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The Sentinel Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1986

4 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group (Mm); Reprint edition (December 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425093891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425093894
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
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Product Description

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This version of The Sentinel is subtitled the 2001 Anniversary Edition, and to be pedantic one might ask, what anniversary? Rather more accurately, this is an edition for the intersection of the calendar with SF history, the most memorable date in fiction since 1984. "The Sentinel" is a short story, written in 1948 and only 11 pages long, renowned for providing a starting point for the greatest science fiction film ever made, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey:

So they left a sentinel, one of millions they have scattered throughout the Universe, watching over all the worlds with a promise of life.
There are eight other stories, each introduced by the author, who also contributes a substantial forward. The tales, illustrated with 11 excellent full-page black and white drawings by Lebbus Woods, span the length of Clarke's career as a professional short story writer, from 1945's "Rescue Party" to 1971's Nebula Award-winning "A Meeting With Medusa". This story forms a bridge of sorts between 2001 and 2010: Odyssey Two, which was as Clarke writes, "in some ways ... also a sequel to this story". As a wonder-filled tale of a meeting with the truly alien in the clouds of Jupiter it is unsurpassed. The book concludes with the original outline for a possible second SF film with Stanley Kubrick. The film wasn't made, but the outline became one of Clarke's most beautiful novels, The Songs of Distant Earth. This is essential reading, though dedicated fans will probably opt for the complete Collected Stories. --Gary S. Dalkin --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


'Clarke is one of the greatest imaginative writers of hard science fiction' New Scientist 'Arthur Clarke is one of the true geniuses of our time' Ray Bradbury 'Arthur C. Clarke is the prophet of the space age' The Times 'A one-man literary Big Bang, Clarke has originated his own vast and teeming futurist universe' Sunday Times '3001 is not just a page-turner, plugged in to the great icons of HAL and the monoliths, but a book of wisdom too, pithy and provocative' New Scientist 'Arthur C. Clarke is blessed with one of the most astounding imaginations ever encountered in print' New York Times 'One of the truly prophetic figures of the space age... the colossus of science fiction' New Yorker --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book contains nine short science fiction stories written by Arthur C. Clarke in the early part of his career. They are a good sample of the themes of his larger body of writing. Two stories here were later expanded into full-length novels. "The Sentinel" became 2001: A Space Odyssey and "Guardian Angel" became Childhood's End. My three favorites are described below.

"Guardian Angel" follows the careful communications between Earth's representative and the leader of an alien delegation that has come to help us. As always, the devil's in details.

"Breaking Strain" is an interesting contrast to Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" published in 1954. It was written in 1948. Two spacefarers traveling to Venus survive a meteor strike to find their reserve oxygen gone--leaving not enough for both of them to reach their destination.

"The Sentinel" tells of an unexplained alien artifact uncovered on the Moon. As all Earth wonders who made this object, it creates quite an outcry.

The stories in this book are recommended as well-written and entertaining. I agree with another reviewer's recommendation to read them in The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke along with more stories by this science fiction Master.
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Format: Paperback
In 1948, Arthur C. Clarke submitted a short story, The Sentinel, to a BBC contest; which he did not win. However, the story was published in the Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader in 1951, and in 1964 he returned to the story and began expanding it into a novel. He and the filmmaker Stanley Kubrick used this as the basis for a movie script which, in 1968, became 2001 : A Space Odyssey; for which both received Oscar nominations.
Especially considering the opacity for which the movie is notorious, the story is remarkably spare and straightforward. The narrator, a lunar geologist, recalls cooking sausage one morning at a research base on the Moon, when the rising sun revealed a metallic glimmer on the rock wall of Mare Crisium. He and a compatriot climbed the crater rim and found :
[A] roughly pyramidal structure, twice as high as a man, that was set in the rock like a gigantic, many-faceted jewel.
Though they initially believed it to be a relic of a lost lunar civilization (notice it is much different than the black obelisks which were eventually used in the movie), they soon realized that it must have been placed there billions of years ago by an advanced race from another planet. It took twenty years, but finally they were able to penetrate a protective shield around the crystal by using atomic upon it. Now they understand the structure to have been a kind of sentinel, waiting to alert the beings who placed it there that finally the human race has achieved a sufficient level of development to be worthy of their notice.
I particularly like the way that this tale, written by a renowned futurist at the dawn of the space age, actually resonates with age old religious concerns.
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Format: Paperback
This book contains some of my favourite short stories by Clarke. The book contains the following stories -
* Rescue Party - I havent read this story before, and found it a bit disappointing. Actually a bit pointless - just an ode to the human race.
* Guardian Angel - this story 'gave birth' to childhood's end. I havent read the book (yet), and have enjoyed the story a lot - especially the little surprise at the end and those parts of the story that show Clarke's scientific background.
* Breaking Strain - this story takes a known theme (which I'll not tell even in short so as not to spoil to those who havent read the story) into space, and the fact that it's somewhat predictable made it too long for my taste.
* The Sentinel - this story gave the inspiration to '2001: A Space Odyssey'. For some strange reason, I've never found a copy of this story in Israel in any stories collection or translation to Hebrew (though 2001 was translated to Hebrew). Though I allready new the plot, I enjoyed this story a lot.
* Jupiter V - I recommend this book just for this story. It's very interesting, and I just couldnt let the book out of my hand till I finished this story.
* Refugee.
* The Wind from the Sun - the idea of ships that sail by solar-wind race each other really caught me.
* A Neeting with Medusa.
* The Songs of Distant Earth - actually, I didnt like this one. I've read the 'none-original' version, and liked it a lot better.
Now that I take regular 1-hour trips by train twice a week and have returned to reading short stories, I'm glad I've found this book - it's very interesting reading, and shows all the good sides of short stories.
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