Winner or Rec? Hugo and Nebula winner 1974
Started reading: September 26, 2014
Finished reading: September 27, 2014

Arthur C Clarke, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

The thing about Clarke is that the entire book is a lead up to the very last sentence. He’ll distract you with his lovingly-described science, with his inventive little things, with some fairly solid characters, with a little bit of wry humor here and there… and then at the end, he does this thing — have you heard “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas? If you haven’t heard it since the last time you watched Disney’s Fantasia, go listen to it again now, because it is exactly the plot of an Arthur C Clarke book. If you don’t have nine minutes and fourteen seconds to spare at the moment, just listen to the last minute and a half, which is the climax and the denoument of the piece.

You have this torrential cascade of sound and fury, and then it winds down… and winds down… and then pay specific attention to the last five seconds of the piece. That last little thrilling burst of music that sends you back on an upward trajectory, just when you thought you were winding down to a sleepy, sedate ending.

That is what Clarke does at the end of RAMA (and at the end of THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE, but we’ll come to that later on). And that is why he’s a motherfucking genius.

Read this book. And read his other books too!




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