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HAMMER OF GOD [Hardcover]

Arthur C. Clarke
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 1993
In 2110, when an asteroid enters the solar system on a direct collision course with Earth, it is up to Captain Robert Singh and the crew of the spacecraft Goliath to find a way to avert catastrophe. 100,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Classic SF author Clarke ( 2001: A Space Odyssey ) walks on well-trodden ground with this entertaining but forgettable book. In the early 22nd century, an enormous asteroid is discovered to be on a collision course with the Earth. Humanity, however, is not unprepared, having become an experienced spacefaring race with outposts throughout the solar system. A spaceship, the Goliath , built decades earlier for just such an emergency, is dispatched to deflect the asteroid from its apocalyptic rendezvous. But the mission goes awry, leaving Captain Robert Singh and his crew to find a way to to save the Earth. Clarke writes with dramatic flair, cutting between past and future with dizzying frequency. Nonetheless, the book fails to convey the tension of the situation he has set up. Clarke describes the setting and background with such loving detail that the asteroid seems almost an afterthought, creating a rush of action in the last quarter of the narrative. The characterizations, save for that of Singh, are fairly thin, and Clark's wit occasionally gives the prose a jarring, unintentionally satiric flavor. While this is a fast read, it is not a particularly impressive one.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As an asteroid named "Kali" hurtles toward earth on a collision course that spells the end to life on the planet, a lone spaceship armed with a weapon to alter the asteroid's path attempts to carry out its perilous mission--unaware that others are simultaneously working for earth's destruction. In the capable hands of science fiction veteran Clarke, a standard cosmic disaster plot becomes a lucid commentary on humanity's place in the cosmos. A good choice for science fiction collections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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CAPTAIN ROBERT SINGH ENJOYED THESE WALKS THROUGH THE forest with his little son, Toby. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth-shatteringly great Nov. 25 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Hammer of God, written when Clarke was in his mid-70s, is one of Clarke's absolute best books. It tells the story of a huge planet killer of a rock on its way through space on a collision course with Earth, and the efforts made by humanity to prevent the collision (efforts that are sabotaged by religious fanatics who are convinced that the asteroid, named Kali, is quite literally the "hammer of God," sent to judge mankind for its sins). The Hammer of God has everything you could ever want in a novel: a good story, some suspense, a little action, interesting characters, wit, humour, sex, comments on religion (Clarke has even invented a new religion, called "Chrislam"), and such a wealth of ideas that it would be sufficient for a whole series of novels. It was optioned by Steven Spielberg (who later made "Deep Impact," without any mention of Hammer of God in the credits, though).
The subject matter concerns something that is highly relevant in our time and potentially more important than anything else: the danger from "planet killers," that is, comets or giant asteroids colliding with Earth. This danger has always been pretty much ignored (usually because of complete ignorance) by both common people and, which is a lot worse, the people in power, who really should know better. This book has helped raise the awareness of the danger, and, besides, it's a very enjoyable read. Very highly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Sci-Fi June 19 2002
By rzaster
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is my second novel by Arthur C. Clarke and this book was not bad, but it wasn't as good as other science fiction novels that I have read. "The Hammer of God" would have been much more enjoyable if it was cut down to the size of a novella, or even a short story. The book is very, very heavy on science, which is a wonderful thing as I learned a lot. But ultimately, the book is not as good as it promised to be. Hopefully rhe following will give you an understanding as to why I feel this way.
This novel takes place in 2110 in a future that is very possible. An asteroid that is about the size of the state of Colorado is flying towards Earth and if nothing is done to stop the asteroid mankind on planet Earth will probably be no more. Captain Robert Singh and his crew on the space shuttle "Goliath" have been given the task to steer the asteroid out of its course towards Earth. This plot is very interesting and fun but it takes a very long time to finally get to the good parts.
The whole novel starts off well and Clarke is a very skilled writer so the book is a pleasure to read because of his writing skills. However, during the first half of the book all that you read about are scientific facts, which are fun, but it gets to a point that you want some action and you are not getting any. That is why I think that the book would have been much better if it was cut in half. If this was done their still would have been lots of science in the book and the plot and characters would have been more focused on.
