I am sad to hear that my favorite creative mind in science fiction, Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, has died. It was just a few hours ago, after suffering breathing problems. It’s not like I’ve read more than 6 or so of his books … and it’s not like I even enjoyed the 2001 movie. But some of his works brought me great joy as a child, to the point of remembering them above all other books that I have ever read. It is truly regretful to lose such a great creative genius.
This is the cover to The City And The Stars, my personal all-time-favorite Arthur C. Clarke book. And considering I don’t really read these days, and he was my favorite author way back when, that definitely puts it in my top books ever. But hey, I like science fiction & fantasy. You can click through to the wikipedia page and read about it if you are so inclined, but basically… In the future, there are only 2 small cities of humanity left, and neither one knows of the other. The main character lives in a city that is so eternal that even the people are recycled. You are born as an adult, able to speak and walk, and live for 1000 yrs. Then you go back to the chamber, get assimilated into the eternity crystals, and are stored for a million years or so. At around age 20, you begin to remember past lives. The society is pretty much timeless, to the point of having a designated jester born every 40,000 years, just to keep things interesting. The jester has little to do with the story, but all that basically just paints the backdrop for the actual story. I loved this book as a child — even more than Childhood’s End and Rendezvous With Rama, my other two major favorites.
If there’s any 3 Clarke books to read, it would be those 3. Don’t fall for the 2001 trap; you’ll have to read at least 3 books to get out of it.