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

The City and the Stars

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  30,298 ratings  ·  1,152 reviews
Clarke's masterful evocation of the far future of humanity, considered his finest novel.

Men had built cities before, but never such a city as Diaspar. For millennia its protective dome shut out the creeping decay and danger of the world outside. Once, it held powers that rule the stars.

But then, as legend has it, the invaders came, driving humanity into this last refuge. I
Paperback, SF Masterworks, 255 pages
Published March 8th 2001 by Gollancz (first published January 27th 1956)
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 The City and the Stars, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Arthur Hinty
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
J.M. Hushour
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  30,298 ratings  ·  1,152 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The City and the Stars
Ahmad Sharabiani
The City and the Stars, Arthur C. Clarke

The City and the Stars is a science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, published in 1956.
The City and the Stars takes place one billion years in the future, in the city of Diaspar.

By this time, the Earth is so old that the oceans have gone and humanity has all but left. As far as the people of Diaspar know, theirs is the only city left on the planet. The city of Diaspar is completely enclosed.

Nobody has come in or left the city for as lo
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: clarke-arthur-c
One knows the situation: Just as one has found an interesting area, someone else comes and hunts one way. A great pity if the area is the whole universe and one humankind and the other overlord aliens and any violation could lead to extermination.

It doesn´t really matter if it´s done to protect the incarcerated from themselves and self-extermination, everyone from them, to build an intergalactic zoo attraction or just for fun, it sucks if you can´t go out for a spaceship ride, terraforming, and
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have neglected Sir Arthur C. Clarke for far too long. Way back when I started reading science fiction I tended to read more of other two authors from the group commonly known as "Big Three of science fiction", these other two being Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. I felt their works were somehow more flamboyant and entertaining. As for Sir Arthur I read may be three of his books as I found his writing a little too dry and his science was beyond my ken. Now decades later other sf readers are s ...more
Kevin Kuhn
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Clarke wrote (or rewrote) “The City and the Stars” in 1955 and it was published in 1956. Interestingly, it’s a complete rewrite of his first novel, “Against the Fall of Night” which was rejected by John W. Campbell, Jr., editor of Astounding Science-Fiction. I have mixed feelings about this book, but overall, it was a wonderful read.

Let’s start with the positives. When I said it’s a wonderful read, I mean that literally, it’s full of wonder. The hallmark of the Golden Age of science fiction is t
Dec 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
In Higher Speculations, a book I unsuccessfully keep recommending to people, Helge Kragh has an exasperated chapter on the subject sometimes referred to as "physical eschatology": the so-called scientific forecasting of the very distant future, where people, apparently seriously, discuss whether life will be possible 10 to the something or other years from now, when all the stars have run down and the black holes have evaporated due to Hawking radiation or whatever. The problem, of course, is th ...more
Daniel Bastian
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"When beauty is universal, it loses its power to move the heart, and only its absence can produce an emotional effect." (p. 32)

In Diaspar, the echoes of the past permeate the present. According to the legends, man had traipsed across the galaxies and conquered the stars. Our spread across the cosmos, aided though it was by technological marvels unfathomed in earlier ages, eventually was terminated by a tragic encounter with an advanced race known only as the Invaders. After a series of devastati
Aug 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Another superb novel by one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. One of Clarke's earlier works, this is actually a re-write of [book:Against the Fall of Night|33841 and thus does not read like an early novel. Well written and full of BIG, BIG ideas it is classic Clarke. Set billions of years in the future, this is the story of a stagnant society, disconnected from the rest of the galaxy that, with the help of the main character, rediscovers it's place in the uni ...more
David (דוד)
Such a nice written book, this, by Arthur C. Clarke !! The ideas, and their intensity, even the language at several places, used in this book surpasses at least fifteen of his other titles that I have read so far !

Having published this book in 1956 is a great achievement I would say considering the imagination involved that passes a billion years into the future, by not involving simply humanity, but goes as wide as outside of space and time at one moment. This one surpasses everything ... there
This hardcover edition is copy 40 of 250 produced and is signed by Robert Silverberg (Introduction) Bob Eggleton, Who produced the cover and interior illustrations.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
How do you plan to spend the impeding eco-apocalypse?

