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Against the fall of night by Arthur C.…
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Against the fall of night

by Arthur C. Clarke

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» See also 31 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
It's so difficult to review a book like this. I read it when I was ... goodness, eleven years old or so? As I recall I got it via the old Scholastic Book Service at my school, but that memory could be a fragment. Of course I LOVED it then ...! I loved anything with the name "Arthur C. Clarke" on it, because of 2001 ... well, with the possible exception of "Tales from the 'White Hart'" which I thought was silly.

This novel was later revised into _The City and the Stars_. I read both, loved both, but I'd really need to re-read them, perhaps side by side, to provide a new zoo review ... (I intend to do so - please don't flag this as 'not a review'!). ( )
  tungsten_peerts | Jun 1, 2017 |
I like science fiction, but in general Arthur C Clark is not the best author. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
I liked this book - I really liked the ideas it brought to the table. Apparently it was rewritten and expanded, and I should probably read that, too, because Against the Fall of Night seemed to end far, far too soon.

A glimpse of society 1.5 billion years into the future is incredible - but I felt the action and reveals were poorly paced. All of the most interesting developments are left up to the very end, and then quickly summarized. We learn about Vanamonde and the Black Sun and the escape of the Empire beyond the universe and then whoops! Book's over, people. Go home. Nothing to see here.

Try as I might, I can't forgive this. It makes me want to break things. I'm similarly peeved as when I was when Lost ended. All this interesting stuff, mythological references and time travel and ancient gods - all reduced down to a basic good & evil battle and then they were all dead, sort of? Except some fan favorite characters aren't in the afterlife and WHAT THE FUCK.

Against the Fall of Night wasn't grappling with more than it could handle. It didn't have millions of viewers hanging on its every page. Mr. Clarke could have had all the time he needed to give it a satisfying conclusion, but no.

Well, fine. But I'm not going to be happy about it. ( )
  zhyatt | Aug 12, 2014 |
Against the Fall of Night is full of interesting ideas about humanity billions of years in the future, but it suffers from being more interested in ideas than its main character, Alvin. Alvin himself is eventually abandoned in favor of hurrying through some huge events that lead up to revelations about humanity's history. At that point, the book feels more like an outline or some pages from a world-building bible than a complete story. ( )
  lithicbee | Jan 15, 2014 |
3 – 3.5 stars

Hundreds of thousands of years ago (millions of years after our own benighted age) the Earth suffered a tragic loss in battle with beings known only as "the Invaders" and the apparently last remnant of humanity sits behind the majestic walls of the final human city: Diaspar. Here they while away their immortal days, a society of lotus eaters tended by the greatest machines ever conceived by humankind, living in pleasure, but also fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the wasteland outside their walls, fear of the future. From time to time there has arisen among them a mind not founded on this culture of fear and indifference, but rather one prone to curiosity, courage and insight. Such a mind belongs to Alvin of Loronei, the last child to be born in the city of immortals, and a young man who thirsts for knowledge and adventure.

Clarke crafts an exciting, and lyrically written, dying earth story in which young Alvin must overcome the obstacles of his own people and face even greater challenges in the wider world. Ultimately the fate of humanity and its future (should it have one) will rest on his decisions. I don’t want to give too much away and spoil the story, for much of the enjoyment comes from learning the truths, and falsehoods, of Alvin’s world through his own investigations. Suffice it to say that there is much humanity of the final eras has to learn about itself and its history and Alvin’s actions are likely to spell either a great new era in their development, or the final sputtering out of their dying life force.

I have never read anything by Arthur C. Clarke, but didn’t expect this. My impression was that he was a much more ‘hard sf’ kind of writer, more interested in true science and plausible extrapolations of it, but here we have a lyrically written fable of humanity’s far-future days of decline. True, elements of science (or super-science) are important to the story, but they don’t outweigh the emotional elements of the tale, which are really what carry it forward. There is also a significant smattering of pseudo-science elements that I found interesting. I enjoyed the story, but sometimes Alvin seemed a little too competent (perhaps a smattering of the John Cambellesque hero here?) and I’m not sure if I ever believed he wouldn’t overcome the obstacles placed before him, but the future history Clarke has painted for mankind is an interesting one and this is definitely a worthy entry into one of my favourite sub-genres of sci-fi.
( )
  dulac3 | Apr 2, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arthur C. Clarkeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Not once in a generation did the voice of the city change as it was changing now.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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First appeared in the November 1948 issue of Startling Stories.

Gregory Benford later wrote a sequel with Clarke's approval: Beyond the Fall of Night

Against the Fall of Night was later rewritten and issued under the title The City and the Stars.  The Benford novel does not agree with this newer version.
Please do not combine different versions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 042505974X, Paperback)

Arthur C.Clarke's early novel "Against the Fall of the Night", set far in the future, and a sequel by Gregory Benford. Alvin, the only child for many centuries born in what is believed to be the only city left on Earth, leads a renaissance. Man is reclaiming the Earth, but evil has also returned.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:29 -0400)

Living in the 10-billion-year-old city of Diaspar, Alvin is the last child born of humanity. He is intensely curious about the outside world. According to the oldest histories kept by the city fathers, however, there is no outside world-it was destroyed by the Invaders millions of years ago. One day, Alvin finds a rock with an inscription seemingly meant for him: "There is a better way. Give my greetings to the Keeper of the Records. Alaine of Lyndar." This cryptic message takes Alvin on a quest to discover humanity's true past-and its future. Originally published in the November 1948 issue of Startling Stories, Against the Fall of Night is a rich and intensely poetic vision of a distant future that's sure to delight fans of Clarke and science fiction as a genre.… (more)

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