ONE BILLION YEARS FROM NOW Mankind has reached the heights of civilization Men live thousands of years in perfect freedom and leisure their wants are attended to by ingenoius machines peace and culture flourish in ways undreramed of in our time And yet mankind is dying The price of peace has been the loss of the needed human qualities of curiosity and drive they have been bred out of the human race So when young Alvin of Diaspar began asking questions, he was looked on as a dangerous freak, a throwback But Alvin kept asking, kept looking, kept seeking out the truth and what he found offered his people a dreadful choice battle and destruction, or a new and richer destiny


10 thoughts on “Against the Fall of Night

  1. Terry Terry says:

    3 3.5 starsHundreds of thousands of years ago millions of years after our own benighted age the Earth suffered a tragic loss in battle with beings known only as the Invaders and the apparently last remnant of humanity sits behind the majestic walls of the final human city Diaspar Here they while away their immortal days, a society of lotus eaters tended by the greatest machines ever conceived by humankind, living in pleasure, but also fear Fear of the unknown, fear of the wasteland outs 3 3.5 starsHundreds of thousands of years ago millions of years after our own benighted age the Earth suffered a tragic loss in battle with beings known only as the Invaders and the apparently last remnant of humanity sits behind the majestic walls of the final human city Diaspar Here they while away their immortal days, a society of lotus eaters tended by the greatest machines ever conceived by humankind, living in pleasure, but also fear Fear of the unknown, fear of the wasteland outside their walls, fear of the future From time to time there has arisen among them a mind not founded on this culture of fear and indifference, but rather one prone to curiosity, courage and insight Such a mind belongs to Alvin of Loronei, the last child to be born in the city of immortals, and a young man who thirsts for knowledge and adventure.Clarke crafts an exciting, and lyrically written, dying earth story in which young Alvin must overcome the obstacles of his own people and face even greater challenges in the wider world Ultimately the fate of humanity and its future should it have one will rest on his decisions I don t want to give too much away and spoil the story, for much of the enjoyment comes from learning the truths, and falsehoods, of Alvin s world through his own investigations Suffice it to say that there is much humanity of the final eras has to learn about itself and its history and Alvin s actions are likely to spell either a great new era in their development, or the final sputtering out of their dying life force.I have never read anything by Arthur C Clarke, but didn t expect this My impression was that he was a muchhard sf kind of writer,interested in true science and plausible extrapolations of it, but here we have a lyrically written fable of humanity s far future days of decline True, elements of science or super science are important to the story, but they don t outweigh the emotional elements of the tale, which are really what carry it forward There is also a significant smattering of pseudo science elements that I found interesting I enjoyed the story, but sometimes Alvin seemed a little too competent perhaps a smattering of the John Cambellesque hero here and I m not sure if I ever believed he wouldn t overcome the obstacles placed before him, but the future history Clarke has painted for mankind is an interesting one and this is definitely a worthy entry into one of my favourite sub genres of sci fi


  2. Karl Karl says:

    This hardcover edition is copy 40 of 250 produced and is signed by Bob Eggleton who did the artwork.


  3. Kirstine Kirstine says:

    I think of this book, and I see something like this in my head I m not joking I read this and I imagined something that colorful and bright Reading it was like being in a picture like that, you know, like smack in the middle of one of those retro sci fi covers It was quite something The world building is phenomenal Everything stood out in vivid colors, the landscapes, the buildings, the cities Yes, everything seemed extremely well developed, except the characters.The characters fell fl I think of this book, and I see something like this in my head I m not joking I read this and I imagined something that colorful and bright Reading it was like being in a picture like that, you know, like smack in the middle of one of those retro sci fi covers It was quite something The world building is phenomenal Everything stood out in vivid colors, the landscapes, the buildings, the cities Yes, everything seemed extremely well developed, except the characters.The characters fell flat As if all the energy had been poured into imagining and describing the surroundings, and creating the story Which is a shame, because it s a very interesting novel that digs into issues that are relevant today and will continue to be relevant for a long time to come It s the divide of nations, of people, of cultures In this book this divide hasfar reaching consequences than today, but it still serves to prove a point However, stories are told through characters, and the characters in this book could have been muchinteresting and complex Especially considering some of the choices they re facing It makes the whole thing seem a lot less important than it really is, and that s an awful waste, because it means we might not look upon it or ponder it as seriously as we should.Still, I m happy to have read it Happy to have immersed myself into such a classic science fiction story It s exactly the kind of story one might come up with, if one were looking at the picture above and trying to write something down And I love that I love that someone could write something that fits the picture I have of classic science fiction And that a book could create as images as strong and colorful as this one has done In that it s a very beautiful book


