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The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke Paperback – January 14, 2002
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Ancient Rome had its famed Five Good Emperors--Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius, for those keeping track. And while science fiction might not have Edward Gibbons around to dole out similar, agreed-upon honors, everyone pretty much accepts the canonization of a few founding fathers: Asimov, Heinlein, Wells, and Bradbury all make the short list, as does--always--the venerable and venerated Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master and the winner of just about every SF award you care to mention.
So whether you're already familiar with his works or not (most notably Childhood's End and the Rama series), you certainly can't go wrong picking up this veritable brick of a collection--912 pages in all--as either primer or essential reference. Within you'll find virtually every short piece of fiction that Clarke has ever published, from 1937's endearingly twee (in retrospect) "Travel by Wire" to 1999's "Improving the Neighbourhood," the first sci-fi Nature ever published.
The Collected Stories is all short works (as short as 31 words in one case) and includes some of Clarke's best stories, including the lighthearted "Tales of the White Hart" and the momentous "The Star" and "The Nine Billion Names of God." --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Bringing together more than six decades of sf short stories that have helped to mold the genre, this collection of short fiction by Grandmaster Clarke serves as a definitive example of sf at its best. From such classic tales as "The Nine Billion Names of God" and "The Hammer of God" to lesser-known early tales and everything in between, this collection displays the author's fertile imagination and irrepressible enthusiasm for both good storytelling and impeccable science. With over 100 stories and nearly 1000 pages, this volume by the award-winning author of 2001: A Space Odyssey makes a fine addition to any library's short story or sf collection.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's good to have so much of this author's work together in one volume. One wishes it had been more carefully edited and proofread--as I've gone through the stories I have detected an inordinate number of typographical errors and omitted words, suggesting haste in production. Although there are notations about which collection a story originally came from, and occasional brief commentaries from the author, it is nevertheless difficult to locate a half-remembered favorite story. Finally, the paper on which this collection is printed is flimsy and perishable--perhaps the publisher has already decided print books are obsolete. Nevertheless, Clarke's stories seem assured of survival, in whatever medium.
Clarke entertains you, makes you think, makes you laugh, and above all instills that "Sense of Wonder" that only the masters of this genre can. Some of the stories are very short, a few are novella length. Clarke's science is always sound, but good sf, like any good literature, is about people, not gadgets. The gadgets are there to create the scene, but it's the people who are the story.
Why not 5 stars? Two reasons:
- More typographical errors than the man deserved. There should have been more proofreading before printing this.
- Still no ebook edition in most of the world. (Yes, there is an epub edition available only in Australia, but what about the rest of the planet?)
Open the book to any page. Find the beginning of the next story. Start reading. Enjoy.
I envy anyone who has never read Clarke before, picking this up for the first time.
The quality of Clarke's work varies quite a bit from the earlier fanzine stories to his excellent work later on, which results in the overall collection having variable strength. There also appear to be some stories omitted, which makes this less than a complete collection, though certainly most of his works are here. You will certainly find great works such as "The Nine Billion Names of God", "The Sentinel", "The Star", "A Meeting with Medusa", and others, but for me those works are already easily found elsewhere, and the interest in this work was being able to read some of his rarer works, even if they weren't his greatest stories.
I can easily see why some would give this work less than five stars, especially if they had an earlier edition which had so many spelling errors and other mistakes in it. However, for me, it rates five stars because of the near comprehensive look at the short fiction from one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time.