The City and the Stars
2 journalers for this copy...
One one hand, it's beautifully written and the description of this far-future world bring it vividly to life. Alvin's actions are huge for this world - a bringing together of the two remaining human cultures and a better understanding of the past.
On the other hand, for the reader, not a lot actually happens. First we have Alvin's exploration of the city and his need to find a way out, which is interesting and exciting. Once he's out and goes to Lys, he meets a different type of human. Then he goes off exploring the wilds and finds an alien and a robot. Then goes off to explore nearby space and finds another creature. Then he comes home.....
Don't get me wrong, it's all very good and a very enjoyable read - you get swept along in Alvin's purpose and can't help but get excited as he finds one new thing after another. But I think that's the problem - discovery after discovery after discovery gets a little tedious - and in the end most of the conciliatory actions of Lys and Diaspor happen off stage while he's gadding about in his space ship.
I do like the ending though. Great that it's all kept open to interpretation - nothing is really solved, but you can imagine how life is going to change for all the remaining humans.
A great piece of imagination - well worth the read.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
This is a pristine copy, 2001 SF Masterworks trade paperback, of the 1956 classic called "Probably his most perfect work" by Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. This was on my list of best classic sf to read.
I can let this go after I read:
1946 Rescue Party (short story) [read 2010]
1949 Hide and Seek (short story) [read 2010]
1949 History Lesson (short story) [read 2012]
1950 The Road to the Sea (short story) [read 2014]
1953 The Possessed (short story) [read 2014]
1953 Childhood's End [read 2011]
1955 The Star [read 2017]
1956 Tales From The "White Hart" [read 2019]
Edit February 24, 2021: I was very astounded by the vast scope of this, looking forward millions of years, and with such outrageous vision about how things would actually be. It is giant leaps ahead of that quaint era's typical extrapolation of a jet-age American superpower into an Empire that is just culturally frozen into silliness only a few decades later. This instead is comparable to some of the stuff Larry Niven and Vernor Vinge cooked up for the future, decades later. Quite impressive. But now that it is over a half century old, it does tend to drag out, and the revelations are not quite as mind-blowing as they would have been in the Eisenhower era. But still, it got me to slow down a bit in my usual skimming, and to re-read some passages that made me go whoa. Overall, it is a masterpiece, and I currently have this ranked at #289 on my ranked list of best-read books lately.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
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