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Against the Fall of Night
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Against the Fall of Night

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  3,729 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Mankind has reached the heights of civilization. Men live thousands of years in perfect freedom and leisure - their wants are attended to by ingenoius machines - peace and culture flourish in ways undreramed of in our time. And yet . . . mankind is dying. The price of peace has been the loss of the needed human qualities of curiosity and dr
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 8th 2003 by IBOOKS, INC. (first published January 1st 1953)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,729 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of dying earth tales
Recommended to Terry by: Richard Derus
3 – 3.5 stars

Hundreds of thousands of years ago (millions of years after our own benighted age) the Earth suffered a tragic loss in battle with beings known only as "the Invaders" and the apparently last remnant of humanity sits behind the majestic walls of the final human city: Diaspar. Here they while away their immortal days, a society of lotus eaters tended by the greatest machines ever conceived by humankind, living in pleasure, but also fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the wasteland outs
This hardcover edition is copy 40 of 250 produced and is signed by Bob Eggleton who did the artwork.
May 07, 2013 rated it liked it

I think of this book, and I see something like this in my head:


I'm not joking. I read this and I imagined something that colorful and bright. Reading it was like being in a picture like that, you know, like smack in the middle of one of those retro-sci-fi covers. It was quite something.

The world-building is phenomenal. Everything stood out in vivid colors, the landscapes, the buildings, the cities. Yes, everything seemed extremely well-developed, except... the characters.

The characters fell fl
Oct 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this one rather than his later rewrite "The City and the Stars." Deep-future always works better as poetry, and you can't clutter up poetry with too many details -- the bare prose and simple exposition which Clarke later abandoned make a clean frame for this lovely story.

That spooky feeling you got when the time traveler in HG Wells disembarks into the silent garden of the Sphinx at twilight? This is a whole book of that. It's also an antiquarian mystery, an essay on the implications of dee
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of classic science fiction
An early effort by Arthur C. Clarke. An entertaining and fast read, but not a very complex story. Actually if Sir Clarke had written it just a little differently I would classify it as a Young Adult dystopian novel, but as it stands it's basically a Golden Age science-fiction story. Our hero is cut from the old pulp-fiction stories. Intelligent, brave, lucky and fortunate enough to come across technology that functions with no need for our protagonist to actually learn how to operate it or at le ...more
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, scifi-fantasy
I found this in a random place in my school's reference room and jumped on it - English language books are difficult to find here unless they're well known classics, and sci-fi books are among the rarest to come across, so I was excited. I was especially excited to see it was a Clarke book I had discovered as I've previously read 2 of his books, Childhood's End and Rendezvous with Rama, and enjoyed both.

A couple comments on these previous encounters: Rama was seriously lacking in characterizatio
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, science-fiction
Wow. This was my introduction to Arthur C. Clarke, and to say that it has piqued my curiosity in the author would be an understatement. More like kindled a fire using fuel that I never new I possessed.

A few notes are in order:

1) This review does not factor in Clarke's re-write, The City and the Stars, at all.

2) This book was written in 1948. This blew me away -- it does not feel dated at all and reads like it could have been written today. Given the massive leaps forward in science since then, t
The Prologue to Arthur C. Clarke's Against the Fall of Night is so mesmerizing I thought I might have another Childhood's End on my hands. The first page or two encapsulates all that is most poignant in the book: a child looks to the heavens and wonders if all that is best about his world has already past, lost forever in a desert of myth and apostasy.

However thought-provoking this novel may be, as an early outing by Clarke it seems underdeveloped. The grand technology-driven themes, the oper
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In this novel Clarke gave us Diaspar and Lys.He gave us Shalmirane.He gave us a masterpice of far future.He gave us a sense of wonder that inspired many writers who followed his footsteps.
Catherine Berry
I first read this novel when I was ten years old. The protagonist, Alvin of Diaspar, immediately became my hero and model. I reread my copy until it physically fell apart.

Recently, something reminded me of the prologue of the book, a classic Clarkian prose-poem that, in three pages, perfectly establishes both the setting and the mood for the entire book. I obtained it on Kindle, read the prologue with fresh appreciation...and was once again hooked. I finished the book during a series of long pla
Erik Graff
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Clarke fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Having read The City and the Stars during childhood and having forgotten most of it, I was interested in reading the 1948 original, Against the Fall of Night.
May 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I likely read a Clarke novel long ago, probably because my father recommended it. It was not this novel. This novel, once I started it, turned out to be not one of Clarke's best. You don't have to take my word for it (nod to Levar Burton :-D): many others have also listed this as a not-so-great representation of the great Arthur C Clarke's work. It took me a month to get through this book, partly because in between, I read another book and a graphic novel, partly to simply break the monotony of ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1948 and it reads pretty much undated in 2017.

