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Against the Fall of Night (Arthur C. Clarke Collection: Vanamonde) [Kindle Edition]

Arthur C. Clarke
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


Arthur C. Clarke is awesomely informed about physics and astronomy, and blessed with one of the most astounding imaginations ever encountered in print NEW YORK TIMES For many readers Arthur C. Clarke is the very personification of science fiction THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION Arthur C. Clarke is one of the truly prophetic figures of the space age ... The colossus of science fiction NEW YORKER

About the Author

Arthur C. Clarke is the world's best known and bestselling author of science fiction, winner of many awards and accolades for his writing.

Product Details

  • File Size: 398 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (November 30, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,858 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
By Virgil
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the precursor to the Clarke novel "City and the Stars". I originally read this while still in elementary school and it was the first sci-fi I had ever read. No other has ever topped it.
Clarke forms a world in the very distant future whose inhabitants live for hundreds of years on a ravaged planet earth in the oasis of the city. The city is an incredibly advanced utopia but an island of machines and somewhat bored inhabitants.
The main protaganist is the youngest member of the community who ventures out into a voyage of discovery and onto another community which has also survived the ravages of time. The reuniting of the two tribes of mankind each a distinct culture at opposite ends of the spectrum is problem and goal of "Against the Fall of Night".
This is science fiction storytelling at its best. A great story and a must have for all fans of the genre.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece preceding The City and The Stars January 5, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Arthur C. Clarke's masterpiece The City and The Stars (which I'm glad to note is back in print, which is loooooong overdue), is, in fact, an extended version of this early Clarke masterpiece. The City and The Stars is widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written, and with good reason. And, although I would agree with Clarke in saying that the later novel is the better of the two, this is a certifiable masterpiece in itself. Most all science fiction is, inevitably, set in the future, but this book is set in the far, far, far future. The world Clarke posits is a logical one, and is great as both a story and a warning. Far from being a dystopia, the city of Diaspar in the book is the genuinely archetypal Utopia. It is into this stagnant, decadent setting that Clarke creates one of his grandest visions. This book is sweeping in its vision and its prose. Clarke has always had a deft poetic touch, and this story contains some of his most beautiful outpourings of words. An absolutely essential read for any science fiction fan, as is the novel that it bequeathed.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Technically Clarke's first novel? May 8, 2007
As I understand it, Clarke started plotting this novel out early in WW2 before he volunteered for the RAF. This would then technically make it his earliest novel- even though it didn't get published until 1953 by the legendary Gnome Press (first of the dedicated science fiction publishing houses.)

Clarke would later feel compelled to extensively rewrite this novel and release it under a different title (The City and the Stars.) Personally I prefer this version. The Technology is set over a ten billion years into the future so a mere 50 years or so since it was first published doesn't really "date" it.

This book doesn't share the high degree of hard science fiction detail that you find in most of his books. The technology is so advanced (machines never break down and read your mind to know what you want of them)that it seems more like magic. In fact, there is a statement that there are no more engineers in the world of the future since once the master robots started building themselves- and everything else- they were no longer needed and engineers faded away. I can identify with that, why work a thankless, unappreciated, arduous pursuit like engineering if the machines can do it better?

The cosmic sweep of this novel over vast intervals of time and the entire universe reads more like an Olaf Stapledon novel (a British science fiction author that died in 1950 and whose works Clarke was no doubt familiar with.)

If you like old-fashion space operas about the lost glories of the galactic Empire this book still weaves that classic atmosphere.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Title November 4, 2007
Begun in 1937, Clarke finally finished it in 1946, his very first novel. I love sci-fi, and this didn't disappoint. Rousing good story from start to finish. Short, only 159 pages. At least, my copy. But hard to put down. I loved the way Clarke, who wrote this so many years ago, would use things of his time, and then extrapolate them to the future, as in the London Tube System - I think. For a book written over 50 years ago, it is still purely science fiction. It's only flaw is that Earth could not possible support life for the length of time he assumes - hundreds of millions of centuries. I also appreciate the way he subtly debunks religion as myths stemming from misinterpreted facts. Descriptions are easy to picture.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true Science Fiction classic... February 21, 2013
By Kpar
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first read this book when I was 7 years old (my Mom had left it lying around). You may think it's a little advanced for a 7-year old, and I would agree, but I was a good reader and it hooked me on Sci-Fi for the rest of my life.

Clarke rewrote this story many years later as "The City and the Stars", but I don't think it was as good as the original- more up-to-date, and more "scientific", perhaps, but this was a better yarn...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book from My Youth February 7, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book first when I was probably 15, 45 years ago, and it became a book with a story that has haunted me my whole life. It has always seemed a masterpiece of science fiction and, with City and the Stars - a richer novel than Against the Fall of Night, but the title less so! - one of Clarke's finest works. I found its depiction of a human culture set billions of years in the future so alien to our own to be engrossing because the characterizations and mysteries as absorbing as they are strange. There are no real villains in the piece, and their world was one in which I wanted to live. I also identified strongly with the protagonist, who seeks to discover the secrets of his culture's lost past. The City of the novel, Diaspar, is as also a character in the story. I would recommend this novel very highly, especially to young readers. However, I must say that The City and the Stars, which is a later re-conception of Against the Fall of Night, is a much richer expansion of Against the Fall of Night, and it is the City and the Stars that has stayed with me for so many years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A intriquing book Clarke started back in 1936!
NOTE: This review contains spoilers for Against The Fall of Night and The City And The Stars.

I first read Against The Fall of Night many years ago and truly enjoyed... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Korey
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic.
One of the first S-F novels I ever read and still a favorite. And then to make it interesting, I read The City and the Stars. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth your time
An early work by the master it definitively worth reading. You will find no problem with this world Clarke's at all.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical solid Clarke sci-fi.
Enjoyable read. Easy to pick up. Entertaining and like most good books ended before I was done reading it .
Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
This classic had beautiful writing and wonderful concepts. All was within reach for even those very new to science fiction.
Published 4 months ago by SEAN O'DONOGHUE
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Clarke's better works
I cannot give this the praise that some reviewers have. I liked Clarke more when I was younger, and less aware of his limitations. Read more
Published 4 months ago by SLB
4.0 out of 5 stars What will we (humans) be doing in a billion years (or so)
When Arthur C. Clarke published this SciFi tale (serially in 1948, as a book in 1953), he set it a billion years in the future. Read more
Published 5 months ago by William C. Mead
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable - easy read
As a writer, I enjoy Arthur C. Clarke, and this was no exception. I do not believe it is his best, but the story moves along at a good pace, the characters seem fully developed,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars but the later book is better.
This is the book that was substantially rewritten to become "The City and the Stars". It's an interesting read for Clarke fans, but the later book is much better.
Published 6 months ago by Joel
5.0 out of 5 stars best of Clarke
This is one of his best and should appeal to anyone who dreams beyond the walls of his world, no matter what age. Read more
Published 7 months ago by A. Kellerhouse
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More About the Author

"SIR ARTHUR C. CLARKE (1917-2008) wrote the novel and co-authored the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey. He has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and he is the only science-fiction writer to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. His fiction and nonfiction have sold more than one hundred million copies in print worldwide.

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