Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Earthlight” as Want to Read:
Earthlight
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Earthlight

by
3.70  ·  Rating details ·  2,758 ratings  ·  170 reviews
The time: 200 years after man's first landing on the Moon. There are permanent populations established on the Moon, Venus and Mars. Outer space inhabitants have formed a new political entity, the Federation, and between the Federation and Earth a growing rivalry has developed. EARTHLIGHT is the story of this emerging conflict. ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 155 pages
Published September 12th 1975 by Ballantine (first published February 1st 1955)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Earthlight, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Earthlight

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,758 ratings  ·  170 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Earthlight
Ahmad Sharabiani
Earthlight‬, Arthur C. Clarke

Earthlight is a science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, first published in 1955. Earthlight is a adventure story set on the Moon, where a government agent is looking for a suspected spy at a major observatory on the Moon. The context is strong tension between Earth (which controls the Moon) and independent settlers elsewhere in the solar system. The year is not given, but it is some time in the 22nd century. There have been no wars for the last 200
...more
Keyo Çalî
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The story tells us that even if we live on Moon or Mars, we are the same people as before.
The author believes that history will be repeated
The coolest thing about this book for me was describing the separation of the moon and the earth to the Separation of Britain and America.
earthlight
...more
Denis
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really fine science fiction spy novel set on the Moon. Though not a masterpiece of mid 50's scifi, it is what is to be expected by early Clarke: Intelligent, clever, inventive, efficiently executed, and as always, optimistic. I enjoyed this more than expected. Full of wild speculations of what the Moon might be like, once reached.

The novel, in parts, reminded me of Heinlein's, "The Moon is a Hard Mistress", yet it isn't anything close to that calibre, however, one can almost make a cas
...more
Jared
Jun 12, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As per usual, Clarke has interesting ideas and a book as exciting as bending cardboard.
Patrick
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, classics
This was a fun book. I saw many similarities between Earthlight and the Expanse series. The galaxy was mostly colonized and Mars and the Moon were at odds with Earth. Tensions rise and Earth threatens to withdraw its valuable resources and war begins. This was a very easy read from Clarke. I love how he can take hard science and turn it into something understandable. Great book!
Bill Burris
I haven't got around to reading much Arthur C. Clarke yet, which is surprising, since he has been on my to read list for decades. The only works of his I remember reading are 2001 and a couple of the sequels. Possibly I read some short stories and novels of his when I was reading all the SF I could find in the school library in the early 70s. I didn't have a reading journal or goodreads to keep track of my reading back then.

This would have been a great read in my early teens, but is a little bor
...more
Teresa
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
By modern standards this is a very slim novel, only 158 pages in total. First published in 1955 in many ways the ideas are dated. They reflect the times in which they were written. Set two hundred years into the future a computer needs to be fed punched tape in order to work and scientists have to wait for the developing fluid to dry before they can see the photographic images taken by their telescopes. Those scientists are all male, the few women working with them are glorified clerks.

In many o
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
In this early novel by Clarke, Bertram Sadler, a CIA operative, is sent to the Moon to investigate a suspected spy and prevent an interplanetary war. It's a short novel at 158 pages and straightforward plot, with imaginative descriptions of life on the moon, some of which still seem visionary, and some ludicrously dated. Punch card computers! Photographic film! Typewriters! It was published in 1955, well before the first unmanned probes explored the moon, let alone manned landings. Still enjoyab ...more
Derek Davis
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Monumentally boring in a short space.
Bill
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Earthlight is a classic golden age SciFi story of the kind I grew up with in the 50s and 60s. It ends so optimistically which was the general world-view back them. I took to the novel like the proverbial duck to water and felt like I was back in time.

Clarke is an excellent wordsmith and the prose flows off one's tongue. There is sufficient characterization to make for interesting characters. The novel does qualify as hard Sci-Fi for the period when written. I suspect many today would laugh at s
...more
Rudi
Nov 26, 2020 added it
A book from the 50s about mankind on the moon. Earth has expanded to bases on the moon and several planets in the solar system, and for the first time since the 1940s the world is at the brink of war.

