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EXPEDITION TO EARTH [Mass Market Paperback]

Arthur C. Clarke
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 12 1979
A collection of Arthur C. Clarke's short stories with a new preface by the author. The last story in the volume, "The Sentinel", was the basis for the film, "2001: A Space Odyssey".
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

There are many ways to recapture the sheer fun that science fiction was back when it wasn't even a bit respectable and the idea that Arthur C. Clarke would one day be Sir Arthur was more or less inconceivable. One of the best ways is to go back to a classic short story collection like this, with its bitterly ironic title story of archaeology and its misunderstandings--the classic "Breaking Strain" in which two spacemen struggle over supplies that will do for one--and "The Sentinel," the story that acted as the seed for the late Stanley Kubrick's collaboration with Clarke, 2001.

Clarke always had a more delicate and poetic side, and this collection includes one of his finest stories along this vein, "Second Dawn," in which telepathically gifted aliens without hands deal with the moral dilemmas of science. Many of the stories address a Space Age that never was--Clarke was assuming that things would happen later than they did, but that more would follow quicker; this in itself gives the book charm as an add-on to its considerable conceptual wit. Few short story collections are SF classics, but this is a major exception. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"In his fiction he thinks at once like a poet and like an engineer--and writes, at his best, like an angel."

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection of Short Stories July 6 2000
There are 11 short stories in this collection and all of them are truly exceptional but 3 really stand out. The first of course is "Sentinel" which is the basis for the movie and eventually the book, "2001" "Breaking Strain" is a great book discussing the moral implications of two men trapped alone in a space ship when it is quite obvious that if there was only one of them they could survive. With interesting commentary on how people live under pressure and what actions they take, this is an exceptional piece of work. But my favorite is probably "Second Dawn" this story discusses what happens to a group of aliens without hands but with enormous mental powers when they encounter a group of aliens with hands. The interaction of the civilizations and cultures is well described, and though I think Clarke may be taking too friendly an approach to such a meeting it would be nice if all civilizational clashes resolved this way. Overall this book shows that once again Clarke has proven himself a master of the science fiction genre. Though it should be warned that Clarke's writing style is very "hard" in other words he definitely emphasizes technological capability over character development. That being said I think this collections contains some of his best character sketches yet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Several Great Stories Jan. 1 2001
This book shows why Arthur C. Clarke is a great writer. As the quotation on the front of the book so aptly puts it "In his fiction he thinks at once like a poet and like an engineer-and writes, at his best, like an angel". Indeed. Of the stories in this collection, several stand out. Superiority was issued as required reading at MIT's Engineering courses after publication. "If I Forget Thee On Earth..." is a nice short piece that is in Freshman Literature books. The Sentinel, was, of course, the "inspiration" for 2001. Second Dawn and Exile of the Eons are two other good stories in here. But my personal favorite from this collection is History Lesson, a seemingly very serious story with a last sentence that will have you howling with laughter. Typical Clarke wit. This is a nice book for the ACC fan.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing first effort Aug. 11 1999
By Craig
This is the first Arthur C. Clarke book I've read, and I was disappointed. Clarke writes traditional "hard" science fiction and, sadly, the science aspects of his work outweighed the narrative and emotional aspects. I just did not find these stories very imaginative ("Second Dawn" would have been very good except for the melodramatic warning against atomic bombs at the end).
Even when viewed in historical perspective, this collection of stories does not compare with Clarke's contemporaries, such as Asimov or Niven. The only real gem was "The Sentinel", which served as the inspriration for the movie (and novel) 2001: A Space Odyssey.
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