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
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.
54 years old, blue collar worker, I like imported beer, when it is not hay fever season. Favorite authors; Card, King, Hobb, Koontz, Clarke, Iggulden, Silverberg, Michener, Krakauer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes - I have it on CD
None it a good stand alone book
Traversing the stars
Multiple voice actors and sound effects bring to life this classic sci-fi story. Well done narration. You could easily listen to this audio book every year.
If you like Arthur C Clarke then put this on your list but not at the top of your list. It was worth the cost so I am not disappointed in that regard.
Most interesting was the young mans thoughts, trials and tribulations in adapting to his new home and how he became motivate regardless of the hardships.
Least interesting was the description of the technology. Arthur C. Clarke is usually more creative and realistic in his visualizations. This one I don't think he was properly motivated. To "Avitar'is" for my taste.
As it goes, he was not the worst nor the best. I am more interested in plot and continuity that voice performances.
movies are NEVER as good as one's imagination. No, I would not go see a movie of this book or any other for that matter.
The story is very much a morality tale on what happens when Man ceases to look out into the universe, ceases to grow & ceases to advance; stagnation, mechanisation and a slide into decadence. It's a theme of many of Clark's books but this one doesn't quite hit the mark. The inhabitants of the city (of the title) have immortality, freedom from all phyiscal needs and the elimination of crime, disease & all social ills. This lack of strife eliminates all desires for expansion but also eliminates everything you can hang a story off!
The obvious comparision is "Childhood's End" which deals with the end of Man in a much better and more interesting way.
It could have been a performance. There's no emotional content and the variation between characters was attempted by varying the squeekiness of the reader's voice in subtle shades.
The book describes one man's struggle to break Man out of the decandent Nirvana he has trapped himself in. To prevent spoiling the plot, any follow up book could only be his continuing struggle to break Man out or Man's attempt to break back in! The book is a message not a story & having delivered the message, it's done where it is.
The story is a classic of science fiction, but the unprofessional narrators are not worthy of Arthur C. Clarke's vision. Children might still enjoy it, as they might not be so bothered by the amateur sounding performers.
This book is the progenitor of any number of science fiction stories involving escape from a highly controlled city in the far future. Logan's Run and Alastair Reynold's Terminal World are just a couple of examples of its influence.
A better choice for narrator would have been John Lee, who narrates the Alastair Reynold's science fiction novels so well.
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