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Beyond the Fall of Night Mass Market Paperback – 1991

2.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; First Thus edition (1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441056121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441056125
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,827,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Arthur C. Clarke was the man who popularised the term "the technology of an advanced culture will be indistinguishable from magic." The best science fantasy writers know this - George Lucas and Asimov make no attempt to explain lightsabres or positronic brains. And Clarke, of course, makes no attempt to explain the technology of an isolated Earth city 2 billion (or thereabouts) years into the future. Instead, the first half of this book gives us an entertaining and light voyage through a society stagnated by immortality and robot-assisted ease. When Alvin, the first child born in thousands of years, rebels against this society, we are taken along for the ride. He learns that his city of Diaspar is not the only community left on the planet, and he makes further discoveries that are fun to read about.
This part of the book is a reprint of Clarke's Against the Fall of Night, which was written early in his career and shows it. It is fast paced (perhaps to a fault), and we're surprised at the naivete of all the characters at one time or another. However, it's fun for a light read and recommended.
The second half, written by Benford, is supposed to be a sequel, but bears absolutely no resemblance to Clarke's work. There are a number problems. Firstly, only 2 characters from Clarke's work survive, and they are relegated to supporting roles. Secondly, Benford makes the mistake of focussing on technology that is built 2 billion years in the future. This technology is used to fight the superbeing known as the Mad Mind, an energy-based species without physical form, but it's inherently silly to pit airplanes against a mental force. Finally, the "good" mentalic creature, Vanamonde, is ignored, even though its purpose from the first story is to fight the Mad Mind.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
'Against the fall of night', and 'City and the Stars' were one of the best stories ACC wrote.
It is a pity that Mr Benson didn't read either of them.
'Beyond the fall of night' takes some of the characters of ACC's book and reduces them. In fact, he appears to change so much of the original story that it is virtually unrecognisable. I find it difficult to believe that this is an 'authorised' sequel, since it contradicts much of what is written in the first book. The packaging of the book (putting the original in with the sequel) means that the contradictions are glaring (how come the moon was restored to completeness when it was destroyed by the weapon at Shalmarine?). The magnificence of the original novel has been lost in a hodgepodge of characters, ferris wheels and a pineapple spaceship. What?
Not recommended for anyone who has read the original. I think it was a mistake for Mr Benson to write this novel, and a mistake for Mr Clarke to let him.
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Format: Hardcover
Both Against the Fall of Night and The City and the Stars are wonderful stories, beautifully written
Gregory Benford's "sequel" is incoherent mishmash. I kept jumping paragraphs hoping the story would get clearer. It didn't.
Forget this book entirely and get the original Arthur C Clarke story (Against the Fall of Night) combined with The Lion of Comarre.
I've never read a Gregory Benford story before and this turned me off so much I don't plan to read another.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
How do you rate a book like this? First of all, it's not a novel, despite its 339 pages. It's two novellas, the first by Clarke (four stars, pp 3-155) and the second by Benford (one star, pp 159-339). Second, the styles and subject matter are quite dissimilar. Benford makes no pretense of continuing Clarke's story or paying homage to the master in any way; this is simply a novella inspired by Clarke's novella.
That's fine if you're a fan of Benford's writing, which can be maddeningly uneven. Sometimes he uses whole pages of terse, deliberately elliptical dialogue; other times he seems to simply forsake dialogue altogether for rich, speculative, but often precious prose. But if you like the style of Arthur C. Clarke, you will dislike Benford's half of the book. Someone wrote of Clarke that he "can forge poetry from an engineer's blueprint." As Roger Ebert might say in reverse, Benford can forge a blueprint from someone's poem.
Worse, Benford does not demonstrate a familiarity with the events in Clarke's novella. For instance, he speaks of visiting the moon, which fell to earth long before the events in Clarke's novella. Benford implies that it is difficult for the "ur-humans" to communicate with Vanamonde, then quotes history that the ur-humans learned FROM VANAMONDE in Clarke's novella. This is one of several times Benford contradicts not just Clarke, but himself.
Clarke writes in the foreword that shortly after Benford asked to write a sequel to Against the Fall of Night, Damien Broderick asked to write a sequel to The City and the Stars! Oh, if only Broderick's letter had arrived sooner!

Recommendation: Buy this book ONLY if you do not already own Against the Fall of Night.

-- Peter C.S. Adam
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Format: Hardcover
"Against the Fall of Night" is the great Arthur C. Clarke's novella dealing with the future of mankind one Billion (yes, billion) years from now. Most authors would botch a theme of such scope and ambition, but Clarke carries it off brilliantly. "Against the Fall of Night" is the earlier version of the novel "The City and the Stars." I prefer the latter, but this novel (which in this book is labeled as Part 1 of "Beyond the Fall of Night") is fun to read, interestingly different from "The City and the Stars" and to this day has its own following among Clarke's many fans, me among them.

Without giving too much away, the story is set in the far distant future. Humanity has gone out among the stars to a strange destiny, but ages ago at least a branch of humanity returned to Earth, turned its back upon the Cosmos, and established two very different civilizations: the great City of Diaspar, and the telepathic community of Lys. This is the story of Alvin, one of the first children to be born in Diaspar for millenia. Alvin alone does not fear leaving Diaspar (its other citizens are conditioned to fear leaving the city) and indeed he possesses a strange compulsion to do so. This is a great story, containing magnificent speculations about the future destiny of mankind from the fascinating perspective of the far distant future looking back upon an almost forgotten human and galactic history.

Part 2 of this novel is written by Gregory Benford, and it is supposed to deal with what happens after the events in "Against the Fall of Night." Benford has completely botched this effort, and this sequel, if that is what it was, is simply awful--a complete failure. Most of the time the reader can barely figure out what is going on in the story.
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