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The City and the Stars (1953)

de Arthur C. Clarke

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2,682544,348 (3.94)1 / 94
This grand space adventure explores the fate of humanity a billion years in the future-- A visionary classic by one of science fiction's greatest minds.   Far in the future, Earth's oceans have evaporated and humanity has all but vanished. The inhabitants of Diaspar believe their domed city is all that remains of an empire that had once conquered the stars. Inside the dome, the citizens live in technological splendor, free from the distractions of aging and disease. Everything is controlled precisely, just as the city's designers had intended.   But a boy named Alvin, unlike his fellow humans, shows an insatiable--and dangerous--curiosity about the world outside the dome. His questions will send him on a quest to discover the truth about the city and humanity's history--as well as its future.   A masterful and awe-inspiring work of imagination, The City and the Stars is considered one of Arthur C. Clarke's finest novels.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 54 (següent | mostra-les totes)
3.5 stars, 7/10. I have not read a lot of the oldest classic sci-fi from the middle of the century, and very little of Asimov himself. I picked this up on a whim from a free little library. It was formulaic, but in a charming and original way that has aged well; I saw how Asimov could be so influential. It's also a relic of its time, being concerned mostly with ideas rather than character, so don't expect many meaningful relationships or well-drawn women. Mostly I found a lot of fun in its grand scope, full of imaginative ideas surrounding traditional themes of human curiosity and fear. I was also impressed by Clarke's ability to keep me hooked even though much of the book feels like plodding exposition with relatively little action. The second half was a bit disappointing -- I expected it to take off with more meaningful action as Alvin headed into the stars, but instead it was just little pulp vignettes that Clarke rushed through to get back to his grand vision of Earth. Most of all I was struck by the constant tone of hope and excitement, even as the truth of the story became a bit dark and depressing. I feel this sense of hope and wonder is less common in today's speculative and science fiction, so it was very refreshing. ( )
  invisiblecityzen | Mar 13, 2022 |
This book is profound, and I am not sure Arthur C Clarke intended to write a deep novel. It is possible he just intended to write a good yarn, and he achieved this aim.

Yet, if he had stopped there, maybe the book would not be great. Maybe, the book would just be good or very good. However, there are some interesting questions that keep cropping up when we read the book. One, for instance, is the question of where humanity is heading. With social media and the metaverse impinging on our consciousness, will we live in virtual worlds, and forget humanity?

Will we run from the fear of the unknown, or disease, to the point where we cut ourselves off from the universe and live in bubbles?

With science advancing the way it is, will we achieve some kind of bland immortality?

Will we lose touch with ourselves?

Read the book, pause and think. It may raise similar questions in your mind as well. ( )
  RajivC | Feb 8, 2022 |
September 21, 2015
I'm having a rough time finding a good read (listen), with this, my second failed book in the same day. Unlike my problems with trying to get through the prose of [b:Heart of Darkness|4900|Heart of Darkness|Joseph Conrad|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1392799983s/4900.jpg|2877220], this one failed for me entirely with the audiobook production. There's no obvious indication in the Audible write-up that this is a big-cast (seriously, like 12 actors named) dramatization, complete with background score and sound effects. I hate dramatizations, especially with multiple narrators, and so I gave up on this after just one listening session. Unfortunately, it's the only version offered on Audible, so I'll pick this one up again when I'm past my Whispersynce infatuation.
  KrakenTamer | Oct 23, 2021 |
Clarke wrote (or rewrote) “The City and the Stars” in 1955 and it was published in 1956. Interestingly, it’s a complete rewrite of his first novel, “Against the Fall of Night” which was rejected by John W. Campbell, Jr., editor of Astounding Science-Fiction. I have mixed feelings about this book, but overall, it was a wonderful read.

Let’s start with the positives. When I said it’s a wonderful read, I mean that literally, it’s full of wonder. The hallmark of the Golden Age of science fiction is the focus on the prediction of an imaginative future and that’s what make this book an important work of that age. The book begins with some sort of fully immersive video game. When the game ends, we find we are in a city a billion years in the future. The city is fully automated, matter can be materialized by thoughts. Humans are no longer born but are resurrected over and over again. People want of nothing and spend their time creating art, socializing, and exploring philosophy and scientific problems that will likely never be solved.

