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The City and the Stars | [Arthur C. Clarke]

The City and the Stars

Diaspar is Earth's last city - surrounded by deserts, on a world where the oceans have long-since dried up. It is a domed, isolated, technological marvel, run by the Central Computer. Diaspar has conquered death. People are called forth; they live for a thousand years and then are recalled, to be born thousands of years later, over and over again. No child has been born for at least 10 million years. Until Alvin....
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Publisher's Summary

A journey of discovery that will shake the foundations of everything the people of Earth have ever believed....

Diaspar is Earth's last city - surrounded by deserts, on a world where the oceans have long-since dried up. It is a domed, isolated, technological marvel, run by the Central Computer. Diaspar has conquered death. People are called forth from the Hall of Creation; they live for a thousand years and then are recalled, stored in the Central Computer's memory, to be born thousands of years later, over and over again, with memories of earlier lives intact.

No one has entered or left Diaspar since anyone can remember. Its people have an unreasoning dread of the unknown, of the world outside the city. And no child has been born for at least 10 million years.

Until Alvin. He is unique. He has no past lives, no past memories. He also has no fear of the outside world. In fact, he has an overwhelming curiosity, a drive to explore, to see what lies beyond the sterile boundaries of the city.

When he finally escapes, he discovers a place he could hardly have imagined: a country called Lys. Its people are telepathic. They know life and death. In Lys, Alvin finds friendship and love. And he begins his fateful journey to the stars and back. On his return, he brings with him something so strange, so alien and powerful, that it will change the world forever. But for better or worse not even Alvin can guess.

©1956 Arthur C. Clarke/Scovil Chichak Galen; (P)2009 Geoffrey T.Williams

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (199 )
5 star
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4.2 (124 )
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4.0 (124 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Andy Canberra, Australia 01-24-13
    Andy Canberra, Australia 01-24-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Even better 30 years later"

    I first read this book, I think as a novella, about 30 or more years ago. It's been in my wishlist for quite a while because I could still remember the story pretty well. I liked it then, but I loved this version. Not just because it is an audiobook, although that helps, but because I appreciated the story a lot more, or maybe I just absorbed the nuances better.

    This is a definite must for anyone who loves the theme of exploring ancient cities and rediscovering lost worlds.

    The narrator was excellent. Once you're into it, the character voices click and you can't imagine any other voices.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 12-10-11
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 12-10-11 Member Since 2010

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

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    "A Classic"

    The Science Fiction Book Club pick this as one of there favorite books written in the 50's. When I read it years ago I loved it and so when it went on sale I bought it. I must mention here that this audio club has the greatest sales.

    This is so much different then most of what Clarke writes. Fantasy readers would not recognize it as fantasy, but in comparison to most of Clarke's hard Sci-Fi this could be a fantasy. One reason for that is that it takes place billions of years in the future and unlike what most writers do, he does not knock man back into cave man days.

    The main character is unique and does not fit into the society he lives in. He does not give into peer pressure and he stays unique. This will appeal to anyone who has ever felt different. Though some see this as a depressing novel, I feel that the spot light on unique people who are willing to challenge the system as very uplifting.

    Isolationism and not wanting to leave our comfort zone is a big part of the book.

    Parts of the book sound like something Robert Reed would write about today, the Grand View and great lengths of time involved.

    This has several narrators and music, which I thought at first would lead to a great experience. I think that they would have done better with one talented narrator instead of several not so talented narrators and though the music did not detract, I do not felt it added anything.

    Other really good AC books are: Rendezvous with Rama, 2001: Space Odyssey, 2010 Odyssey II, and any short story collections.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave F. Wilke Los Angeles, CA 06-04-12
    Dave F. Wilke Los Angeles, CA 06-04-12 Member Since 2012
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    "An Old Favorite"
    What did you love best about The City and the Stars?

    This was one of the first science fiction novels I'd ever read ever so many years back. For that reason it was the first Audible book I downloaded. It was and remains a favorite. Some have said it is not one of Clarke's best, but I tend to disagree. Perhaps that's just the memories bound up around the story, but there you go.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The City and the Stars?

