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[ Read Online ] The Songs of Distant EarthAuthor Arthur C. Clarke –

Just A Few Islands In A Planetwide Ocean, Thalassa Was A Veritable Paradise Home To One Of The Small Colonies Founded Centuries Before By Robot Mother Ships When The Sun Had Gone Nova And Mankind Had Fled EarthMesmerized By The Beauty Of Thalassa And Overwhelmed By Its Vast Resources, The Colonists Lived An Idyllic Existence, Unaware Of The Monumental Evolutionary Event Slowly Taking Place Beneath Their SeasThen The Magellan Arrived In Orbit Carrying One Million Refugees From The Last, Mad Days On Earth And Suddenly Uncertainty And Change Had Come To The Placid Paradise That Was Thalassa A fable about two societies in which the one who managed to emerge in a far away panthalassic planet called Thalassa from human and contemporary creatures seed ships which were sent by Earth People to nearby various habitable planetary systems in case they didn t make it before the sun goes into Nova, and the other society who had sent the seed ships in the first place who managed not to annihilate amidst the chaos and chose to wander the stars from the solar system to furthering the survival of human species and on their way to their destiny, they had a stint at Thalassa and that is all it s about.I felt the storyline and the briefing very different from what I d experienced from his previous works Rendezvous with Rama, Childhood s End as this work primarily deals with the socio psychological contents attributed to our conscious and subconscious ponderings I do have a favorite chapter which is about discussing God It is really fun and intriguing to know such perceptions especially on these kinds of stuff Poignant tales that could remind the humble beginnings of life who ever tried to understand such history and I ve been feeling that the time spent with it, is worth spending. When Clarke dealt with science, he was brilliant When Clarke dealt with sociology and the nature of man as he did in this work, he did not shine so brightly If you want to know what an atheist thinks mankind could or would be if he could just rid himself of all that cumbersome superstition aka religion and morality and also shed all his violent tendencies including the will to power, then you should read Songs of Distant Earth because that is the main theme of the work You should be warned however that you will be subjected to a portrayal of passionless sexual relationships with essentially no rules within a population of bland characters who lack not only faults like jealousy but also interesting qualities like enthusiasm and ambition The bit about them discovering what might be intelligent life in their ocean felt like a nod to the idea of the Prime Directive worked in to add a bit science fiction to what is essentially a handbook on how to achieve utopia by assisting the evolution of the species. As a fan of both science fiction and Arthur C Clarke, I must admit that I was disappointed with this book.There were some positive aspects to this book The writing style is characteristic of Clarke with it s convincing descriptions of science fiction worlds and technology There is also a fairly convincing romantic relationship that developed in the story I especially enjoyed how this relationship was not of the usual sort but rather based on post WW2 progressive liberal notions of sexual freedom On Thalassa the sexual and romantic aspects of a relationship were severable Clarke convinced me that this was viable at least on Thalassa.The negative aspects of this book circle around the book s plot, which follows SPOILERScientists haphazardly come upon a new type of radiation, which informs humanity of the impending destruction of the Sun fortunately for Earthlings several thousands of years beforehand Humanity is able to reorganize its society, develop extraordinary stellar space travel, and achieve a wonderfully enlightened culture As part of this society s efforts to preserve itself, Earth sends colonization probes to various potentially inhabitable planets.One of these probes lands on Thalassa, Greek for ocean by the way, a watery world sporting only three islands, two of which are inhabitable and colonized This society develops into a progressive wonderland where sex is free, democracy is truly democratic, education and healthcare are universal and irrational violence is unknown All is very characteristic of science fiction scapes The book essentially chronicles the consequences of when Earth s final refugee vehicle on its way to a distant star stops on Thalassa both because the starship needs ice from the planet s oceans to rebuild a shield against stellar debris and because Thalassa s transponder was long ago destroyed by the planet s volcano leading Earth to believe that the probe s colonization had failed and left Thalassa untouched by humanity In short, the planet and the starship mingle and revel in the exchange of culture and information yet boil in predictable but unproductive conflict After an arduous