I think I liked his later rewrite of this novel "The City and the Stars" a little bit better. (especially his detailed description of daily life in Diaspar that we don't encounter in this novel) But still well worth a read like everything else by Arthur C. Clarke.
Matt Sears
Jun 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, pulp
From my blog

'Destiny in his hands-
Alvin hesitated for a moment. None of his people had left the City for uncounted millions of years. "Diaspar has everything," they said. "Why should we go outside into the desert?" But Alvin knew the fear that underlay the seeming free preference—the records he had studied hinted at the dark truth.

We are safe as long as we stay in Diaspar, the records said. If we leave... the Invaders will come again from the wastes between the worlds. And
Phil Giunta
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Millions of years in the future, only two territories remain on Earth, separated by a vast desert that had once been an ocean. Diaspar, the city into which so many other major metropolises had been absorbed throughout the ages, is populated by a nearly immortal race of humans whose intellectual curiosity and ambition has stultified and been replaced by decadence and fear. For the citizens of Diaspar care not what lies beyond the city's walls. That is, all but Alvin, the first child born in Diasp ...more
Erik Clarke
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's a beautiful, poignant, almost desperately sad story of the human race, billions of years in the future, set against a fading galaxy in the last human city of Diaspar.

One of the things about Clarke's stories, or at least this one in particular, is the elegance of their future technology. Somehow, writing over 60 years ago, he can make it feel dishearteningly primitive to sit back down at a modern computer or mobile device. The technology in Against the Fall of Night is seamless and eternal-
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-copy
This book was one I had mixed feelings on. My dad handed this to me and told me it was one of his favorite books from his youth, that it was the book that opened his eyes to the thoughts of exploring the world outside earth. It was fairly well written, although due to it's novella status left a LOT to the imagination, and left a lot of plot pieces wide open to interpretation. That said, it was written in 1948, long before traditional sci-fi and long before ACTUAL space exploration. The kind of p ...more
Fantasy Literature
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Against the Fall of Night, by Arthur C. Clarke, originally appeared as a novella in 1948, in Startling Stories. Clarke expanded the story and published it as a novel with Gnome Press in 1953. Still later he wrote The City and the Stars which expands some of the themes posited in Against the Fall of Night.

Against the Fall of Night would be considered a novella by today’s standards; it’s probably about 40,000 words in length. Other aspects of the work contribute to a “novella” feel; the story is n
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I really can't tell you what makes this book work so well. It's simple, short, and doesn't delve deeply into any major theme. But it's elegant and somehow compelling. There are so many avenues Mr. Clarke could have traveled down in this story, but he chose not to. This book easily could have been three or four times the length and been an epic novel, but Mr. Clarke preferred to rein in the possibilities and leave the what-ifs to the readers' imagination. Within the story I noticed elements that ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a sentimental favorite of mine—the first real science fiction book I read as a child. It was the perfect mix of adventure and discovery to introduce a young reader to the world of Sci-fi. I can still remember Alvin exploring parts of the city that no one else had seemingly visited in ages. I'm almost afraid to go back and re-read it as an adult, though, because it's achieved this sort of mythical status in my memory, and so often things from childhood fail to live up to their billing whe ...more
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another great book by the late, great Clarke. I really enjoyed following along with Alvin on his incredible journey. I really identified with the character and felt the suspense of the story. I will say that the ending was not quite what I was expecting and a bit vague but still makes for a great book.
Ralph Carlson
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book as a teenager and it became one of my favorites. I don't know why but have never read it again until now when I am close to 71. It still holds up and is still a favorite. A classic.
Karen Allen
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've read both this and City and the Stars. I preferred this one, but enjoyed getting a picture for how an author could rewrite a book. (when I got married, we discovered that I had one and my husband had the other book!)

Schuyler Bishop
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet another fabulous Arthur C Clarke book. Absolutely loved it!
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of my early reads. It's panoramic view of history appeals to me, and I do so love a struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arthur-c-clarke
Read it. You won't be disappointed.
Zack Butcher
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great story very compelling from the start to the end. Nice quick 150 page sci fi story
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous story, not too long, engaging.
David Kerschner
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Most enjoyable Clarke I've read so far. Short, to the point, focusing on mainly big picture stuff which is what I think Clarke is best at.
May 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This old favorite from the pen of Saint Arthur stretched a vista of breathtaking chronology and distance before me. It impressed me with the vastness of time and the linkedness of past with future.
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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
“Of all the machines in this great cavern, it was the only one which had shown any cognizance of man, and its greeting seemed a little contemptuous. For on the screen appeared the words: STATE YOUR PROBLEM
PLEASE THINK CLEARLY Ignoring the implied insult, Alvin began his story.”
“Man sank into a superstitious barbarism during which he distorted history to remove his sense of impotence and failure” 0 likes
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