I loved this book. You follow an accountant sent to the moon to check the books of the observatory there - but it ends up being a spy thriller. The setting is vintage and scifi, and it works really well. Clarke's predictions are way off, but they're never dumb.

I see no reason for why this has not b
...more
Cheryl
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Old, scientifically dated, boring, and appallingly sexist.

(The only women mentioned, besides a wife back on Earth, are the six "girls" from computing who have fragile reputations, and an expensive mistress. Only the wife has a name, and none have voices.)

Normally I don't need interesting characters so much in SF, as I'm more interested in the What If ideas... but this doesn't even have a sense of wonder.
...more
Regie
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
The age of this book, like do much vintage SF, is revealed by its somewhat naive attitude to technology (the characters are using extrapolations of fifties tech, rather than the sort of stuff we actually are using in the future - an unavoidable issue which never the less gives the narrative a rather quaint feel) and by the social attitudes on display. These things don't matter and are quickly tuned out.

The narrative takes place on the Moon, in a not terribly far future where humanity has spread
...more
Dusty Wallace
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Clarke's books are always worth reading, even if it's his lesser work. Which is what I would consider this book.

I enjoyed the science, even if it's outdated. In fact, the outdatedness is kind of cool. Clarke writes about plants on the moon and the breathable environment on Mars. It's a beautifully optimistic view of our solar system that has been ruined by that darn pesky scientific research.

The real negative for me is that this book basically gives up on it's original premise. It starts off a
...more
Simón
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Science-Fiction fans
Shelves: science-fiction
With mankind spreading around the Solar System, scarcity of certain resources leads to tensions between the governments of Earth (covering Earth and Moon) and Federation (covering other planets and satellites). As the conflict for resources develops, an agent from an Intelligence Agency of Earth travels to the Moon, trying to uncover a spy passing information to the Federation.

Earthlight is a short book, and tells a simple but interesting story. Its descriptions of a Moon society, although dated
...more
Tom
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Rather boring. The spy aspect of the story takes up most of the pages and it’s rather bland. It all goes something like this:

“Is scientist #1 guilty? No he’s too honest. What about scientist #2? No he only cares about science, not politics. How about scientist #3, 4, and 5? No because...”

The idea of politics between interplanetary colonies has been handled far more adeptly by other books (eg Red Mars Trilogy).

If you set aside that the story is set on a lunar colony, I’d say there’s only about 1
...more
Ellie
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this a lot more than I was expecting to. Written in 1955 some of the assumptions about future technology is hilarious.
Casey Carter
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short and to the point. Vivid moon description and casual style add to the enjoyment.
Karl Kindt
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
A bit of space espionage in an ACC novel? I like it. The convention ACC has used in every novel up to this point is a character through whom we can learn things--not the expert, but a reporter or spy or investigator or someone who can be smarter than us but not too smart, so that he needs things explained to him. I think this is the best and most original use of that convention so far in ACC's novels. I like the very short war in the book--very realistic. It allows ACC to express his extreme pac ...more
Jeff
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
It's been a couple years since I read a Clarke novel, once my favorite science fiction writer. You can expect the usual Clarke: accurate science, great descriptions of the physics & geology, an easily imagined world, but also flat characters, oversimplification of plot, and a bit of a thin read in this case. Earthlight is one of his weaker novels for sure, but it's a comfortable space to be in.
6/10
...more
Nicholas Bobbitt
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very nice short piece of science fiction literature. I found it a bit slow to start and had to try multiple times to get invested in it, so it's really more of a 3.5-star book for me, but I will fault that on me more than the book itself. Clarke obviously had studied the peculiarities of the moon, despite publishing the book far in advance of any manned missions to that body. Additionally, his descriptions of other planets hold up well for the modern knowledge about them. The character ...more
Ravenna
Dec 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Space is big, and life is small.

A. C. Clarke not only has deep insights into human nature, and to what science can become, but also a natural and poetic way of writing. Such beautiful prose, such lovely ideas!

