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The Light of Other Days | [Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter]

The Light of Other Days

The Light of Other Days tells the tale of what happens when a brilliant, driven industrialist harnesses the cutting edge of quantum physics to enable people everywhere, at trivial cost, to see one another at all times: around every corner, through every wall, into everyone's most private, hidden, and even intimate moments. It amounts to the sudden and complete abolition of human privacy - forever.
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Publisher's Summary

The Light of Other Days tells the tale of what happens when a brilliant, driven industrialist harnesses the cutting edge of quantum physics to enable people everywhere, at trivial cost, to see one another at all times: around every corner, through every wall, into everyone's most private, hidden, and even intimate moments. It amounts to the sudden and complete abolition of human privacy - forever.

Then, as society reels, the same technology proves able to look backwards in time as well. Nothing can prepare us for what this means. It is a fundamental change in the terms of the human condition.

©2007 Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter; (P)2007 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein succeeded. . .and now Stephen Baxter joins their exclusive ranks, writing science fiction in which the science is right. A sheer pleasure to read." (New Scientist)
"Extraordinarily rich in ideas." (Los Angeles Times)
"A sweeping, mind-boggling read!" (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (118 )
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  •  
    Lisa Huntsville, Alabama 11-30-08
    Lisa Huntsville, Alabama 11-30-08

    Huntsville, Alabama. Language and Literature College Faculty.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "When Seeing All is not Understanding All"

    Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter do not disappoint in their joint effort, "The Light of Other Days" If clones, wormholes, cloaking technology, brain implants, and the ability to alter the space-time continuum tend to rock-your-world - then this read/listen is for you. The unfortunate passing of Arthur C. Clarke marked the end of a science-fiction era of heyday popularity and futuristic envisioning. If there is another dimension available to this beloved carbon-based biped - I hope he has journeyed there and is happy discovering new mysteries of our universe.

    One has to wonder if Clarke ever progressed beyond his early obsession with ground-controlled approach radar. Without an instrument landing system or modern navigational capability one would be entering the unknown in a hazardous fashion, counting only on the guidance and accuracy of a ground-based air traffic controller. There are some similarities in the journey of the main characters in this novel, but, to avoid spoiling the plot I will end now.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Balt M. 05-27-10
    Balt M. 05-27-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Interesting Idea Bathed in Narm."

    Narm: when something that is supposed to be serious, but due to either over-sappiness, poor execution, excessive Melodrama, or the sheer absurdity of the situation, the drama is lost to the point of becoming unintentionally funny. It can be extremely subjective. (via TV Tropes)

    The novel's most attractive point is that it explores how society can be impacted by a machine that can show the present and past *exactly* as it occurred. The novel touches upon how the execution of the legal system would have to be redesigned, how most of human history cannot be reduced to a simple logical narrative, and the implications of immsersive virtual reality technology.

    However, a story is introduced in order to feed these abstract ideas to the audience without putting it to sleep. The plot is a vehicle for exploring these ideas. As a result, I feel that many moments that could have been written into more dramatic forms are wasted. One character suddenly experiences emotions after a device in his brain stops repressing them (How an emotionless child-like rich playboy company manager could *be* a playboy and a company-manager escapes me). Another character is forced by a shrink to admit that her memories cannot be trusted as evidence in court (She wins the case but is kept imprisoned for no apparent reason). The best way I can describe this story whose potentially more dramatic plot points are mishandled is like this: The story is full of narm. It requires you to suspend your disbelief to a higher degree than most stories.

    The central focus of the author is the technology and its impact on society as a whole, not the characters he introduces to explore said technology/impact. As a result, the characters and plot feel like disposable cups (convenient and easily forgotton).

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wes Athens, TX, USA 10-04-09
    Wes Athens, TX, USA 10-04-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Wonderful story of realistic future"

    I love this book! Recently I've been considering the possibility of using quantum wormholes for "seeing" the past - no need to actually go there when we can just look and learn all we want about distant times. So it was by chance I stumbled upon this book about just that subject. Clarke's writing is always a joy to follow and his consdierable sciantific insight was brough to bear on the subject. I found the story to be believable and rooted in the current knowledge of theoretical sciences. His characters were well rounded and added to the intrestingness of the story. And for me, the ending was superb! Although pure fiction, for now :), I found myself searching the bookstore for more information on wormholes and quantum theory. If you're into such subjects, whether fiction or nonfiction, this book will be an excellent read!

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    edward Melbourne, FL, United States 07-30-12
    edward Melbourne, FL, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Scary story for the 'Thinkers'"
    What made the experience of listening to The Light of Other Days the most enjoyable?

    The concept of removing 'all' privacy except thought is something I had not ever given much thought to. The story is at least as scary as Orwell's 1984 or Stoker's Dracula when you really think about living in 'The Light of Other Days'. This is not the 'run of the mill' time travel adventure.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Light of Other Days?

    The first realization of what could come after the 'positive' effects and benefits was a set of 'negatives' that were fundamental changes to human society making all of todays modern technology seem like minor little changes.


    What about Dick Hill’s performance did you like?

    Dick Hill did a good job reading and brought you into the story.


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

    It made me think, which in the end, is what a good book should accomplish. I certainly would not look forward the the technological breakthrough that is at the center of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    I missed this book in past years and I thank Audible for making it available.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marcus Berwyn, IL, United States 07-17-12
    marcus Berwyn, IL, United States 07-17-12 Member Since 2009
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    "A fine and entertaining read."

    Romance . tragedy,
    dystopic and Clarke get's all the science right.
    He predicts the fall of th Euro and there is an uncanny resemblance ro Ruppert Murdoch's empire. This novel is Clarke's best work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Reader USA 01-03-09
    The Reader USA 01-03-09 Member Since 2003

    Red

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "boring & self indulgent"

    I was looking forward to this book. It sounded like it could be quite thought provoking.
    Unfortunately it was only a little thought provoking with almost no story.
    One of the worst books I have listened to or read.

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
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