5 Arthur C. Clarke Short stories.

The Sentinel

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Original title: The Sentinel

Title of this edition: El centinela.

Author: Arthur C. Clarke.

Gender: Science Ficction.

Saga: Prelude to 2001 a Space Oddisey.

Editorial: electronic copy.

Edition year:

Prizes: …

Sinopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: A group of geologist is exploring the moon when the spot something in a hill. The thing was a piramid made by some form of life that passed by the solar system many millions of years ago. The device was working and sending some kind of signal to it’s creators. The signal was an indicator that humanity didn’t achive to found it. Once they found it they will destroy it and the signal will end, telling it’s creators that human race achieved to make spacial voayages.

Personal Review: This short story was the prelude to the famous 2001 Space Oddisey, and was written in 1947. Space Oddisey was written in 1968. What happened in this 20 years… in 1947 no-man was in space, and in 1969 we landed on the moon.
The story is quite good, it’s short and don’t get involved into problems about technology or science. The only strange thing is that the artifact had a force field to avoid meteorites. But always remember the Clarke’s three laws:

  •     When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  •     The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  •     Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

So let’s say that the force field is plausible.
A part from that, the idea of a signal to alert other civilizations about the life on earth is very good, and if someday we manage to reach other stars, for sure we are going to realise that idea of a secret signal to be aware of when other civilizations reach enough level of technology.

The Nine Billion Names of God

TheNineBillionNamesofGod

Original title: The Nine Billion Names of God.

Title of this edition: Los nueve mil millones de nombres de dios.

Author: Arthur C. Clarke.

Gender: Science Ficction.

Saga:

Editorial: electronic copy.

Edition year:

Prizes: …

Sinopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: The monks in the Tibet believe that the human task is to find the real name of god. And once the name is revealed, the universe will end, because that was the ultimate thing to accomplish. So, in order to achieve that task they have created an alphabet and have discovered that the name has no more than 9 letters in that alphabet. They have been 300 years trying to find the name by brute force just writting down all the combinations.
And now the are going to use a computer to achieve the task in three months. Once the task is done, the starts begin to fade out.

Personal Review: Personally, I don’t believe in that supersticious thing about god names, but in almost all religions there is some kind of mith around god names. And for example,  in judaism they believe that if somebody pronounces the real name of good it will manifest to that person.
But despite if it is a useless thing or not, I think it is funny to think about what people can do with new technologies, and how old tasks that before seem unthinkable to accomplish now can be done. So in that way the story is nice and a good reading. But the end, the last sentence about stars fading out… I understand that an ending is needed in the story, but his one…

The Last Command

The-Collected-Stories-of-Arthur-C-Clarke-9780312878603

Original title: The Last Command.

Title of this edition: La ultima orden.

Author: Arthur C. Clarke.

Gender: Science Ficction.

Saga:

Editorial: electronic copy.

Edition year:

Prizes: …

Sinopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: There is ship orbiting around the moon. A ship with atomic weapons. The las offensive against the nuclear menace. This ship recives a recorded command from the president. The nuclear annhiquilation has happened. Now there is no need of more destruction we have lost the war. The last command is to destroy the weapons and help the winner to reconstruct the world. The americans shoot first and there is no more Sovietic Union.

Personal Review: This story was written in 1963. The cold war was in its worst moment. And the space era was about to begin. It is great because it anticipates what could happen in the next years. Lucky for us, it didn’t happend.
I think that the final touch about the Sovietic Union defeated by the americans is great, because when you read it you were all the time thinking that the americans loss the war.
The idea of destroying those missiles is good because when we think about the governors in those years we actually think they were crazy people ready to start a nuclear war, and actually they were people well aware of the terrors of the war and who manage to get us over a very difficult situation. So they were not so crazy after all.

The Light of Darkness

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Original title: The Light of Darkness.

Title of this edition: La luz de las tinieblas.

Author: Arthur C. Clarke.

Gender: Science Ficction.

Saga:

Editorial: electronic copy.

Edition year:

Prizes: …

Sinopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: There is a small country in Africa which is ruled by a dictator. The country is very poor, but fortunately it has a big crater and it’s located in the perfect place to convert the crater in a inmense parabolic antena. This antena is going to be inaugurated by the dictator. And this is the event that a scientific, which is in an astronomical observatory nearby, uses to prepare a conspiratory plot agains the dictator. When the dictator inaugurates the antena and goes up to the top of it, will be alone and in a good spot to use a laser, from the astronomical observatory, to burn down his eyes and make him blind forever.

Personal Review: First of all, this story was of 1964. The Arecibo radio telescopy was built in 1963. So in this sense the story has no innovation. And blinding a man with a laser is nothing new. I think that the best point in the novel is that the scientific thinks in the plot and finds out that the laser can easily cut steel but the human body is made of water with a bigger heating coefficient and the same laser will only make some superficial damage. That accurate thinking is new even in nowadays movies.

Trouble with Time

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Original title: Trouble with Time.

Title of this edition: Crimen en Marte.

Author: Arthur C. Clarke.

Gender: Science Ficction.

Saga:

Editorial: electronic copy.

Edition year:

Prizes: …

Sinopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: A detective is talking with an antiquary in Phobos, moon of mars. He is talking about the man who tried to steal a head from a museum in mars. The interesting thing is that he get caught because the city, where the museum was, is the city in the meridian 180. So In half of the city was sunday while in the other half was already monday.

Personal Review: I think is is the worst of all. It’s interesting how it tells that there is no need for security in mars because everyone lives in a small city under a dome… but appart from that the rest has no interest.

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About leocorte

B.Sc. in physics in 2010. M.Sc in complex systems in 2012. Currently working at NPL in London on nanomaterial devices. Great science fiction fan, film addicted, programmer and seeker of fun and new things.

Posted on January 31, 2013, in Book Review, Classic Books, Crazy Experiments, Fantasy, Relatos, Science Ficction, Space and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke is definitely a must have for all Clarke fans and people new to him as it truly is his most comprehensive story collection.

    However, be careful when buying the paperback edition cause this book has almost a thousand pages. It will not get wrecked during a reading only if you read it solely on a table and with gloves ;)
    Check out my photos of the aftermath after reading through the entire Collected stories of Arthur C. Clarke.
    The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke

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