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255 pages, Paperback
First published January 27, 1956
"When I first left Diaspar, [Alvin] said, "I did not know what I hoped to find. Lys would have satisfied me once—more than satisfied me—yet now everything on Earth seems so small and unimportant. Each discovery I've made has raised bigger questions, and opened up wider horizons. I wonder where it will end..." (p. 190)
"He ignored the moving way, and kept to the narrow sidewalk—an eccentric thing to do, since he had several miles to travel. But Alvin liked the exercise, for it soothed his mind."
"When beauty is universal, it loses its power to move the heart, and only its absence can produce any emotional effect."
"His expulsion he blamed on vindictive enemies, but the fact was that he suffered from an incurable malady which, it seemed, attacked only homo sapiens among all the intelligent races of the universe. That disease was religious mania."
"When the reality was depressing, men tried to console themselves with myths."
"Faith in one’s own destiny was among the most valuable of the gifts which the gods could bestow upon a man, but Alvin did not know how many it had led to utter disaster."
"they were the creations of a sick culture, a culture that had been afraid of many things. Some of those fears had been based on reality, but others, it now seemed, lay only in the imagination."
"Alvin was an explorer, and all explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest."He is a hopeful character rather than a cynical one. At one point Alvin mused
"A truly intelligent race is not likely to be unfriendly."Ha! That would be the opposite of cynical but does bespeak of naiveté. My 12 year old self thought this was wildly imaginative and hopeful. But make no mistake Clarke has passed judgement on mankind and it is not very kind. It's almost reminiscent of Simak in his cynicism.