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The Ghost from the Grand Banks Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (December 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553293877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553293876
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.2 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,066,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Setting his novel in the near future, close to the centennial of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic , SF luminary Clarke ( Childhood's End ) spins an initially ingenious scenario that only partially fulfills its potential. Two mammoth corporations strike a deal to raise the long-submerged luxury ocean liner. Parkinson's of London wants to recover a set of priceless Andrea Bellini glassware; Nippon-Turner is looking for publicity for a number of new products. Both intend to open underwater amusement parks; because the Titanic split in two parts upon sinking, each company will raise and exhibit half of the ship. But due to a variety of natural causes, the project goes awry. Clarke uses the attempted salvage operations as springboards from which to describe the technical, environmental and political changes in the year 2012. His skill as a raconteur and his accessible prose style are as engaging as ever, but his attempt to develop a secondary plot hinging on a mathematical game called the Mandelbrot Set takes the novel off course. The characters here lack dimension; and the various natural and personal disasters, which usually add to the tension, seem to be capriciously introduced without purpose. Though Clarke's speculations are both thought-provoking and entertaining, this work falls below his legendary best.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

As the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic approaches, rival corporations vie to be the first to raise the ship from its graveyard in the North Atlantic--engaging in a race that becomes an obsession and a rendezvous with the unknown. One of sf's most enduring authors brings his spare and graceful style to bear in this sf tale that is part adventure, part tribute. For most sf collections.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Danny Silverman on August 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Clarke is a visionary, and he has prophesized some incredible ideas long before they were mainstream. He continues to explore fascinating scientific thoughts and insights in this book about the raising of the Titanic. However, I find that the book has no central focus. Attempting to use the Titanic as a focal point, Clarke jumps from story to story -- about the Mandelbrot Set (a fractal pattern that is self-replicating), an invention in the field of windshield wipers, automated undersea exploration, and the lives of several diverse characters -- while never focusing the story on any overlapping theme or circumstance. In fact, the story of the Titanic is written off early on and given very little play. It seems Clarke would have been better off simply writing an essay about new technologies instead of wasting the readers time with simple plot twists, one dimensional dialogue, and emotionless characters.
Mr. Clarke is still, in my eyes, a great visionary thinker. He also writes a good sci-fi story. However, this one certainly isn't it. Read it for the ideas, read it for the insights, but please don't read it for the plot.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By myers@hks.com on July 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I wish I could share in the other reviewers' enthusiasm for this work. I've read many other Clarke novels, and frankly, I don't feel this one is up to par. It is a quick and entertaining read, however, and not without its charms; but there seems to be too much information. At first, it leads one to believe that some events may lead to something later in the book, only to fade into obscurity, as merely a diversion.
I do share Clarke's fascination with the M-set, being an armchair mathematician and computer programmer, and it is wonderfully described in the text, but I fail to see the relevance to the overall theme of the story. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't think so. I'm glad I didn't pay full price for my hardcover copy (I picked it up at a Library book sale for $.75), so I think I got my money's worth for the 260-odd pages (also short for a Clarke novel). It would have been better as a short story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on July 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is not a bad book, but for an Arthur C. Clarke novel, it is something of a disappointment. Although the concept of sub-plots is common in Clarke's works (and indeed, in all of science fiction) it is taken too far here. The whole long sections about the M-Set, the Millennium Bug, the inventions of Roy Emerson, and the homelife of the Craig family have no relevance to the actual plot of the book, and those sections encompass the heart of the book. Yes, the M-Set is interesting, but it should've been allowed it's own book if it is this important (even a 15+ page essay on it is included after the story). Meanwhile, the Titanic saga is relegated to almost side story status. Now, don't read all that and think I didn't like the book. I did. It's just that most of Clarke's other works are so much better (even the oft-critized 3001). Not a bad Clarke, but for the love of God don't start your collection here. Spring for Childhood's End, 2001 or 2010, or Rendezvous With Rama first.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is without a doubt one of the worst books I've ever read. The whole thing is disjointed, jumping from event to event and from character to character, all of which are poorly portrayed. Then throw in digressions re mathematical and technological theory, and you have a disaster of Titanic proportions (pun intended). Any kind of decent story deserves (actually, requires) continuity, and this one lacks that. Not sure what all the hoopla is about this author, but I won't be wasting any more of my time with him.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I didn't love it. I guess I was expecting a book that was more about the Titanic. There were a lot of characters and a lot of info about them. There's a mystery about the bodies that are found "perfectly preserved" and little is said about it and (SPOILER) one of them is never identified. It's just mentioned in an aside and I wanted to know all about each body, who they were, and so on. I think the book just wasn't what I expected, which was more of a Titanic story.
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Format: Paperback
Reading science fiction portrayals of a future that is now technically in the past is always an interesting experience. Where the author manages to make accurate predictions, one sometimes has to wonder if the prediction wasn’t self-fulfilling, in that it created the idea that inspired the development itself. In this case, though, Clarke was only reaching two decades ahead, from 1990 to 2010, and therefore didn’t feel the need to make any extreme extrapolations. As a result, while he missed the mark in many ways, his descriptions aren’t shockingly far from reality.

Fans of Clarke’s writing will find that this book includes a fair bit of what he does extremely well, namely, the descriptions of speculative technology. Clarke excels in building new technologies on solid scientific principles, so that what he describes seems entirely reasonable, even when it is actually quite incredible. In this book, he presents two different solutions to the problem of raising the Titanic, an incredible feat, if ever there were one, and both seem completely reasonable.

Unfortunately, this book is far more character driven than many of Clarke’s other tales, and this is not an area where his talents are at their best. The characters feel a bit flat, and some of their motivations seem weak or contrived. Clarke seems to recognize this, since he draws in a whole sub-plot built upon M-sets that have nothing to do with the efforts to raise the Titanic, apparently in a futile effort to flesh out several of the characters.

This is a relatively short novel, and an easy one to read. For those who are fascinated by the Titanic or deep sea exploration, Clarke’s descriptions might make it worth reading. But if you are looking for a first rate science fiction novel, give this a pass in favor of some of Clarke’s better works.
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