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Review: The Songs of Distant Earth

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The Songs of Distant EarthThe Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Date read: 27 January – 4 February 2018

I picked this book as an introduction to Sir Arthur C Clarke because a) It is not a series b) Wiki says that it’s the author’s favourite. I had high expectation and honestly a little bit scared that I would be a convert, that I would prefer him than my current favourite of the big three, Isaac Asimov (I haven’t read any of Heinlein’s books).

And I was no traitor. Until half of the book I was the loyal Asimov fan. It was not bad, it just seemed ordinary. It made me wonder whether I should have gone with his other book.

Starting the second half, I started to appreciate the way the story was told. If it was a drawing, i think it would be a dotted picture. There’s a tiny gap between chapters which I find enjoyable.

One part of the story told about how most men would abandon religion in 2400ish because the great good it had done being eclipsed by greater evils. Now I’m wondering if there’s any sf works that portrays good thing about religion in the space travel time. Because I only remember the religious extremist group in second book of Honor Harrington series. I have read The Left Hand of Darkness, would there be some there? I don’t remember, should reread the book.

Coming to the end, really, it is only near the end of the book I realize that I love many things in this book:

  • how the story could be told in form of imaginative dialogue to the dead wife
  • the idea of how human grow as a race where there’s no God introduced from the beginning (the Talassan are very peaceful)
  • the idea of meeting fellow human from another centuries through indirect time travel
  • the heartbreaking end that seems really appropriate

Though I’m not a convert, my love for Clarke had grown to a four star and a promise to read his other books.

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Written by Elfira Y S

February 9th, 2018 at 10:00 pm

Posted in my bookshelves