cooperative effort to reconstruct the ice shield for the starship, the ship s crew prepares to leave for their original voyage to the distant star The ship does in fact disembark and the fates of the crew and the planet are never to cross again because of interstellar relativistic travel mumbo jumbo The End.That was the plot Somewhere in the middle of all of this, there was something weird about ocean dwelling Lobster creatures These creatures might have had intelligence, society and culture but Clarke just doesn t tell us We are led on by the major part of the middle part of this book to think that these lobsters were fantastical and worthy of our suspense but Clarke just doesn t explain any part of it well enough I remember thinking that just maybe these creatures belong somewhere in the plot maybe just maybe I should care about all of this So you could have just added the following footnote to my summary above Footnote On Thalassa existed some potentially intelligent life that seemed to resemble lobsters which farmed sea kelp, collected shiny objects and had some sort of societal organization If you like science fiction, skip this book and enjoy one of Clarke s better stories such as Childhood s End or the Odyssey series Note also that Clarke wrote this originally during the 1950 s as a short story I believe that it should have stayed that way This was one of those books that you could just barely keep reading and one whose final pages were you counting so you could put the book down and pick up the next book that teases you from the bookshelf iPad. Lo mejor del libro es la sinopsis. It is an OK book, but I must admit I was left slightly disappointed by it In truth, I was expecting something much remarkable and less forgettable by one of the creators of the Space Odyssey masterpiece The characters are bland, there is no trace of the sense of awe and of epic exploration of a beautiful and enigmatic Cosmos that so pervaded Space Odyssey, and the society of Thalassa bored me to tears The plot feels incompletely developed there are some interesting and promising themes, but none of them are developed in enough detail The finale is also quite underwhelming.On the positive side, the psychological aspects related to the very long time frame required by interstellar travel are explored in some depth and with some interesting insights, and the author does not indulge into too much unscientific speculation the quantum drive engine is quite cool.Overall a decently written, pretty pleasant read, with some interesting insights, but nothing earth shattering A good piece of science fiction, overall, but I could not see here much of the creative genius that was so visible in the Space Odyssey series I think that in a few months time I will have completely forgotten this book 2.5 stars rounded up to 3. I was vaguely disappointed when I finished this book, but I am not exactly sure why The story was mostly interesting, and yet never captivated me like others of Clarke s have done It felt a little jumbled, bouncing around from here to there, and yet that could just be my state of mind these days I may not feel the same about the book if I re read some day when my own life is not bouncing around.Thalassa is a planet that was colonized by robot ships when the Sun was close to going nova But even though that had been centuries in the past, suddenly there arrives a starship with millions of people from Earth on it most of them in cryogenic sleep Thanks to the discovery of quantum drive, all of these people were unexpectedly able to escape into space and are on their way to a planet called Sagan Two But they need to rebuild their heat shield, which is really a big block of ice So they spend a year or two on Thalassa.Relationships develop, and some of the 150 or so awake crew members want to stay on this lovely small planet instead of continuing their journey Life would be so much easier here How will the captain of the Magellan handle this issue And what are those creatures in the ocean The ones that seem to be tending a plantation of the sea kelp that is their main source of food Are they intelligent in what would be considered a human way Or does it merely seem that way There was an excellent mini lecture about religion by one character, and a few other compelling sections but overall I just couldn t get as worked up over this one as I expected to be I still plan to read Clarke when I have access to a library again, I just don t think I will buy any unless I read them first and can say WOW when I reach the end. This was an interesting novel and contained a sorrowful but essentially hopeful vibe about the future of humanity and of our Earth The thing with Arthur C Clarke were his scientific predictions satellites being the most prominent that he was renowned for The Songs of Distant Earth takes his visionary foresight a step further it is worth mentioning at this stage that I have only read a barebone fraction of his massive amount of literature and short stories, but had grown up with his Television