  4. Evan Evan says:

    Read this one rather than his later rewrite The City and the Stars Deep future always works better as poetry, and you can t clutter up poetry with too many details the bare prose and simple exposition which Clarke later abandoned make a clean frame for this lovely story.That spooky feeling you got when the time traveler in HG Wells disembarks into the silent garden of the Sphinx at twilight This is a whole book of that It s also an antiquarian mystery, an essay on the implications of dee Read this one rather than his later rewrite The City and the Stars Deep future always works better as poetry, and you can t clutter up poetry with too many details the bare prose and simple exposition which Clarke later abandoned make a clean frame for this lovely story.That spooky feeling you got when the time traveler in HG Wells disembarks into the silent garden of the Sphinx at twilight This is a whole book of that It s also an antiquarian mystery, an essay on the implications of deep time, a theological fantasia, and a muted, sublimated love story.Set aside a winter evening Brew some tea Banish the outside world, and read this in a single sitting


  5. Igor Ljubuncic Igor Ljubuncic says:

    DNF at about 50% mark.This book is a coming of age story taking place on Planet Earth, 10 billion AD.Slow, very naive and beautifully written Having read a lot of Clarke as a kid, at least I remembered the writing correctly Clarke s style wouldn t be out of place even today, which is very nice, and the way he tells the story does not age The only problem is the story is a bit wrong.The assumption that humans would still live on Earth in 10 billion years is wrong to begin with Everyth DNF at about 50% mark.This book is a coming of age story taking place on Planet Earth, 10 billion AD.Slow, very naive and beautifully written Having read a lot of Clarke as a kid, at least I remembered the writing correctly Clarke s style wouldn t be out of place even today, which is very nice, and the way he tells the story does not age The only problem is the story is a bit wrong.The assumption that humans would still live on Earth in 10 billion years is wrong to begin with Everything about it, to say nothing of the evolutionary change of the species And yet, they print on paper, even though the planet is desolate, and they talk about old times But the thing is, Clarke chose a time frame that simply cannot support his otherwise relatively realistic sci fi He was always keen on not pushing it with technobabble, which is why airport style walkways and underground trains traveling at only a few hundred km h the book uses imperial units, golly sounds rather weird for such a distant future Then, you have the concepts of language, culture and technology.But that could be excused except the plot is a bit slow Like most books of this time, it takes too long to develop Then, you get some rather Star Trek village cum planet retro tech tribe cultures added into the mix, which complicate the plausability of the story even .Not bad, really Just not too exciting Slow Somewhat predictable.Better than Ubik that I read in parallel and also reviewed just now, however, it s not a particularly engaging piece of work Sort of average, and so I decided to stop If you liked loved Clarke at any point in your life, you might want to try this, but if your reading preferences have changed, like mine have, ergo less patience and a desire for faster,complicated, character driven plots, you won t enjoy this one too much.Igor


  6. Checkman Checkman says:

    An early effort by Arthur C Clarke An entertaining and fast read, but not a very complex story Actually if Sir Clarke had written it just a little differently I would classify it as a Young Adult dystopian novel, but as it stands it s basically a Golden Age science fiction story Our hero is cut from the old pulp fiction stories Intelligent, brave, lucky and fortunate enough to come across technology that functions with no need for our protagonist to actually learn how to operate it or at le An early effort by Arthur C Clarke An entertaining and fast read, but not a very complex story Actually if Sir Clarke had written it just a little differently I would classify it as a Young Adult dystopian novel, but as it stands it s basically a Golden Age science fiction story Our hero is cut from the old pulp fiction stories Intelligent, brave, lucky and fortunate enough to come across technology that functions with no need for our protagonist to actually learn how to operate it or at least with just minimal effort telepathy is always a popular one Basically the tech functions like magic and with it our hero overcomes all obstacles Interestingly enough advanced tech that works like magic is the third of Sir Clarke s three laws, but that s really not the point though it is fun isn t it So an interesting classic science fiction novella that will probably come across as being a bit simplistic to a reader in 2017A Bit of Trivia One last thing for fans of Sir Clarke s fiction There are recurring themes through much of his work of the inevitably of time and the evolution of Humanity to a higher place Those themes show up in this novella as well Just a little bit of fun


