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The Last Theorem | [Arthur C. Clarke, Frederik Pohl]

The Last Theorem

The historic collaboration between Frederik Pohl and Arthur C. Clarke is both a momentous literary event and a fittingly grand farewell from the great visionary author of 2001: A Space Odyssey

This is a story of one man's mathematical obsession, a celebration of the human spirit and the scientific method, and an intellectual thriller in which humanity, facing extermination from all-but-omnipotent aliens, must overcome differences of politics and religion and come together or perish.

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Publisher's Summary

The Last Theorem is a story of one man's mathematical obsession, and a celebration of the human spirit and the scientific method. It is also a gripping intellectual thriller in which humanity, facing extermination from all-but-omnipotent aliens, the Grand Galactics, must overcome differences of politics and religion and come together or perish.

In 1637, the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat scrawled a note in the margin of a book about an enigmatic theorem. He also neglected to record his proof elsewhere. Thus began a search for the Holy Grail of mathematics, a search that didn't end until 1994, when Andrew Wiles published a 150-page proof. But the proof was burdensome, overlong, and utilized mathematical techniques undreamed of in Fermat's time, and so it left many critics unsatisfied, including young Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan with a special gift for mathematics and a passion for the famous "Last Theorem".

When Ranjit writes a three-page proof of the theorem that relies exclusively on knowledge available to Fermat, his achievement is hailed as a work of genius, bringing him fame and fortune. But it also brings him to the attention of the National Security Agency and a shadowy United Nations outfit called Pax per Fidem, or Peace Through Transparency, whose secretive workings belie its name. Suddenly Ranjit and his wife, Myra de Soyza, an expert in artificial intelligence, find themselves swept up in world-shaking events, his genius for abstract mathematical thought put to uses that are both concrete and potentially deadly.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone on Earth, an alien fleet is approaching the planet at a significant percentage of the speed of light. Their mission: to exterminate the dangerous species of primates known as homo sapiens.

©2008 Arthur C. Clarke; (P)2008 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (163 )
5 star
 (50)
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 (49)
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1 star
 (5)
Overall
3.8 (70 )
5 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (70 )
5 star
 (32)
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3 star
 (10)
2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Mark Whittier, CA, United States 06-04-10
    Mark Whittier, CA, United States 06-04-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good but not Clarke's Best"

    I think this story was more Pohl than it was Clarke. I kept reading Clarke's later work trying to find something to equal to what I consider his best work, Childhood's End, and I never found it. This was pretty good but you had to pay pretty close attention as the story got really involved. This isn't one of those you can listen to while you do your taxes and still keep track of the story. Worth a listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 12-27-13
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 12-27-13

    Letting the rest of the world go by

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "2 master writers=1 great story"

    The listener experiences the science of Clarke and the story telling of Pohl which makes for a delightful listen. Also, the listener gets to learn a little bit about number theory and what's all this talk been about Fermat's last equation and why people through out history have gotten hooked on it.

    For me the funnest part of the book surrounds the Galactic Overlords and how they are everywhere but really nowhere and we should just call them "Bill" with quotation marks and should not directly confuse them with God.

    It was fun to read about Sri Lanka and get a good discussion on what Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative really means and how it can lead to peace through out the known universe. (There is also a laugh out loud line in the book where the authors refer to the famous people who live in Sri Lanka and dance around the fact that it's one of the author's of the book, funny, funny stuff).

    The story itself is a simple story but the presentation interspersed with the science and philosophy made for an engaging whole. The two writers each knew what there strengths were and contributed their strength to the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Tangstedt, Germany 06-08-14
    Thomas Tangstedt, Germany 06-08-14 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    3
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    Story
    "Boring"
    What disappointed you about The Last Theorem?

    Old men telling a story about what they imagine to be how young people live, interspersed with their egomanical views on how to "save the world".


    Has The Last Theorem turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mark Bramhall?

    He did ok.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Last Theorem?

    Most everything. All the "happily living along in Sri Lanka" stuff.


    Any additional comments?

    The worst book by Clarke I know. By far. All of his old ideas mixed into one book, in a boring story with very little "science fiction".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Sinking Spring, PA, United States 09-03-12
    Joseph Sinking Spring, PA, United States 09-03-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Another great book from Arthur C. Clarke!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Last Theorem the most enjoyable?

    The History of Math referenced.


    What other book might you compare The Last Theorem to and why?

    Childhood's End, The end of War as we know it.


    Have you listened to any of Mark Bramhall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    None

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    edward Melbourne, FL, United States 07-30-12
    edward Melbourne, FL, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OK but not up to A C Clarke's normal excellence"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I had a little difficulty getting 'into' this story. It was interesting at times, but did not hold my attention as many other of Clarke's work.


    Would you recommend The Last Theorem to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would not say 'stay away', but for me it would come further down the priority list.


    What does Mark Bramhall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The reader was OK, the story was a little dull and slow.


    Could you see The Last Theorem being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    There are many SciFi books I wish were the basis for a movie or TV show. The Last Theorem is not on that list, and most certainly not before the Azimov Robot & Foundation Series.


    Any additional comments?

    When you have listened to most of your favorites, revisit Last Theorem.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Centennial, Colombia 11-27-08
    Steven Centennial, Colombia 11-27-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Needs Tightening"

    Though written by a pair of grand master sci fi authors, the book contains too much unneeded material. Do we really need the number games, or the various travels around the world following the hero's sudden fame, or sitting around in a top secret facility for two months with nothing to do? Though the ending is satisfying enough, the journey there can be turtuous and disconnected.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Gardner, IL, USA 10-29-08
    Joseph Gardner, IL, USA 10-29-08
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    "Very disapointing to a long time Pohl fan"

    This novel seemed to me more like a very drawn out short story. I have read most of Pohl's novels and none of Clarke's, and am a big Pohl fan, so I have to come to the conclusion that this debacle was more Clarke's doing. In any case, I hope this isn't Pohl's last novel, because I would hate to see such a rich career end on a sour note. I do not recommend this book.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    02-12-09
    02-12-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Could not finish the book"

    Not only does the book go nowhere, but the narrator also uses an obscene indian accent to simulate how shrilankans speak to each other.. it was terrible

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
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