This book I've dubbed "Mystery and Intrigue ... In Space", and it follows in the grand tradition of "___ In Space" (see the Mars trilogy for an example of "Cowboys in Space"). None the less SciFi for also being sort of James Bond. A must-read for lovers of classic SF.
...more
Bryan
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
4.5 stars. Despite being written in 1955, and despite the fact that not everything in this book is exactly as we know things to be now, this is still a really amazing hard science fiction book about the moon.

I really enjoyed this book - it's a fast read, and the science is very realistic. Clarke did a fine job with the characters, and wrapped up the story neatly at the end.

One of Clarke's best works from the early years. Recommended!
...more
Jenna
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Sandler Bertram, learned that the concept of the heavy metals on the Moon discovered will advance a war amidst the Earth, and the younger colonies Mars and Venus.

He was purposely sent to the observatory as an accountant to inspect a group of scientist on the Moon. Bertram was looking forward to attain on who was posting data to the hidden warship in outer space that can create a colossal conflict between the Earth, and its colonies.
James
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read of a visionary future in space

Having the genuine pleasure to have been visiting a friend one day when the man, himself, Arthur C. Clarke, phoned a mutual friend, I have been an avid fan since my teens.

It was surprising that I had not read Earthlight. Classic smooth plot lines, great descriptions of alien places and technologies, wrapped in an easy to read style, Clarke's accessible brilliance radiates luminously in Earthlight.
...more
Weathervane
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A good book, a short book, a book that does what it does well and doesn't overstay its welcome. Characters are bland, but no worries, because the plot, atmosphere, and scientific concepts make things fun.

A solid entry from Clarke.
...more
Jorge Repetto
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best space battle descriptions I've ever read! Clarke at his best. ...more
Malkhai
This book is about a government agent from Earth who has to travel to the Moon to find a spy. A spy who is sending information to the planets of the Federation about the mineral resources of the Moon.

Why is that important? Only the Earth in our Solar System is rich with the minerals that humanity needs to advance. So, our dear planet has a very tight control over those resources and doesn't give them easily to the Federation. Obviously, the other planets are not very fond of that behaviour. Eart
...more
Alger Smythe-Hopkins
A typical science fiction novel of the 1930s, where the technology of the distant future is imagined to be massive walls of diodes and dials. The thinly plotted spy chase conceit is uninteresting because what Clark really wants to get to is his usual theme of racial redemption and his imagining of how easily humanity will adapt to life in space. The basic conflict pushing the story forward is a strange device where only the earth has easily accessible metals and other heavy elements, and so a fi ...more
Ian
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Two hundred years into the future political tensions begin to rise between Earth and the Federation of other colonised worlds. At the centre of the tension is the Moon, controlled by Earth but harbouring resources desperately needed by the Federation. Seeking an intelligence leak, reluctant spy Bertram Sadler is sent undercover within a scientific installation on the Moon in the hopes of averting all-out war.

Science fiction almost always says as much about the times it was written in as it does
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Straight Wall vs. Straight Range 2 2 May 04, 2019 03:24PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Breaking Strain (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 1)
  • The Mercy of Snakes (Nameless #5)
  • Memories of Tomorrow (Nameless #6)
  • Red Rain (Nameless #4)
  • VALIS (VALIS Trilogy, #1)
  • Hide and Seek (Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime, Book 3)
  • Half Past Human (The Hive, #1)
  • Solar Lottery
  • Now Wait for Last Year
  • The Penultimate Truth
  • Martian Time-Slip
  • Photographing the Dead (Nameless #2)
  • The Affirmation
  • Sixth Column
  • Jizzle
  • The Defenders
  • The Praying Mantis Bride (Nameless #3)
  • A Maze of Death
See similar books…
8,466 followers
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
...more

Related Articles

You probably know coauthors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck as James S.A. Corey—their shared pen name. And you probably know them from their wildly...
151 likes · 17 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Don't forget, as you enjoy your mild spring days and peaceful summer evenings, how lucky you are to live in the temperate region of the Solar System, where the air never freezes and the rocks never melt... Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke” 5 likes
“He was, Sadler thought glumly, rather in the position of a man in a darkened coal cellar, looking for a black cat that might not be there. What was worse, to make the analogy more accurate he would have to be a man who didn’t know what a cat looked like, even when he saw one.” 0 likes
More quotes…