Beyond Fall of Night

Arthur Charles Clarke, Author, Gregory Benford, Author
Arthur Charles Clarke, Author, Gregory Benford, Author Putnam Publishing Group $19.95 (298p) ISBN 978-0-399-13499-9
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
One of Clarke's early novels, Against the Fall of Night , has long been recognized as among his very best; the tale of a young man's need to escape from the limits of the last cities on Earth, it combines the author's scientific know-how with his yen for mysticism and metaphysics. This new book unites the first volume with a sequel penned by noted scientist Benford ( Timescape ), whose work has often been compared to Clarke's. Benford's story takes place many years later: Earth is now under siege by the ``Mad Mind,'' a being of pure mentality created by a much earlier galactic Empire. Cley, last of the seemingly primitive ``Ur-humans,'' initially refuses to help Alvin, Clarke's hero, in battle. But she begins to view her role differently with the aid of Seeker, a furry ``raccoon-creature'' whose species avows ``a respect for evolution and one's place in it.'' Although Benford's unflagging inventiveness will both delight and outrage fans of the original work, ultimately the sequel proves a let-down. Benford seems hindered by having to emulate Clarke's simpler and less contemporary style, and ends up using a number of tangential events to explore his own scientific concerns. Science Fiction Book Club main selection, Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (July)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!