Garrett (garote) wrote,

Arthur C Clarke Round 5: When Clarkes Attack!

Transcience, 1949

I suppose this would have been profound 60 years ago, but my eyes and ears have suffered a maelstrom of similar progressions expressed in music, television, novels, comics, and film.

The Lion of Comarre, 1949

Oh sure, perhaps it is naive with respect to lions and jungles and physiology, but I totally enjoyed it. It felt like the early stages of Clarke's long-running exploration of the 'uncanny valley', giving machines just enough of a sentience and soul to get the reader pleasantly confused.

I also really dig any setup where the character gets to explore a labyrinth that is operating to some mysterious purpose. (In this case, the underground complex.) It's fun to examine everything three times - first to see what it is, second to try and figure out the motives of whoever placed it there, and third to try and further deduce the grand purpose of the labyrinth.

E.g. "Oh look, a water fountain! How pretty!" "Now why in the world would the architect place a fountain here? Seems out of place... Oooh I see, this used to be a washing station for crew members to clean their boots!" "So this whole complex is a ... mining operation? Or some kind of medical facility?"

Clarke would later use this approach to smashing, award-winning success with his novel Rendezvous with Rama. Eventually I'm going to re-read that. I remember being captivated by it in the 8th grade.

The Forgotten Enemy, 1949

Saw the end coming a mile away. Heh. That's kind of funny...

Guardian Angel, 1950

The "action" scene and its breakdown in the middle of the story were the high point, because the big reveal at the end of the story has not aged well at all. First time while reading these stories that I've been really struck by the cultural divide of a half-century. A lot of what Clarke turned out was timeless, which I consider to be a hallmark of legitimate science fiction, but alas, the ending here was not.

Silence Please, 1950

The framing device was quite vivid and amusing for what has apparently been a one-time use. I can easily imagine a series of tales, five or six, spun by these nutty scientists in their cozy, atmospheric pub.

Perhaps Clarke did not receive a warm enough response from his editors and publishers to warrant it...
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