programs as a child, such as Mysterious World during the early 1980 s, and of course the seminal 2001 joint collaboration with Kubrick , this time about future space exploration, the colonisation of new planets many light years away from a dying Earth, Quantum Drives which he never really explains in the short book, but hides that away as saying no one really understood how they worked on the space ship Magellan either , and really just about the survival of Human culture, art, music love and emotions too and so on The premise of the novel is this The Earth is going to go super nova around 3600AD, so mankind sends out cryogenically frozen people in seeder ships to colonise other planets Some succeed, some are lost, but one that survives starts inhabiting another far distant planet called Thalassa Cue the Magellan Before the Earths Sun goes nova, the remnants of humanity finally develop a Quantum Drive, which allows faster than light travel, about 100 years before extinction The Magellan, containing about a million frozen people, arrive at Thalassa on their way to colonise another planet called Sagan 2, to reinforce their shield made from ice to shield the ship from space dust , many hundred of years after the original seeder ship arrived The Thalassans have created their own island based society, away from all of previous humanities influences, hence they have become a peaceful, loving, egalitarian society with no hangovers from the Earths past, such as religion or warfare It is a veritable Utopia, almost The crew of the Magellan ask the islanders for assistance with the production of ice for the repairs for the ship, and start to mingle with, what is essentially their elders who left earth around 2700AD The intermingling with the islanders and the awakened members of the ship is the books main theme, detailing romances, emotions, the passing of knowledge from both islanders and the ships crew, free love and other quite progressive themes Of note, Aldous Huxley wrote a book called The Island , that deals with a Utopian society which, if my memory serves, is very similar to Thalassa, or at least I gained that impression.I liked the future science that Clarke, in one of his visionary states of mind, waxes lyrical about He actually prophesies mass data storage, holding all the worlds knowledge in terabytes of data holding a million books between thumb and forefinger Kindle anyone , the development in the Earths final century of its existence of the Quantum Drive that only a very few scientists understood how it actually worked, I do not think even Clarke knew , space elevators and so on So whilst, and for what Clarke was known for, the Songs of Distant Earth covers future science the book was written in 1986 but based on a much older short story he wrote in the 1950s , it also covers social aspects such as the eradication of organised religion on Earth around 2100AD, and goes into some depth with a crew member trying to explain to a Thalassan the concept of the Alpha and Omega God , Alpha being the personal God , that ended up being incorporated into religion which led to conflicts, and the Omega God the creationist belief in the formation of the Universe The Thalassans do not have any organised belief structure on their islands hence no conflict, the book seems to suggest I found it an interesting book, containing some progressive visionary themes The ending is quite emotional, whereby when the Magellan finishes the repairs and heads onto Sagan 2 to colonise and terraform that planet it is 300 light years away , some of the personal relationships that had been developed between the islanders and the ships crew have to end I found it quite a sorrowful but I think a positive ending If you really want to get into the books theme deeper, then it is worth checking out Mike Oldfields of Tubular Bells fame album of the same name, which is quite an interesting concept album based on the book 4 stars for being a visionary science fiction read. Sci fi lit geeks tend, I ve learned, to fall into one of two categories Asimov fans, or Clarke fans I loved the Foundation trilogy as a kid, but this simple novel even with its fairly bland characters was so delicate and sad that it launched me firmly into the Clarke camp, and not just because there was a pony in it. I decided that one of my favorite thing about Clarke s books read 6 so far is his faith in human kind I enjoy his utopias he obviously envisioned we will achieve with further development of technology Some readers say nothing happens in this book even his other books I think those are completely missing the beauty of his opus Miracles of unbeliavable vision happen The Utopia of Thalassa and yet so realistic and the last Millenia of Earth are stories withing a story And of course the scientific phenonmena and theories are explained that s what happens Wish i could share some of the many passages I underlined on my Kindle, but i am writing this from my phone Maybe another time Anyway, just like all his books I read so far well worth a read.