- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: Berkley Pub Group; Reprint edition (Dec 1 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: 6 customer reviews
The Sentinel Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1 1986
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
". . . this collection amply demonstrates Clarke's strengths -- expert storytelling, exciting science, rich characterizations . . . Clarke's humanism and sympathy for mystical concepts are apparent".
-- Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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"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.
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. The simple idea at its core is that it is by increasing our knowledge and developing our technological prowess that we will become superior beings, even gods. The geologist sagely worries, as must anyone who recalls the Fall of Man and the Tower of Babel, that the beings who left behind this early warning signal may even be jealous of our advances and may not be all that happy to find that they finally have company. Like all of the best tales of the fantastic, The Sentinel, though ostensibly about the future, illuminates the very mundane concerns we've always had about the nature of our being and our role in the order of things.
GRADE : A
* 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.
* 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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