Favourite Arthur C. Clarke

Quokka

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I was reading the Rama and Childhood End's threads and wanted to mention Fountains of Paradise so I thought I'd start a general thread for people's favourites. Having been a bit overloaded on fantasy I've started really looking into science fiction for the first time and these three are good examples of what I'm enjoying about the change.

Childhood's End - an absolute classic, works so well as a short novel.

Rendezvous with Rama
- I love alien artifact stories, still debating whether or not to read the series with so many mixed reviews.

Fountains of Paradise - I read this recently and really enjoyed it, I was impressed reading about the space elevator in Robinson's Mars Trilogy but Clarke beat him to it by about 30 years.

I haven't read any of the Odyssey series (or seen the movies) so that's probably next. Has anyone read Beyond the Fall of Night? I've enjoyed what I've read of Bedford as well but collaborations have a habit of not working.

So what else do people recommend :)
 

j d worthington

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Well... though it's fairly early Clarke, I'd still recommend reading an omnibus volume titled Prelude to Mars, which includes the novels Prelude to Space and The Sands of Mars, as well as a selection of 16 of his short stories; as well as some of his story collections, perhaps The Sentinel or Expedition to Earth, or perhaps The Wind from the Sun....

WorldCat: Prelude to Mars; an omnibus containing the complete novels Prelude to space and The sands of Mars and sixteen short stories

Expedition to Earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Amazon.com: The Sentinel: Books: Arthur C. Clarke

The Wind from the Sun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

tarifa

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love Clarke, he's long been a favourite but have to say that for me Tiger Tiger burns quite bright :eek:.

A very short story (from Tales of Planet Earth, i think) but one i read years ago and stayed with me
 

Tielhard

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I have enjoyed most of the Clark I have read; Rama is an old friend, Imperial Earth I remember fondly and Fountains introduced me, as so many others to the beanstalk concept. Of his short stories; the Sentinel is potent and I think 'the nine billion names of God' one of the best short stories of any genre, well up there with 'The monkey's paw' or 'The selfish giant'.

However, it is for two novels 'Childhood's end' and 'The city and the stars' that Clark will be remembered long after he has passed away. They are both written in a simple, almost naive way. Characterisation is awful in the cases where it is more than minimal. And yet, and yet ... both of these books sing to the human spirit. Yes they are both packed full of ideas like many other Clark offering but thier true values is in thier humanity and spirit.
 

eanbardsley

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Though I haven't read anything of his outside the Odyssey series, I saw the movie Night Fall, the one with David Caradine, and just loved it. I think the entire Odyssey series is fantastic, and just love the conclusion 3001, where we learn the monolith is a computer put on earth to monitor humanity. Upon David Bowman and Hal being absorbed by the Monolith and warning humanity that it may destroy earth because of their bad development, and they decide to destroy the computer before it destroys them, by giving Bowman a computer virus to make it go haywire, was real nice touch, and really mind blowing to me was also they gave Bowman a computer disc to download themselves onto after the monolith was destroyed was really an incredible idea. In essence it says to me that computers can make us immortal, very much inline with Clarke's belief that a sufficiently developed technology would be indistinguishable from magic.
 

AE35Unit

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Well i started out on SF when I found an old copy of 2001 for sale in the library. Took it home and read it. Then bought the movie so this is my altime fave.
But there are many others to choose from and even if you haven't read the odyssey books yet 3001 is a brilliant book! And Rama is just class!(the movie is still in pre-production,Morgan Freeman is awaiting a good script)
 

clovis-man

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I concur, The Sentinel is a great collection. The City and the Stars is probably my fave Arthur C novel.
The City and the Stars is one of the few that I will re-read once in a while. I also like the earlier novel upon which it was based, Against the Fall of Night.

Jim
 

Abyssimal

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Childhoods End - VERY cool concept, but the ending made me mourn the end of humanity as we knew it. Imagine the reaction of coming home only to find no one was there.

City and the Stars - balsy of Clarke to write about a million years in the future - a real departure from his "provable" novels.

The Rama Series - I love discovery-type sf.
 

AE35Unit

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I enjoyed City and the Stars/Against the Fall of Night but could not get my head round Benford's sequel. Didn't understand a word of it and I've read all of Benford's brilliant sequence including Great Sky River(the first Benford book I read)
 

clovis-man

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I enjoyed City and the Stars/Against the Fall of Night but could not get my head round Benford's sequel. Didn't understand a word of it and I've read all of Benford's brilliant sequence including Great Sky River(the first Benford book I read)
I agree 100%. He just took off on a tangent. Didn't provide any real homage to the ideas of the original. Turned it into a (not very good) space opera. Perhaps it's unfair of me, but I avoid reading any of Benford's stuff now as a result.

