by Arthur C. Clarke



966pp/$29.95/February 2001

The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke
Cover by Drive Communications

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

Since 1967, Arthur C. Clarke's name has been associated with the year 2001.  It is fitting, therefore, that Tor has elected to published a nearly comprehensive retrospective of Clarke's short fiction in the first year of the new millennium.  Although a few short works are missing, The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke contains more than an hundred of Clarke's stories ranging from his years as an amateur ("Travel by Wire," 1937), through his first professional appearance ("Loophole," 1946) and up to the present ("Improving the Neighborhood," 1999).  It is a testament to Clarke that he has published stories even more recently which do not appear in this collection.

Clarke introduces the book with a brief two pages.  Each story, however, is prefaced by its bibliographic information and a short paragraph by the author commenting on the genesis of the tale.  In a few cases, Clarke also provides a little retrospective analysis of the story and how well he feels it has managed to stand the test of time.

While the collection includes such major works by Clarke as "The Star" and "The Nine Billion Names of God," it also includes lesser-known stories which, in some cases feel dated, but in other cases stand up with their more well known brethren.  Other stories, such as "The Longest Science-fiction Story Ever Told," are slight pieces which seem as if Clarke may have dashed them off in a quiet afternoon.  Clarke also includes all of the tales from his "White Hart" series of bar stories.

Because the stories are arranged in chronological order, over the course of the collection, Clarke's growth as an author is apparent as is the growth of technology and science in the second half of the twentieth-century.  As Clarke grows more and more comfortable with the written word, his speculations are grounded in technology which would be fictional in his earliest stories, but is reality by his later ones.

At 966 pages and two pounds, The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke is an enormous doorstop of a book.  However, this only means that it contains enough reading material to allow the reader to continuously dip in and find stories, both familiar and new, to read and discover and rediscovery the transcendence of Clarke's ideas.

Travel by Wire! Moving Spirit
How We Went to Mars The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch
Retreat from Earth The Ultimate Melody
Reverie The Next Tenants
The Awakening Cold War
Whacky Sleeping Beauty
Loophole Security Check
Rescue Party The Man Who Ploughed the Sea
Technical Error Critical Mass
Castaway The Other Side of the Sky
The Fires Within Let There Be Light
Inheritance Out of the Sun
Nightfall Cosmic Casanova
History Lesson The Songs of Distant Earth
Transience A Slight Case of Sunstroke
The Wall of Darkness Who's There?
The Lion of Comarre Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Orbiting. . .
The Forgotten Enemy I Remember Babylon
Hide-and-Seek Trouble with Time
Breaking Strain Into the Comet
Nemesis Summertime on Icarus
Guardian Angel Saturn Rising
Time's Arrow Death and the Senator
A Walk in the Dark Before Eden
Silence Please Hate
Trouble with the Natives Love That Universe
The Road to the Sea Dog Star
The Sentinal Maelstrom II
Holiday On the Moon An Ape About the House
Earthlight The Shining One
Second Dawn The Secret
Superiority Dial F for Frankenstein
"If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth. . . " The Wind from the Sun
All The Time in the World The Food of the Gods
The Nine Billion Names of God The Last Command
The Possessed Light of Darkness
The Parasite The Longest Science-fiction Story Ever Told
Jupiter Five Playback
Encounter In the Dawn The Cruel Sky
The Other Tiger Herbert George Morley Roberts Wells, Esq.
Publicity Campaign Crusade
Armaments Race Neutron Tide
The Deep Range Reunion
No Morning After Transit of Earth
Big Game Hunt A Meeting with Medusa
Patent Pending Quarantine
Refugee "siseneG"
The Star The Steam-powered Word Processor
What Goes Up On Golden Seas
Venture to the Moon The Hammer of God
The Pacifist The Wire Continuum (with Stephen Baxter)
The Reluctant Orchid Improving the Neighborhood

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