Personally, I'm looking forward to roaming the toasty-warm desert wastes of Australia, eating rat-on-a-stick and tracking down former politicians to have, uh... conversations about their inaction on climate change.

The reason I ask is that if you read much SF then this is something you've probably thought about. I seem to come across apocalyptic scenarios every few books I read - its a common setup in the genre and speaks to a widespread inter
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-shelf, sci-fi
Classic fifties SF by Clarke. Widely regarded as one of his best works. So what do you know? I have to check it out.

First of all, its 50's feel for SF is quite noticeable. It's mostly straight adventure with travel and discovery and a few interesting locations, notably two last cities of mankind after a LONG retreat from the galactic scene. Most of them don't even realize that they were pushed back into a self-sustaining lethargic existence without change or hope, relying on a massive computer t
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
What a great story. Characters you could be friends with or who could live on your street. Well written.
It's one of those stories that make you wish you were there, joining in on the adventure.
I definitely have to go back over the Clarke list and see what else I missed.
The City and the Stars has tremendous personal appeal in my universe. This was the first Science Fiction book I can remember reading as a young girl. Science fiction soon became a genre that I enjoyed and Arthur C. Clarke had become a mainstay. I have wanted to reread this book for several years since joining gr to see how the book stands up to the test of time and forming minds. (view spoiler) ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The City and The Stars: Restless in a perfect future city
(Also posted at Fantasy Literature)
This a rewrite of his first book Against the Fall of Night (first published in 1948 in Startling Stories). There are plenty of adherents of the original version, but the revised version is pretty good too. As one of his earlier classic tales, this one features many familiar genre tropes: A far-future city called Diaspar, where technology is so sophisticated it seems like magic, a young (well not exactly,
Simon Mcleish
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in June 2008.

I had the impression that in my teenage years I read pretty much all of Arthur C. Clarke's output to that date. Yet I managed to miss The City and the Stars, one of his best known novels, until I picked up a copy in a secondhand bookshop recently. (I went off Clarke after a while, which explains not picking up on this omission earlier.)

Far in the future, when humanity's galactic empire has risen and fallen, and alien invaders have pushed us back
Leo Robertson
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Clarke uses the classic A-B-A storytelling format for two different cities, A and B. A- ennui. B- learning!. A again- add learning to ennui equals stuff!! We see this often in literature. Rude Vile Pigs by Leo X. Robertson is another shining example.

So good that I'll let him off with telling me his protagonist's feelings like EVERY TIME or ending chapters with stuff like "She just made a promise she couldn't keep", like, okay- are you telling me the twist in the coming chapters is that she doesn
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, classics
Classic 50s Sci-fi at its best! The City and the Stars is considered Clarke’s best novel and I agree. I loved this book!

The fact The City and the Stars takes place a billion years into the future completely grabbed my attention! What would be going on a billion years into the future? Well…nothing I expected! Earth is a desert wasteland except for the super technologically advanced city of Diaspar. The city was encased inside a protective dome, which kept the city cool and kept its citizens prot
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Clarke does it again. In "The City & The Stars", he paints a vivid picture of humanity in the far future that has reached for the heavens before inevitably falling back to Earth and stagnating.

Enter our hero, who feels that there must be more to existence than the city he lives in and sets out to discover what else there is.

Much like "Rendezvous With Rama" there is no villain other than Man's ignorance and prejudice, and in truth this is a very gentle, if intriguing story.

So why do I think it is
To be honest, I am a little disappointed. Mr. Clarke’s works usually are brimming with ideas, which here were not the case, unfortunately. It felt like a cartoon for children – the way characters are shaped, the environment, the robots, the city, the universe…

