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The Other Side of the Sky
Arthur C. Clarke
Gollancz, 245 pages

Arthur C. Clarke
Born in 1917 in Minehead, Somerset, England, and living in Sri Lanka since 1956, Arthur C. Clarke is best known for his 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), based on his short story "Sentinel of Eternity." His Against the Fall of Night (1948) and Childhood's End (1953) are also among his best titles. Clarke was voted Grand Master at the 1986 Nebula Awards. His short story "The Star" (1955) won him a Hugo award, as did the movie adaptation of 2001. A writer of hard SF, though not without some elements of mysticism, Clarke has also written a large volume of science-popularizing non-fiction for which he has won UNESCO's Kalinga Prize (1962) and a non-fiction International Fantasy Award in 1972 (for The Exploration of Space). Clarke has also received many honours from the scientific community, in particular for his work in the development of today's geosynchronous communication satellites.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Childhood's End
SF Site Review: The Collected Stories
SF Site Review: The Fountains of Paradise
SF Site Review: The Light Of Other Days
SF Site Review: The Light Of Other Days
SF Site Review: Profiles of the Future
SF Site Review: Arthur C. Clarke & Lord Dunsany: A Correspondence
Arthur C. Clarke Tribute Site
Arthur C. Clarke Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Alma A. Hromic

The Other Side of the Sky When it comes to writers like Arthur C. Clarke, it seems almost irreverent to be writing a review. What can someone like me possibly have to say about someone like him -- a titan of the genre whose works were not only seminal to the world of science fiction but who also contributed significantly to the facts of science as we know them today? Most especially, what is left to be said when it comes to a volume like The Other Side of the Sky, a reissue of a collection of classic Clarke stories like the transcendent "The Star," voted the best science fiction story in 1956, or the extraordinary, sad, luminous "Transience," with its sweeping vision of an ephemeral flash of consciousness and intelligence that was the human race?

Perhaps the joy of collections like that is simply the re-encountering of such stories. I knew, for instance, of "The Star" -- one of the most exquisitely sketched portraits of a faith shaken as I have ever read anywhere in any genre -- but until now I had somehow never found myself in a position of owning a copy -- and for that alone this slim little volume is a treasure to me. Not to mention other stories like the remarkable and deservedly acclaimed "The Nine Billion Names of God," which, in the 2003 update to his original preface, Clarke mentions as having found its way to the Dalai Lama who apparently wrote the author a "charming letter" in response to it, in which he said he found the story "very amusing." Hackle-raising is more the phrase I would have used -- with that astounding, understated, utterly immortal final line of the story which makes it one of those which, once read, you never forget.

I have them all now, safe in my collection. I've read them all once more for the purposes of this review, and I think there is only one thing left to say as I close the book with a satisfied sigh.

Thank you for the legacy, Mr Clarke.

Copyright © 2003 Alma A. Hromic

Alma A. Hromic, addicted (in random order) to coffee, chocolate and books, has a constant and chronic problem of "too many books, not enough bookshelves". When not collecting more books and avidly reading them (with a cup of coffee at hand), she keeps busy writing her own. Following her successful two-volume fantasy series, Changer of Days, her latest novel, Jin-shei, is due out from Harper San Francisco in the spring of 2004.

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