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The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke
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The Last Theorem (edition 2008)

by Arthur C. Clarke (Author)

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5282129,150 (3.22)12
Member:jim.antares
Title:The Last Theorem
Authors:Arthur C. Clarke (Author)
Info:Del Rey (2008), 320 pages
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The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke

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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Ugh, what a stinker. I think I could have forgiven it many of it's terrible faults if only it had been well-written. It read like a not very talented high school student wrote it. The plot was far-fetched at the best of times, it veered wildly about and really stopped making any sense about halfway through. I pushed through the end because it was a bookclub book but I'm sure I would have given up under any other circumstances. Yuck.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2018 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2710337.html

I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this, Clarke's last book and Pohl's second last novel, both aged around 90 when it came out - particularly after bouncing off the recent John Le Carré. But in fact it is comforting home ground for Clarke fans, with perhaps a little hint of Pohl here and there. There are hat-tips to The Fountains of Paradise, Imperial Earth and Childhood's End; there is lots of deep love for a peacefully multiethnic Sri Lanka; there's a new solution to Fermat's Last Theorem (Pohl was fascinated by number theory); and there is an informal world government which is then held to account by tough-but-fair aliens and endangered by subversion from American securocrats who like indulging in extraordinary rendition. The writing is lucid and permeated with a love of humanity and of diversity.

There are a couple of major flaws. The biggest is that in a novel set apparently towards the end of the last decade, nobody has a mobile phone. Knowing what we do about Sri Lanka, some of the political scenery seems a little too idyllic. World conflicts apparently never involve the superpowers but only local actors. The end of the book loses focus as plot lines get resolved and new ideas briefly introduced. But I find all of this forgiveable in the last expression of Clarke's utopian vision of the future, assisted by Pohl. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Dec 11, 2016 |
I'm not going to review this, but I will say that other than a lame ending, I found it entertaining. It has several funny bits and some light commentary on humanity. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
Fascinating novel, written by two science fiction masters. It started off slow, but the ideas and well constructed characters made this a very enjoyable and thoughtful reading experience. I recommend this novel for those who enjoy hard science fiction with a solid, very human story line. ( )
  JohnPurcell | May 20, 2016 |
For me, this was slow, and written like an old white man trying to sound global. No real resolution, just a variation on, 'and after that, a lot of things happened...'. I preferred ACC's work with Stephen Baxter in 'The Light of Other Days'.
  noelhx | Mar 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
This is a genuine Frederik Pohl and Arthur C. Clarke novel. It's a worthy addition to both men's works. And, best of all, it's a chance to sit down one more time with a pair of old, old friends and find them just as sharp, witty, and wise as they ever have been.
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arthur C. Clarkeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pohl, Frederikmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cosgrove, LizDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The incidents at Pearl harbor lay in the future and the United States was still at peace when a British warship steamed into Nantucket with what was later called "the most valuable cargo ever to reach American shores." (The first preamble)
There are two things in my life that I think have a bearing on the subject matter of this book, so perhaps this would be a good time to set them down. (The second preamble)
In the spring of the year 1946, in a (previously) unspoiled South Pacific atoll named Bikini, the American navy put together a fleet of ninety-odd vessels. (The third preamble)
And so now, at last, we meet this Ranjit Subramanian, the one whose long and remarkable life this book is all about.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345470214, Hardcover)

Two of science fiction’s most renowned writers join forces for a storytelling sensation. The historic collaboration between Frederik Pohl and his fellow founding father of the genre, Arthur C. Clarke, is both a momentous literary event and a fittingly grand farewell from the late, great visionary author of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Last Theorem is a story of one man’s mathematical obsession, and a celebration of the human spirit and the scientific method. It is also a gripping intellectual thriller in which humanity, facing extermination from all-but-omnipotent aliens, the Grand Galactics, must overcome differences of politics and religion and come together . . . or perish.

In 1637, the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat scrawled a note in the margin of a book about an enigmatic theorem: “I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.” He also neglected to record his proof elsewhere. Thus began a search for the Holy Grail of mathematics–a search that didn’t end until 1994, when Andrew Wiles published a 150-page proof. But the proof was burdensome, overlong, and utilized mathematical techniques undreamed of in Fermat’s time, and so it left many critics unsatisfied–including young Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan with a special gift for mathematics and a passion for the famous “Last Theorem.”

When Ranjit writes a three-page proof of the theorem that relies exclusively on knowledge available to Fermat, his achievement is hailed as a work of genius, bringing him fame and fortune. But it also brings him to the attention of the National Security Agency and a shadowy United Nations outfit called Pax per Fidem, or Peace Through Transparency, whose secretive workings belie its name. Suddenly Ranjit–together with his wife, Myra de Soyza, an expert in artificial intelligence, and their burgeoning family–finds himself swept up in world-shaking events, his genius for abstract mathematical thought put to uses that are both concrete and potentially deadly.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone on Earth, an alien fleet is approaching the planet at a significant percentage of the speed of light. Their mission: to exterminate the dangerous species of primates known as homo sapiens.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:00 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan with a special gift for mathematics, writes a three-page proof of Pierre de Fermat's last theorem, his achievement is hailed as a work of genius, bringing him fame and fortune. But it also brings him to the attention of the National Security Agency and a shadowy United Nations outfit called Pax per Fidem, or Peace Through Transparency, whose secretive workings belie its name. Suddenly Ranjit--together with his wife, Myra de Soyza, an expert in artificial intelligence, and their burgeoning family--finds himself swept up in world-shaking events, his genius for abstract mathematical thought put to uses that are both concrete and potentially deadly. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone on Earth, an alien fleet is approaching the planet at a significant percentage of the speed of light. Their mission: to exterminate the dangerous species of primates known as homo sapiens.--From publisher description.… (more)

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