Jim
 

J-Sun

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Some general comments on the thread:

Though I haven't read anything of his outside the Odyssey series, I saw the movie Night Fall, the one with David Caradine, and just loved it.
I haven't seen the movie (the only Nightfall I've seen was the 1988 version and I wish I hadn't) but "Nightfall" is a classic Asimov story and it seems your 2000 version is also based on it.

I enjoyed City and the Stars/Against the Fall of Night but could not get my head round Benford's sequel. Didn't understand a word of it and I've read all of Benford's brilliant sequence including Great Sky River(the first Benford book I read)
I agree 100%. He just took off on a tangent. Didn't provide any real homage to the ideas of the original. Turned it into a (not very good) space opera. Perhaps it's unfair of me, but I avoid reading any of Benford's stuff now as a result.
I didn't like it either. However, that's not the sole reason I avoid him - I've read Timescape and most or all of the Galactic Center books and a collection and maybe more and I finally gave up because none of it really did anything for me. He's not talentless and he tends to write about really nifty SF but he has a kind of molasses effect - the stories just come off thick and sticky and slow and boring, to me.

Well... though it's fairly early Clarke, I'd still recommend reading an omnibus volume titled Prelude to Mars, which includes the novels Prelude to Space and The Sands of Mars, as well as a selection of 16 of his short stories; as well as some of his story collections, perhaps The Sentinel or Expedition to Earth, or perhaps The Wind from the Sun....
My favorite early Clarke (aside from Childhood's End, which somehow doesn't seem like an early work), is probably Earthlight. There's actually a bona fide exciting battle. Kind of atypical. And we can do even better for stories with The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke. They somehow missed a couple of minor stories, but it's still a bugcrusher of Clarke's short works.

Specifically on topic, my favorite of all Clarke books so far (after all these years I still haven't managed to read them all) is, like most people's, probably either Childhood's End or Rendezvous with Rama, with an honorable mention to The Fountains of Paradise. The last is fairly slow, but extremely well done and does have the nifty space elevator concept. (Incidentally, Charles Sheffield published The Web Between the Worlds at the same time. That book also featured a space elevator and the paperback came with a preface explaining that neither had stolen the idea from the other but were using common non-fiction sources, IIRC.) Rendezvous is the classic Big Dumb Object story, which is actually pretty hard to do well, IMO, as famous classics like Ringworld underwhelm me. Childhood's End may not hold up as well as I remember it but was pretty impressive and economical.

So CE if it holds up and probably RwR otherwise.
 

manephelien

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I like all the Clarke novels I've read.

A Fall of Moondust is probably my favorite Clarke novel. It has a really claustrophobic feel to it, and I'd really love to see it made into a movie.

The Odyssey series is, IMO, his best multi-book series. Probably because he wrote it all himself.

Childhood's End is an interesting concept, and quite frightening in an understated way. Not an easily forgotten book.

I also like The Deep Range a lot. It doesn't always have to be in space.

Rendez-vous with Rama is a great book, unfortunately the same can't be said about the sequels. The language in those may be more contemporary and realistic, but it gives the books a very un-Clarke feel. In general, I'm not too fond of his collaborations with other authors, although The Trigger with Michael P. Kube-McDowell is an exception. The finale stays with you for a long, long time.
 

AE35Unit

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Anyone read Richter 10? Its a collaboration with Mike McQuay and tho I've had it on my shelf a long time I've yet to try it.
And no mention of Hammer of God which is about a giant meteor named Kali by the scientists, on its way to Earth. In it Clarke writes in the afterword One day we will meet Kali!
 

J-Sun

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J-Sun(Jason?)
You got it. :)

The Odyssey series is, IMO, his best multi-book series. Probably because he wrote it all himself.
I tend to be pretty suspicious of collaborations. When writers are a team like Pohl and Kornbluth were, that's a nifty thing. When they actually work together on occasion, like Sterling and Rucker seem to, that can be neat. But most "collaborations" these days are basically marketing exercises in which the lesser name does the bulk (or all) of the work (poorly) and harms the greater name's reputation, though the design is (after selling books any way possible) to make the lesser name more famous by association. I have this so strongly set in my head that when you said the above, I initially thought, "Well, it's his only series," before I recalled the Rama extensions.

I'm not sure what to make of it when even when the lesser name is great, though. For instance, Pohl and Clarke published a "collaboration" in which Clarke oversaw Pohl writing the book, in essence, with only some almost editorial input. And there are the Baxters with Clarke's name - Baxter is relatively new, but it's not like he's a subpar writer or needs help getting known. I would hope Pohl and Baxter did fine jobs. However, the Silverberg inflations of Asimov stories, for instance, did not reflect well on either of them, IMO, so you never know.
 

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