    I enjoyed the sense of discovery as Alvin explored his universe; first the outskirts of Diaspar, then Lys, then the stars. The sense of physical exploration and discovery of new landscapes is something I miss in more recent works.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The performance was mildly uneven. The different voices were obviously recorded at different times, using different equipment, different EQ settings and different levels of compression. This created a slightly uneven flow to the dialog, something which could have been avoided by bringing the voice actors in to record at the same time.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I used it to pass the time on a long daily commute. It lasted better than a week and served its purpose well in keeping me entertained in traffic.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cherry Vancouver, BC, Canada 11-13-09
    Cherry Vancouver, BC, Canada 11-13-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Not quite what I expected"

    The City and the Stars is a classic for a reason and not just because Arthur C. Clarke is the author, so instead I will write specifically about the audiobook.

    This reading is almost a dramatisation since the individual characters are all ready by different narrators and there are musical backgrounds. Unfortunately this isn't what I expected given the listing on audible.com. Perhaps in this case I cannot provide an accurate review since dramatisations/multiple narrators really aren't what I enjoy listening to. I prefer my audiobooks narrated by one person who can add their individual drama to the reading.

    The quality of the recording is very high and the production values are wonderful, but since there is no indication in the description or sound clip of exactly how the book is presented I must rate it low since it's not actually what I expected or wanted when I purchased it.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lars 07-18-14
    Lars 07-18-14
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    "A mesmerizing story, beatifully narrated"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Would definitely recommend it; especially to people with an interest in philosophy and/or (of course) science fiction.


    What other book might you compare The City and the Stars to and why?

    It is somewhat comparable to "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" by R. Heinlein; since it gives a very realistic image of a fictional future in which humanity, or a part of it, strives for something greater than its (then) current setting and situation.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    One of my many favorite scenes (be warned for plot spoilers !!) was when Alvin decided to leave earth for the first time, using the spaceship he found. Apart from the fact that this is one of the key turning points in the book, it also captures very much the ambition of Alvin as well as one of the central thoughts behind the story; finally, after years of isolation, the human race sets to explore the universe once again.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Exploring the past, to find a long lost future purpose.


    Any additional comments?

    This book has definitely entered my top 5 favourite books of all time !!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David NEW ROMNEY, United Kingdom 02-04-12
    David NEW ROMNEY, United Kingdom 02-04-12
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    "Audible done this well written story proud"

    The book is full of twists and unexpected momentum obsorbed in each part so much that i was sad to leave each relavation behind, but the next giant step gripped me again and i was amazed how vast the story was in doing so great leaps where made that in them selfs would take volumes to have known. Overall a brillant book written by a Brit saddly no longer with us, I am a Brit who spent more time reading Jack Vance than Clarke my treat in finding more , This is the best audio book i have herd several different voices subtel sound effects i think compared to other books from audibe i have herd the boat was pushed out in other words Awesome as my cousins would say.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DELee 02-15-10
    DELee 02-15-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Unusual Presentation"

    This version City and the Stars is more on the order of a radio drama than a typical Audible book. I thought this presentation was effective, but as a story it's not one of Clarke's best works, which range from hard science to near fantasy. This one is toward the fantasy end of the spectrum.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Eden Prairie, MN, United States 08-19-14
    Linda Eden Prairie, MN, United States 08-19-14 Member Since 2012

    snowbyrd13

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    "My Kind of Science Fiction"

    In this book Arthur C. Clarke creates a fascinating world of the far future. As I listened I was seeing images of it in my mind. I felt I was exploring this world.

    The story is captivating and entertaining. This is the type of book that I couldn't put down when I read it as a youngster in the 1950's. It was a delight to find it had the same effect on me now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marc CLINTON, CT, United States 03-29-14
    marc CLINTON, CT, United States 03-29-14 Member Since 2013
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    "i enjoyed it."
    Any additional comments?

    i liked the book, it's just the audio quality was awful. some of the narration was done in a professional studio and some was done in, what would appear, an office. some of the narrators were professional and others not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Lake Elsinore, CA, United States 02-27-13
    Lee Lake Elsinore, CA, United States 02-27-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Great Audiobook with a very good cast of voices"
    Would you listen to The City and the Stars again? Why?

    Yes - I have it on CD


    What other book might you compare The City and the Stars to and why?

    None it a good stand alone book


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Traversing the stars


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 17 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Bruce
    Forfar, Angus, United Kingdom
    2/19/10
    Overall
    "The City and the Stars"

    the book is exellent - experience spoiled by background music

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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