, all told by Harry Purvis to his friends at London's White Hart pub. The inventions are usually strange, and the consequences are always unexpected and funny. The book presents a really interesting contrast between the world of 60 years ago and today; in a way these are "mad scientist" stories, in that the inventors/scientists are usually working by themselves or with very small groups, very much unlike the way mos ...more
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite that most every story features a scientist dying or being incapacitated, there's still a lighthearted feel about this book of short stories. It's probably that these are being related in a bar by outside observers. ...more
Dev Null
Feb 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Shaggy dog stories, told in a pub. Most end with a raised eyebrow and a pun, or one-line "moral", or warning that the science revealed in the story is _just about_ to change the world. They're amusing enough.

But wow! I mean most of these stories were written in the mid-50s, which I know was a totally different world. But even so, if everyone in the 50s was as sexist as this, I can't help but think that the current generation wouldn't exist. I mean the casual contempt for the abilities of women,
Classic Arthur C. Clarke. I read this book thirty-five years ago and have very fond memories. I'm pleased to say that it's held up well over the years and is still a fun read. ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is another one from the boxes of books in my loft - I only vaguely remembered it, and indeed the story I thought I most remembered it for wasn’t even in it, so I’ll need to keep looking for that one.

Anyway, Arthur C. Clarke always gives good short story, though honestly these are fairly slight. The premise, rather reminiscent of an SF version of P. G. Wodehouse’s golf stories, is of a group of scientists, science fiction writers and “interested laymen” (no women, of course) who gather in th
Joe Santoro
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard_sf
I'm a big fan of Arthur Clarke... he does great Hard sci-fi... this is not what Clarke does generally.

Tales from the White Hart is a collection of short stories told at the White Hart Tavern, a pretend bar that the sci fi writers, scientists, and their buds hang out in to pass the time on Wednesday nights. Like Asimov's Black Widower Mysteries, I'm sure the people therein are fictionalized versions of Clarke's writer friends... (wikipedia also says so, though I didn't look at the sources, since
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci fi fans, Clarke fans, Anglophiles
Recommended to Michael by: Dragon Magazine
I read this collection of short stories when I was still quite young (too young to understand some parts of some of them, I now realize). So, when a copy fell into my hands recently, I decided to re-read them and see how much I remembered. The answer: almost nothing. I did remember the basic premise – that an obscure pub, somewhere in London, is the watering hole of a group of scientists, researchers, and science fiction writers who jealously guard against intrusion by the public. Among this cro ...more
Phil Giunta
Harry Purvis is a master storyteller who regales his fellow patrons every Wednesday evening at the White Hart pub with fantastical yarns of eccentric characters and outrageous scientific catastrophes.

While Tales from the White Hart is considered one of Clarke's most popular anthologies, I found a handful of the stories—such as "Big Game Hunt", "Critical Mass", "Cold War", and a few others—to be either prosaic, mundane, or anticlimactic. However, there are a number of humorous and rousing romps,
This is a series of tall tales, one of them horizontally tall, told by a group of habitues of a London pub. These are often very humorous, like the defense created against the charge of illegal distilling, but some are disturbing, like The Reluctant Orchid. I wonder which came first, this or the Little Shop of Horrors. These stories were written in the nineteen fifties and you recognize the period in the references to radio "valves" (N.Amer. tubes)although computers of the giant size do appear. ...more
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Step into the White Hart for a pint and a smoke. Relax in a worn leather chair as your fellow gentlemen relax by the fire. Stretch out a bit as you hear Harry Purvis spin another of his fantastical tales . . .

This book is a collection of short stories looses structured into yards told by a scientist at a local English pup. I sort of stumbled onto this book. I have read a lot of Clarke's works over the years and picked up a very battered copy at a used book sale. There was something about the se
Keith Azariah-Kribbs
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A few of these stories are Arthur Clarke doing P.G. Wodehouse in science fiction. He's no P.G. Wodehouse, but you have to give him credit for trying. And the rest are just plain great science fiction short stories written by a man who thinks that technology is wonderful and there isn't any mystery out there than isn't worth trying to crack open. If you can remember the days in the 60's when space really was a final frontier, you will love this collection. The sheer joy of discovery and explorati ...more
Benn Allen
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
"Tales From the 'White Hart'" is a charming collection of science fiction short stories written by one of SF's most important writers, Arthur C. Clarke. The stories are basically comedic tall tales lacking the hard scientific foundation usually found in Clarke's writings, but are still worth taking in. The book does suffer from being a bit repetitious as they almost all told (one way or another) by one character, Harry Purvis. (Only one story, "Big Game Hunt" is told by somebody else.) Despite t ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I -adore- Clarke's writing on the whole. This, he admits in a forward, was the answer to someone saying that SciFi cannot be funny.

While the stories were charming, whimsical, even light, I wouldn't call them funny. They were like receiving carnival-grade candy floss when I'm used to the most elaborate 9-course desserts from the same baker. Charming, but not really adding anything to the field.
Eric Magee
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Read this book maybe 45 years ago and never forgot it. BN was sorely lacking certain books and authors so bought a Kindle and TFTWH was one of my first purchases. Even better than I remembered. Truly a classic collection of stories played out in a sub-plot. Arthur C. Clark at his finest. Highly recommended for both sci-fi and non-sci-fi readers.
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Arthur’s best, in my opinion! Clever humour glosses over incredulous story points. Seen through the eyes of Harry Purvis, these tales are full of the fanciful and the fantastic. But as they are bar tales, who needs to judge? Just sit back with a good drink in a good chair, and tuck in!
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This set of tall tales spun mainly by one Harry Purvis in a cozy English pub are entertaining enough, but nothing special. One of the stories near the end is annoyingly sexist.
Such a broad talker
a tale for every topic
expert on experts.
My first actual book for 2021! (But I have a good excuse. Which makes it all the more poignant, that I had as much fun with this as I did -- because I didn't take much time, nor had much headspace or energy for it.)

As usual, here come the full, non-truncated, and slightly improved versions of my intermediate reading notes; followed by my overall conclusions and verdict.

March 12, 2021 – page 20. First story read (silence). Interesting how Clarke deals with the then-proposed, still novel theoretic
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much that I wrote a story based on the premise called "Zimmy's". The premise? Ever been in a fog so thick that you couldn't see across the street? Or even a few feet in front of you? How can you be sure that, in such a fog, you don't cross dimensional lines? How can you be sure that, when you go out in to that thick fog and lose site of all that is familiar, you return to the same dimension you were in?

That was just one of the many short-stories in this book that intrigued m
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Arthur Charles 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

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