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The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

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  • AnnA
    This book is one of the very best Sci-Fi books I ve ever read. It ranks with Orson Scott Card s Enders Series, CW and CSL. Perhaps in many ways it s better
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 4, 2010
      This book is one of the very best Sci-Fi books I've ever read. It ranks with Orson Scott Card's Enders Series, CW and CSL. Perhaps in many ways it's better than Card's books.

      Clark's imagination takes us from the dawn of our Galaxy to its twilight and imagines possible futures beyond. It reads like a prophesy of new heavens and a new earth. Indeed Clarke writes from his home in Sri Lanka in his preface notes that there is a 'prophesy' on the very last page of the book, the truth of which no one living will ever know.

      The story is set billions of years in the future. I thought that Clarke did an admirable job creating technologies needed for his novel's future not in existence today and artfully skirting the details of what and how they work so that the story was not interrupted. Some futuristic novels are made just silly by the author's attempt at too much detail about time travel and the like. Some things that support life in The City could not be known by the characters- a fact entirely consonant with the story.

      Somewhat predictable for Clarke are predictions about the future disappearance of all cults and religions. He usues the word 'myth' as something untrue, a lie. Yet science comes not to be the sum and meaning of existence. There arises a person who is Unique and who questions things. Now this was what for me made the book great. Clarke doesn't fall to pat answers about the absolute supremacy of science but has us consider what it is to be human by contrasting life in the last two cities left on planet Earth. With the actuality of eternal life, free from all ills and cares and worries for the comforts of life, free from the will to adventure and exploration, emotion and passion, would Man be human? What should a new heaven and a new earth be like? Perhaps the beginning will be the meeting of the two cities, two very different ways of life, integrating the best of each into both.
      Perhaps it's all myth.
    • Robert Lubbers
      I didn t care at all for Ender s Game. I m not big on the IQ == Übermensch philosophy. So much more goes into being human than just raw processing power.
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 4, 2010

        I didn't care at all for Ender's Game.  I'm not big on the IQ == Übermensch philosophy.  So much more goes into being human than just raw processing power.  Compare how Madeleine L'Engle handles Charles Wallace in A Wrinkle In Time to Ender and his compatriots in Card's books.

        As for City And The Stars, I read this when I was 14 and it blew me away.  I recently re-read it as an adult and caught the coming-of-age story that it truly is.  Every adolescent/young adult must feel pretty much the same way as Alvin, and of course, our entire western culture passed through a phase somewhat like this in the 60s.  We didn't find Lys, though.

        For sheer mythic force, Childhood's End is superior to CATS, but I don't think it's as good a novel.  It's too didactic, kind of like the evolutionary humanist's response to Perelandra, which is about 1/3 a lecture on Christian dogma set in the most ravishing land/seascape possible.

         
      • Ann Ahnemann
        From: eldil@yahoogroups.com [mailto:eldil@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Robert Lubbers Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2010 3:02 PM To: eldil@yahoogroups.com
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 4, 2010

           

           

          From: eldil@yahoogroups.com [mailto:eldil@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Robert Lubbers
          Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2010 3:02 PM
          To: eldil@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [eldil] The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

           

           


          I didn't care at all for Ender's Game.  I'm not big on the IQ == Übermensch philosophy.  So much more goes into being human than just raw processing power.  Compare how Madeleine L'Engle handles Charles Wallace in A Wrinkle In Time to Ender and his compatriots in Card's books.

           

          As for City And The Stars, I read this when I was 14 and it blew me away.  I recently re-read it as an adult and caught the coming-of-age story that it truly is.  Every adolescent/young adult must feel pretty much the same way as Alvin, and of course, our entire western culture passed through a phase somewhat like this in the 60s.  We didn't find Lys, though.

           

          For sheer mythic force, Childhood's End is superior to CATS, but I don't think it's as good a novel.  It's too didactic, kind of like the evolutionary humanist's response to Perelandra, which is about 1/3 a lecture on Christian dogma set in the most ravishing land/seascape possible.

           

          I thought Ender's Game was a good intro book, great for youth.  I read all the Ender Series in my late 50s.

          Ender pretty much had renounced the Ubermensch thing in the last of the series.  IQ?  I would have thought AI.  Now, _that_ interests me.  It looks to me that is where the world is headed, and if we don't like it we'd better wake up and head it off.  But that's another discussion

          The so-called Christian parallels or hints in Card's works of course didn't annoy me in the least.  As similar in Tolkien works exist, though denied by some, don't bother.  In fact the theme informs the entire work. Same with Space Trilogy by CSL.  Card, btw, is Mormon- which is not a belief that I hold (should anyone care).  But I really dislike reading something of which I continually have to ask, What in heaven's name is the _point_? 

          AJA

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