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The Hammer Of God

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  7,175 ratings  ·  283 reviews
In the year 2110 technology has cured most of our worries. But even as humankind enters a new golden age, an amateur astronomer points his telescope at just the right corner of the night sky and sees disaster hurtling toward Earth: a chunk of rock that could annihilate civilization. While a few fanatics welcome the apocalyptic destruction as a sign from God, the greatest s ...more
Published December 1st 2012 (first published 1992)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sir Arthur C. Clarke – one of the “BIG THREE” golden era hard science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov – was still writing fresh and relevant, and scientifically exciting books in the 90s, almost 50 years after he began writing stories.

The Hammer of God, first published in 1993 (following the publication of a short story setting out the essential framework of the idea) demonstrates Clarke’s far ranging scientific vision for the genre. While the idea that an asteroi
Althea Ann
Read for post-apocalyptic book club.

Last month, we read "Lucifer's Hammer" (, so in keeping with the hammer/comet-impact theme, we decided to compare and contrast. (This one is FAR better.)

When I was around 13, Arthur C. Clarke was my very favorite author. I read and re-read everything by him in the public library. However, by the time this book came out, in 1993, he'd kind of fallen off my radar. It wasn't so much that my tastes had changed as that my li
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, scifi
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

I was at my local public library trying to sign up for e-book service (Don’t get me started on how annoying that was) when I stumbled upon this book. As I began reading, I wondered how I had missed this novel back in the 90s. This was answered within two chapters, however, when I realized I had read this back in the day and just forgotten about it.

The premise of The Hammer of God is (drum roll please) an steroid on a collision course with Earth. And yes
Carl Alves
In The Hammer of God, a comet threatens to destroy human life on the planet Earth. This doesn’t represent all of humanity, since humans have colonized the moon and the planet Mars, so in a worst case scenario, the human race lives on. Tasked with the monumental challenge of redirecting the comet is Captain Singh and his crew of scientists on the Goliath with a laser weapon that is designed to slightly redirect the course of the comet so that it doesn’t splatter Earth. Plan B is to use a massive ...more
This is an especially important Clarke novel because its central plot is mitigating the threat of an asteroid impact. The prospect of such an event, which many scientists regard as inevitable, plays out as a subplot in other Clarke novels, including Rendezvous with Rama . But here it is what the novel is all about.

While I felt this novel lacked the philosophical depth of 2001: A Space Odyssey or Childhood's End , I enjoyed the science in it and Clarke's concise approach to plot devel
Ryan Stewart
Great classic sci-fi from one of the masters of the genre. This is short but profound.
Arun Divakar
The climb to higher pedestals of scientific achievement has made man snug in his confidence. A confidence that erroneously makes him think that most if not all the challenges that nature throws at him can be averted by his technical toys. Let's now take help from a talented sci-fi author and fast forward into a technically much more advanced future. Mars and Moon have been colonized and man is perhaps at the Zenith of his technical prowess. Now take one of the oldest points of terror of humanity ...more
David (דוד)
3.5 Stars

Good theme. Story reminds us of possibilities of disaster if an asteroid or a comet crosses its path with the earth's orbit, and in such an instance what can us (collectively) as a so-called intelligent species do - try to intervene and avoid the disaster, or allow it to happen as Nature wants it so.

Taking place in the year 2110, quite an amount of futuristic technology has been (very well) described where humanity has been successful in colonizing the Moon and Mars, where the latter is
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Clarke book, and though I'm generally pretty unenthusiastic about death-comet-hurtling-towards-Earth stories, this one was surprisingly good. Clarke is clearly an idea guy; much of the story is about the various technologies that have emerged over the next couple hundred years, with only smaller parts devoted to the trials of the characters. Usually this sort of thing would turn me off, which probably says a lot for the talent of Clarke. I read this book over the course of abou ...more
Feb 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another end of a year, another re-reading of a Clarke novel. (It's something I find I do every year around Arthur's birthdate in December.)

This time I’ve gone for one of his last. The Hammer of God is Arthur's first solo novel after The Ghost from the Grand Banks and his first novel after The Garden of Rama, his co-authorship of the third in the Rama series with Gentry Lee. (The fourth book in the Rama series, Rama Revealed, was published four months after this.) He was yet to become 'Sir Arthur
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, xcharity-2012
2.5 stars for The Hammer of God by Arthur C Clarke. I’d like to give it more but can’t. This has to be the basis for both Deep Impact and Armageddon movies. Asteroid is discovered heading for Earth. Team is sent by spaceship to adjust the orbit slightly. They have to improvise due to problems and face the choice of sacrificing their lives to accomplish the mission. Hope he got royalties from both movies. Nice short chapters but he includes extraneous stuff that doesn’t support the storyline (lik ...more
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Hammer of God, was in my opinion neither Clarke’s best work or among my favorite novel of his. Still, it was a higher grade of writing and intelligence then a large number of science fiction novels out there. The plot was highly readable and the characters were interesting (I like how Clarke used the back stories to create a bit more depth). I appreciated Clarke’s articulation of the effects of an asteroid hitting earth, the plausibility of the system developed to detect asteroids, and the actio ...more
Mar 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a coast to coast flight
Not one of Clarke's best but as usual with his books this is an incredibly fast read - one weekend afternoon took me from cover to cover, endnotes included. All about Kali, an asteroid which head straight for Earth in the next century. Poor on characterization but the novel is really concerned with how a civilization comes around to spotting a death asteroid like this and how we could plan on destroying it. So a multitude of characters flit through the narrative, many of them which Clarke himsel ...more
It's certainly a short story. I read the whole thing on my morning commute with time to spare. In fact, I'll need to be careful that this review doesn't end up longer than the story. The story describes the eponymous asteroid, heading towards Earth, expected to be an extinction event for humanity. Comparisons are made to the previous such event which wiped out the dinosaurs. A team is dispatched to attach an engine to the asteroid to push it out of the collision path. Unfortunately religious ext ...more
Akash Amat
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Great hard sci-fi and one of the best works of fiction about impact avoidance. Too much irrelevant focus about one of the character's life bogs the book down a bit, but the highly insightful 'Sources and Acknowledgements' section makes up for it. Hence, 4/5. There's also a related short story, which I have discussed below.