  7. Baelor Baelor says:

    Wow This was my introduction to Arthur C Clarke, and to say that it has piqued my curiosity in the author would be an understatement More like kindled a fire using fuel that I never new I possessed.A few notes are in order 1 This review does not factor in Clarke s re write, The City and the Stars, at all.2 This book was written in 1948 This blew me away it does not feel dated at all and reads like it could have been written today Given the massive leaps forward in science since then, t Wow This was my introduction to Arthur C Clarke, and to say that it has piqued my curiosity in the author would be an understatement More like kindled a fire using fuel that I never new I possessed.A few notes are in order 1 This review does not factor in Clarke s re write, The City and the Stars, at all.2 This book was written in 1948 This blew me away it does not feel dated at all and reads like it could have been written today Given the massive leaps forward in science since then, this is a remarkable achievement.Now, onto the review Against the Fall of Night centers on Alvin, the youngest member of the city of Diaspar Diaspar is the last remnant of human civilization on Earth, the lone oasis in a literal world desert The city has been in an extended period of stagnation, with apparently no significant changes in hundreds of millions of years This is largely due to the apathy of its citizens, who have lost all curiosity over their seemingly eternal lifespans Alvin, however, is an exception, and his inquisitive mind pushes him forward, at great risk to the order of Diaspar Clarke s prose is delightful It is not flowery or discernibly poetic, but it has a grace and vigor that is lacking in science fiction Consider the opening sentence Not once in a generation did the voice of the city change as it was changing now Or a brief description of the Council of Diaspar s fear He had put his finger on their secret fear, the fear that he had never shared and whose power he could therefore never understand Clarke s descriptions are brief straightforward although this Classics major did appreciate the wonderfully appropriate reference to Odysseus, complete with Homeric epithets , but this merely proves Clarke s skill, since he evokes a sense of wonder and feeling with little recourse to extended similes When they do occur, they are effectively used, and are often the perceptions of the characters themselves e.g view spoiler the machine room hide spoiler Clarke s style possesses an elegance and beauty that is manifest even in his earliest work.In Against the Fall of Night, we encounter questions of direction evolution, urbanity v nature, intellectual curiosity, life in the universe, exploration, religion and philosophy, isolationism, cultural stagnation, the dangers of science, corporeality and consciousness, the immensity of the universe spatial and temporal , history and the recording thereof, transitions in human history, andThe themes of synthesis the Golden Mean and the importance of human drive predominate, but all the others appear This all occurs in around 200 pages What makes Clarke s novella so successful is that none of these themes feels underdeveloped While some are merely tangential to the primary story arc, they are discussed and contextualized in Clarke s future Earth, and so feel both integral and necessary components to his beautiful whole The reader is left with a desire to knowabout this world, but it is a positive desire Clarke has so competently built this world that we want to knowabout it the negative alternative being that we want to knowbecause we know too little to enjoy the story Clarke leaves much to the imagination, but never too much.I have read in other reviews that a flaw of the book is the lack of character development Evenegregious are the claims of nonexistent or inconsistent characterization The second is simply absurd the characters are provided realistic personalities, and at no point was there an out of character moment Alvin, for example, is driven, curious, but also arrogant, rash, and egotistical Is this not an expected outcome of his singular inquisitiveness in an apathetic city without pain or suffering and thus with no need for forethought I see no contradiction, no inconsistency.On the subject of character development, it is true that development is not the point of Against the Fall of Night But that is not an inherent problem Do I read Milton in order to ponder issues of technology and human evolution Do I read a Raymond Carver story in order to be taken on a fantastic voyage Character development is not a requirement for every work it is merely one element upon which the author may choose to focus Further, I would argue that development does occur Rorden, the Keeper of the Records of Diaspar, undergoes a remarkable change in outlook as he learnsabout the history that is his job to guard, as does Jeserac, Alvin s tutor While we are not privy to extended internal monologs about every decision, the characters are still people, not flimsy constructs The fact that Clarke manages even this given the brevity of his story is astounding Against the Fall of Night is a remarkable achievement It is full of wonder and hope It is written beautiful It is thought provoking and visionary The characters are realistic It remains relevant It leaves us wanting , but it gives us enough In brief, read it


  8. Trice Trice says:

    I found this in a random place in my school s reference room and jumped on it English language books are difficult to find here unless they re well known classics, and sci fi books are among the rarest to come across, so I was excited I was especially excited to see it was a Clarke book I had discovered as I ve previously read 2 of his books,


  9. Jake Jake says:

    The Prologue to Arthur C Clarke s Against the Fall of Night is so mesmerizing I thought I might have another


  10. Dee Dee says:

    I likely read a Clarke novel long ago, probably because my father recommended it It was not this novel This novel, once I started it, turned out to be not one of Clarke s best You don t have to take my word for it nod to Levar Burton D many others have also listed this as a not so great representation of the great Arthur C Clarke s work It took me a month to get through this book, partly because in between, I read another book and a graphic novel, partly to simply break the monotony of I likely read a Clarke novel long ago, probably because my father recommended it It was not this novel This novel, once I started it, turned out to be not one of Clarke s best You don t have to take my word for it nod to Levar Burton D many others have also listed this as a not so great representation of the great Arthur C Clarke s work It took me a month to get through this book, partly because in between, I read another book and a graphic novel, partly to simply break the monotony of Clarke s storytelling.For one thing, there is very little action Literally years can go by in the book with the characters only reading and talking While this may sound like an introvert s happy place, it made for long draggy pages where you desperately kept hoping for something to happen, only to be disappointed over and over There is some world building though one find s themselves confused that the story takes place on an Earth many thousands of years into the future There are long passages where the world is described and lofty recountings of history but because that history for the reader is the future, it was hard to fathom and picture sometimes.When the book was about 80% over, some action happened It got exciting Things were found, space travel happened Then it ground to a halt and frankly, the book ended but left me full of questions and confusion, not to mention an overall feeling of being incredibly cheated.Maybe Clarke intended for the book to pose philosophical wonderings in the reader They were lost on me, which may not be the case for everyone I at times miss very subtle symbolism in stories, especially when the contents of the story overall are ponderous and prose driven