Maybe I did not get the message right; maybe this is how it was supposed to be – all the above to be just a blurred background for what the author wanted to transmit us: in isolation and without progress we regress and disappear but also t
Megan Baxter
Apr 03, 2015 rated it liked it
This is actually a tale of two cities, but I guess that title might not have been available, for some reason. (No French Revolution, though.) They are the last human cities in existence, founded in the wake of a withdrawal from the stars caused by the Invaders, a now almost-legendary alien force that took the stars away from humanity.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meanti
Clarke's books seem to have a running theme of next possible steps in human evolution, and while I think this and some other ideas in this novel are interesting, the story itself is something modern readers have encountered various time already.
The setup actually reminds me of YA dystopian books, with a young protagonist that is somehow different and discovers something about his futuristic but flawed world. I think that makes the book really accessible, but unfortunately also feels tropy.
The wr
Peter Tillman
That I still have distinct memories of this classic novel, despite having last read it (I think) maybe 20 years ago, prompted me to bump it up to 4 stars, and mark it for another reread. Lys and Diaspar, calling the long-unused train, the young couple on the immaculate marble walls....

Note that "The City and the Stars"(1956) is a rewrite of his first novel, "Against the Fall of Night" (1953) -- the original title being the better one, I think. Wikipedia has the details [caution: SPOILERS]: https
Carol Tensen
Sep 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
One of Arthur C. Clarke's earliest works, this is based on Against the Fall of Night. Oddly enough, he thought that it would be eclipsed by this book in the reading public's mind. They're both still in print. The events in the second half of this book unfolded too quickly to be really savored. All in all, it's still a very good read. Clarke's imagination never fails to delight. ...more
Maggie K
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
This had a lot of big ideas, and I started out liking it.....but I found myself avoiding it all the time. Sometimes an annoying lead character really can destroy any liking for an otherwise good novel
The City and the Stars
Arthur C. Clarke

It was not an easy task that Clarke set out to accomplish when he wrote The City and the Stars. To begin, the story takes place in the deep, deep, future (millions of year in the future.) This is, in itself, somewhat of a gamble; who can know what the world will be like then? Far future stories are almost always too familiar to be truly believable, and in some ways this is the case here, even when considering that the evolution of mankind has somewhat stoppe
Terry Pearce
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, classics
A little clunky in places, fifties-style (I suspect it may have gotten five stars back then), but amazing vision and imagination, so worthwhile even sixty years later... a really striking meditation on possible futures for humanity and cosmic scales of time and distance and development.
Jose Moa
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In my humble opinión one of the best science fiction novels with a sense of wonderfullnes
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is my second Clarke and it's way better than my first encounter with the man's work, which was The Space Trilogy. Yes, I probably started with the wrong book, as my review indicates: see here. But hey, it was cheap and the stories weren't that long, so...

Anyway, The City and the Stars (but the green-yellow cover of the reissue) was bought at the same time, though the reading was postponed, because of my bad experience with the other book. Unjustly, but it is what it is.

In this story, there
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the story a great deal, and found it refreshing that this story from the 1950's saw that both genders would be viewed as equal one day... though this seemed to be more of a concept that an actuality in this story.

A lot of the concepts were far fetched and scientifically impossible so far as current science would advise us, and from the brief research that I did (thanks google!) would have already been considered I'm possible by the time it was written. I won't go into detail as it wou
Trav Rockwell
Sep 20, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - Arthur C. Clarke takes the reader on another epic journey.

This is the third Arthur C. Clarke book I've read (2001: a space odyssey, childhoods end) and once again he points out the insignificance of the human race in the grand scheme of things. 'The city and the stars' Is set in a future earth billions of years from now. There is only one city left on earth, Diaspar, which is preserved under a dome. Beyond the city of Diaspar is nothing, no oceans, no plant life, no life - just deser
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tau Zero
  • The Gods Themselves
  • Blood Music
  • Non-Stop
  • The End of Eternity
  • A Heritage of Stars
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  • City
  • Dark Summer (The Witchling, #1)
  • The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark, #1)
  • The Door Into Summer
  • The Robert Silverberg Science Fiction MEGAPACK®
  • Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
  • The Penultimate Truth
  • Lord of Light
  • More Than Human
  • The Stars My Destination
  • Hegira
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
65 likes · 17 comments
“If we both believe that we have nothing to learn from the other, is it not obvious that we will both be wrong?” 18 likes
“Long ago it had been discovered that without some crime or disorder, Utopia soon became unbearably dull.” 13 likes
More quotes…