I think Clarke may have riffed on Huxley’s “Brave New World,” although the themes are quite different. What Clarke does well in this story is in creating questions in the reader. Yes, there is a continuous onslaught of future ideas and creations, but what really drives the story is the questions. Why is our main character, Alvin, the first to be born in over a million years? What’s beyond the city walls? Why did mankind abandon the star? What’s the purpose of this never-ending city named Diaspar? The combination of wonder and the intrigue that Clarke creates is masterful. I say this because the book has some significant shortfalls.

To begin with, the conflict is tame in this story. I never really felt concern for the characters. Alvin does embark on an interesting quest, but he is arrogant and often protected in his journey. In fact, I didn’t really like him for much of the story. I suppose part of Alvin’s issues were in place to show growth in the character, but in the end his brashness is rewarded, and he never really pays a price for his flaws. The biggest issue I had with the book, is that the ending is an ancient story. We don’t get to experience the climax. It’s relayed to us as historical record which held no excitement or emotional appeal for me. Based on these items, you think it’s a disappointing book, but back to my earlier point, there is so much wonder and intrigue that I found it an excellent read. In my opinion, it’s not Clarke’s best, but it’s an intriguing tale, especially considering it being a rewrite of his debut.

An inventive story of a city one billion years in the future, and one man’s quest to understand the past and future of humanity. ( )
  Kevin_A_Kuhn | Aug 23, 2021 |
I enjoyed the story a great deal, and found it refreshing that this story from the 1950's saw that both genders would be viewed as equal one day... though this seemed to be more of a concept that an actuality in this story.

A lot of the concepts were far fetched and scientifically impossible so far as current science would advise us, and from the brief research that I did (thanks google!) would have already been considered I'm possible by the time it was written. I won't go into detail as it would inevitably lead to spoilers, but take all the 'science' in the book with a pinch of salt and whimsy. It is, after all, science fiction, so it might as well make the most of the fiction part. ( )
  TCLinrow | Mar 17, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 54 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Het onderwerp van deze roman is de menselijke beschaving na een miljard jaar. Deze is dan geconcentreerd in een stad, Diaspar, waar de inwoners leven in een nimmer eindigende illusie, en in een Arcadische samenleving, Lyz, waar de mensen langs telepatische weg met elkander communiceren. Beide beschavingen zijn de eindfase van een periode, waarin de mens de sterrenwerelden verkende maar uit dit universum werd verdreven door de Indringers. In Diaspar wordt een unieke mens geboren, die de stad verlaat, de illusie doorziet en erin slaagt beide beschavingen met elkaar in contact te brengen. Dit belooft het begin te worden van een nieuwe opbloei van de menselijke samenleving. De roman is erg boeiend. Een enkele maal is de vertaling niet korrekt.
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» Afegeix-hi altres autors (20 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Clarke, Arthur C.autor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Giancola, DonatoAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hartmann, ErichBack Cover Photographerautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Moore, ChrisAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Powers, Richard M.Autor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Salter, GeorgeDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Like a glowing jewel, the city lay upon the breast of the desert.
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The first version of this work appeared in the November 1948 issue of Startling Stories, and was later published in book form as Against the Fall of Night 

It was later rewritten and issued under the title The City and the Stars.  
Gregory Benford later wrote a sequel to Against the Fall of Night with Clarke's approval: Beyond the Fall of Night, but it does not correlate with The City and the Stars.

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Wikipedia en anglès (2)

This grand space adventure explores the fate of humanity a billion years in the future-- A visionary classic by one of science fiction's greatest minds.   Far in the future, Earth's oceans have evaporated and humanity has all but vanished. The inhabitants of Diaspar believe their domed city is all that remains of an empire that had once conquered the stars. Inside the dome, the citizens live in technological splendor, free from the distractions of aging and disease. Everything is controlled precisely, just as the city's designers had intended.   But a boy named Alvin, unlike his fellow humans, shows an insatiable--and dangerous--curiosity about the world outside the dome. His questions will send him on a quest to discover the truth about the city and humanity's history--as well as its future.   A masterful and awe-inspiring work of imagination, The City and the Stars is considered one of Arthur C. Clarke's finest novels.

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