"A Meeting with Medusa" was first published in the December 1971 issue of Playboy.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) is regarded as one of the most-influential science fiction writers of all time. He was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
©2000 Arthur C. Clarke (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
A Meeting with Medusa is an Arthur C Clarke novella that was originally published by Playboy in 1971. The story is in the straightforward style of sci-fi from the mid-20th century where a sci-fi concept was the dominant theme and focus of the story. In this case, Howard Falcon who begins the tale as an airship (helium rather than hydrogen) is seriously injured in an accident. At some future point, he pursues a project to pilot a "space" airship into the upper Jovian atmosphere and discovers strange lifeforms existing in a gaseous ocean-life environment, one of which he calls a "Medusa."
The sci-fi elements beyond the interplanetary space travel involve strange alien life forms adapted to conditions unique to Jupiter, including a sense for radiowaves. At the same time, Falcon is revealed as a one of a kind "cyborg" as a result of his earlier accident. With the Jovian creatures and Howard himself, Clarke seems to have initiated an exploration of beyond human intelligence, but the story ends as if he simply grew bored.
The narration is adequate without the need for much variety or range. As a lengthy prologue for the subsequent (>30 years later) Reynolds / Baxter collaboration, this novella introduces the main character and hints at future possibilities.
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