Review of The City and the Stars (1956)


Arthur C. Clarke (writer).

Read in 2017.

A transitional fossil, much better written than the more uniform apocalypse of The Night Land (1912), the sketch of Tsath as a decadent city of immortals in “The Mound” (1930), or the large-scale moral fantasy of Gray Lensman (1939), but sterile in its excessive scope, flat protagonist and straightforward plot resolving each cosmic mystery. The ecology of the future Earth is too shallow, as in Last and First Men (1930). The scene of a Lovecraftian apocalypse is only there to trick a robot, and the ultimate answers, though they anticipate the idea of a black hole, are not actually interesting.

References here: The Sands of Mars (1951), Dune (1965).

text fiction