Against the Fall of Night

by Arthur C. Clarke

In his play he had now found the ultimate, deadly toy which might wreck what was left of human civilization—but whatever the outcome, to him it would still be a game.

Earth has changed from what we now recognize, being hundreds of millions of years in the future, and mankind both made it out into space and been kicked back home by a mysterious alien race knows as the Invaders.

Young Alvin, an immortal resident of the city of Diaspar but still a child, escapes the city the rest of his kind would never think of leaving to discover another inhabited city with humans who’d evolved far differently than the immortals, with shorter lifespans but powerful minds.

Alvin begins the exploration of the truth of the universe, recruiting friends, robots, instructors, politicians and even alien intelligence as he burrows through the lies of history.

Against the Fall of Night is a staggering work of imagination, defining the indefinable role of Man in the universe in a complicated fashion that simultaneously boasts and makes light of our progress. We’ve an awful long way to go if we’re going to make any actual impact on our space and time, and some of that is explored here.

This book is Arthur C. Clarke’s first published science fiction novel and is often called a novella. A few years after its publication it was revised and expanded into the novel The City and the Stars. Both books make up this Centipede set.

While The City and the Stars is the more famous of the works, and undoubtedly the more accomplished, Against the Fall of Night is a great book in its own right, showcasing the genesis of an incredible imagination that would go on to become one of the most important in science fiction.

Arthur C. Clarke, Science Fiction Grand Master, conduit to the stars.

No one could have guessed that he had made a journey as fateful as any in the history of Man.

3+ (4-) stars

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