The City and The Stars is a science fiction novel by Arthur C Clarke.
This little story has a rather nice premise: After decades of exploring space and it's many wonders, The Intruders force Humanity to retreat into an enclosed city on Earth that is totally self-sufficient. Humans have lived in this city for millions of years. They aren't born as such, but they are regenerated from the memorybanks of the city and live for eternities. They are reborn every couple of hundred centuries and no new human has been 'born' for millions of years. But then an anomaly occours: a new human is 'born'. Alvin is totally unique and has never lived before. He doesn't share the other inhabitant's fear of the world outside the city and starts to search for ways to explore it...
This book is an extended version of Clarke's earlier short story Against the Fall of night. It's a nice little tale about a unique boy who wants to explore his world and beyond, despite the fear and disbelief of his fellow humans. The discoveries he makes are world-shattering and nothing will ever be the same again.
Clarke has alway been good in creating alien worlds. The city of Diasper is totally alien in it's technology and society. But it seems logical that people that live their lives in that city are happy and never have to fear anything. I found the discoveries Alvin makes outside of Diasper and inside very compelling, and the true nature of The Intruders is disturbing and fascinating. A good, solid hard-sf story, with a bit of adventure thrown in. If you like clarke's work, especially tales such as the original Rendezvous With Rama, then this will no doubt please you as well. Fans of good hard-sf idea-stories will find some of the ideas in this book very compelling also! The original story has a sequal called Beyond the Fall of night, wich Clarke wrote together with fellow-hard-sf writer Gregory Benford. Note that that book is NOT a sequal as sich to this extended novel, but to the original short story...
Written on Tuesday 24th February 2004 by TC.
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