A Few Words on Fiction about Impact Avoidance

Being able to prevent an impact event, is a major step in the growth of a civilization, is a good representative example of how nih
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this one when it came out twenty-five years ago, and just listened to it when I stumbled across the audiobook at the local library. I didn't really remember much about it; it had become jumbled in my head with the Armageddon and Deep Impact films and the novels Shiva Descending and Lucifer's Hammer. The story jumps about peripatetically in short bursts as did most of Clarke's later work, but it manages to develop convincing characterization and tells an interesting story along with ...more
Mar 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-and-hard-sf
This novel has an episodic nature, with many short chapters, dealing with different aspects of the story (some of quite small importance), jumping through time and space:

- Scientific background about asteroids and interesting facts about past impacts, also dedicating a chapter to father-and-son geologists Luis & Walter Alvarez and the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event
- Robert Singh’s life and memories, mentioning casually relationships/sex topic
- Goliath, Singh's ship, and David, the main co
Max Anadon
Well, I'm getting behind in my reviews. One of my favorite sci-fi books is Clarke's Childhood's End, which I will probably reread this year to see if I still like it.

I liked Hammer because each 'chapter' was only a couple of pages...I like feeling like I'm progressing when I read a book. Context-wise, I liked that the Hammer was explained right away in being the asteroid, Kali, and that its path was directly towards Earth.

The book jumps around in time, but follows the captain, Robert Singh, mo
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So far so eh...My first "real" book since I got my Kindle is not living up to expectations. Arthur C. Clarke, Real Hardcover, Real Sci-Fi. And I feel nothing.
Tom Meyer
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vintage Clarke: fast-paced, fun, clever, occasionally mischievous, full of interesting speculation, and scientifically sound.

Why isn't this a movie?
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, library, 2013
Good sci-fi novel - reads very quickly. Plot is exactly what you would expect from Clarke
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
My very first Arthur C. Clarke novel and it really gave me a thrilling ride within our Solar system with vivid details and his praiseworthy foresight. The beauty of a novel by Clarke , I felt is in the way he goes into the scientific details and sculpts out a thrilling tale with impressive foresight which has good chances to be realized some day in future. The story of this novel might be a straight forward one, omitting numerous difficulties in space travel, yet the strength in his picturizatio ...more
Bryan Alkire
This one is ok. Clarke’s strengths are telling a narrative and world-building not characters or insight. The idea was interesting and the solution ingenious. Clarke does science well, not something that can be said of all SF writers. Additionally, this book isn’t too dated, everyone can enjoy it…the advantage of limited characters and dialogue is that no one is offensive years later. My main issue is that I found the narrative structure a bit jarring at times, almost seems as though the book was ...more
Jeff Johnston
Clever writer. Doesn't bore you too much with over emphasis on the science, whilst employing some nice characterisations.

Absolutely loved the Mars references to his contemporaries, H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Bradbury.
Maja Shinigami
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, favorites, prose, classics
You can destroy my Kali anytime, Mr. Clarke.
Robin Pilgrim
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arthur C Clarke did it again. :)
You learn a lot reading him.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting scifi story about the efforts of human inhabitants of Mars to prevent an asteroid from impacting with and destroying the earth. Various actual earth events are cited and these give the story added depth meaning.
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Coming off of reading the utterly fantastic science-based Rendezvous with Rama, the extensive information about space Olympics and religion is keeping me from finishing this, I’m DNFing at 50%.
Karl Kindt
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Well, at least it was coherent, unlike his previous novel. This story is best when ACC is explaining orbital mechanics and things related to the planets. Again he hatefully attacks all religion (except Hinduism, sort of) and asserts judgmental claims without support and shows he knows little about real politics, human sexuality, and women. Sigh. Unlike PKD, and like Heinlein, I'm glad to be done reading all his novels.
This was an interesting book to read. I almost wish I had read it 'way back when' it first came out. I found myself wondering if he would have changed anything prior to releasing the book if it had been written and released after Shoemaker-Levy collided with Jupiter. It was a decent book; it held my interest throughout the entire reading. It was not a nail-biter, by any means, but it was still a fun read.

It has a lot of sections [chapters] 'building the backstory' and building up to the present.
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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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