One great thing about the book is all of the scientific facts that are present in the book. You mostly learn about astronomy in the book, but you also learn a little on subjects such as physics and geology.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Arthur C. Clarke takes off on one of the "What If.." postulations that are often used in fiction today. In this case he looks at "What if there was a giant asteroid heading for Earth in the early twenty second century?" The result is an interesting story that ultimately has very little substance to it. Considering the rash of movies and books on this topic, surprisingly little is spent on dealing with the reaction to the situation by people as a whole. The focus is on really one character, and the central plot serves to little change him at the end. More of the feelign seems to be "well, we do what we can do and that's it." I dont' feel that the characters are any better or different people at the end. A bulk of the story is more of Clarke's predictions to future society in terms of social, political and theological changes. The themes are touched up on with the minimalist school of development. A central theme meditating on religion, religious changes and end times is introduced but sorely lacking in fuller utilization. The original souce of the book was an article for Time Magazine, and this feels like the 2nd draft of a growth of it into a novel - the pieces are there but they need to be fleshed out more. An enjoyable and quick read, but ultimately leaves you wishing for a bit more substance.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lacks suspense Aug. 10 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The idea of a meteor, comet or asteroid striking the Earth is an oft recycled plot device in science fiction and it is hard to see why Clarke chose to travel down this well worn path.
As a thriller, this story is a dud. Since it is set in the future when humanity has settled on the Moon and Mars, the human race itself does not face extinction. While the loss of so many people would be a tragedy, it just does not have the same dramatic impact (pun intended) as it would if all of humanity still lived on the Earth.
The Hammer of God does not give us anybody to care about. The only character we really get to know is Robert Singh. No other characters really stand out. It would have made the story much more gripping if it gave us flesh and blood people that we could get to know. Putting Chrislamic saboteurs onboard the Goliath would have added a lot more tension to the story. Alas, there is barely any tension at all and the conclusion of the story is rather anticlimactic.
Where the story does work is its vision of the future. There are also some moments of humor, my favorite being the tale of the Baghdad carpet weaver who breaks wind in front of the Caliph. It is for this reason I give Hammer of God 3 stars instead of 2.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Precursor to collision films
Although Clarke foretold the development of com sats and other scientific innovations by decades, his book "The Hammer of God" lays the groundwork for collision events only... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Geoffrey Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Arthur C. Clarke always has his finger on sci-fi's pulse!
And this book proves it again when early in humanity's twenty-second century, after all "ills" have been more or less taken care of, including starvation, an astronomer... Read more
Published on June 18 2004 by Eric
3.0 out of 5 stars Average book of an average writer
Well, as you can see I am not one of the Clark's fans out there, I rather call myself mindless idiot who brags about the books a lot more than he is worth of :)
I hate to... Read more
Published on June 3 2004 by Matko Vladanovic
3.0 out of 5 stars Should have known better.
I think I don't give the book as much credit as it possibly deserves because of the overload of Earth-In-Path-Of-Asteroid stories that have been abundant the past decade or so. Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2003 by owookiee
2.0 out of 5 stars Will Earth be destroyed? Who cares?
Not a bad idea, but poorly executed.
This books is incredibly dry - full of scientific facts and future history that reads exactly like a history text book. Read more
Published on April 22 2003 by Kristen A. Templet
4.0 out of 5 stars A quicky
This is probably the quickest reads ever. If you just need something to kill an afternoon or something to amuse you on a plane flight, this is it. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars whats going on???
I have a few large problems with this book. One, the length too short the story gets started well is kinda hazy in the middle and picks up strong agian in the end. Read more
Published on April 7 2002 by General Pete
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Much to the Book, but Fun
The Hammer of God is a fast book, and there isn't much to say about it except that. I read this book in less than three hours, and thoroughly enjoyed Clarke's very short chapters... Read more
Published on Dec 28 2001 by Exodus
1.0 out of 5 stars Hammer of Boredom
In the end notes Clarke comments that the original idea for this novel was a short story...unfortunately he then went and fleshed it out to a book. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2001 by Tghu Verd
3.0 out of 5 stars Clarke doesn't make use of the potential this book has
The Hammer of God has tremendous potential for an emotional, dramatic, and exciting story: an asteroid big enough to end civilization hurtles towards the Earth, humanity's only... Read more
Published on June 29 2001 by "p_nye"
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