Compared to rest of book, this portion was completely beyond me. If a reader has understood this part in a way that mere mortals can relate to, I will welcome enlightenment. Much of the life inside Diaspor is magic Potter would find familiar. And could Voldemort do better than be capable of coming back even after being jailed inside a black hole for eons? Incidentally, I don't find anything wrong with this magical world. After all, Diaspor is set a billion years into future; of course we will expect magic!
But that will have to wait a few days. I read this book last week after nearly 15 years and i vividly remember the extremely interesting first half of the story which kept me hooked with its element of mystery - but I can safely say for myself that the second half, from approximately the part when Alvin finds the spaceship and starts jet setting across the galaxy - is rather forgettable and the ending is balderash - if it can be called an ending at all.
Thats a shame because the theme is a beautiful one - very similar to Asimov's works actually and is very well narrated with imagery. I dislike the whole Potter collection and find The City and the Stars wonderful. Vanamonde and Voldemort are not similar at all. Vanamonde is a kind of natural force. Voldemort is a pathetic antagonist with very little intelligence and major lack of common sense. Rowling writes as badly as Clarke writes brilliantly, and the only think they have in common is nationality.
I think Clarke missed out on a chance here.
In the "City" setting, humans are embodied into physical life from stored digital data, and return to that digital oblivion upon death. But while embodied, Diasparians take part in recreational "sagas" -- virtual-reality interactive stories. Why would the long-dead Diaspar planners even bother to embody the digitally stored humans? They could live out their entire lives in a digital Diaspar The "Matrix" movies at least took that concept and ran, partway, with it that has no physical being beyond the computer storage.
All of Diaspar could be some ultra-far-future databank.
Side note: "Beyond the Fall of Night," a sequel of sorts by Gregory Benford to Clarke's proto-"City" story, "Against the Fall of Night," addresses the shape of humanity in the far future; Benford's physical description of Alvin, called a "supra" in this story, reminds me a bit of the big-headed, big-brained villain M.
K in the Jack Kirby Marvel comics. Another character is described as a "ur-human," a preserved genetic form of what the supras think of as regular ol' homo sapiens, though from her description in the book, she seems to be a few hundred thousand years evolved from 21st-century humans. Post a Comment.
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Copyright c by Tinkoo Valia. If these terms are unenforceable in your jurisdiction, you cannot redistribute this content in any form. Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom. Alvin travels to Shalmirane to return the robot, only to find the Old Man dead, with his robots left to forever guard him. Alvin takes his ship into space, towards an abnormal set of stars.
He arrives at the middle star and meets an alien being that is no more than a child but has memories going back further than any human. The alien being, Vanamonde, is convinced that Alvin is the creator it has been waiting for. It follows Alvin home, where people from Lys and Diaspar meet to study it, each using their strengths to learn more about their history. They learn that the history they have known is false.
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Man only reached Persephone when space came to them, and they found species far greater than Man. They learned from them and decided to grow themselves as humanity before exploring space. They spent half a billion years perfecting the ability to live for infinite amount of time, like Diaspar, or with telepathic abilities, like those in Lys. After improving themselves, they tried to create a pure mentality, a being that was free from physical limitations. They succeeded in creating a pure being, but it was insane.
The mentality, called the Mad Mind, almost destroyed the galaxy, and is now locked up, waiting for the time when its bonds break again. After the Mad Mind was imprisoned, the humans created Vanamonde, who is destined to meet and fight the Mad Mind at the end of time. The book makes a distinction between the city life of Diaspar, and the life in Lys. Diaspar reflects the values of a city, in which technology cares for mundane tasks robots, streets, food , so people can pursue pleasures such as music and knowledge.
The opposite is true in Lys, which has a rural style where everything comes from nature. When Alvin re-introduced the two, they found that one still needed the other, and that their cultures had become stifled. The Council from Diaspar had become old and weary, and did not want to deal with the exuberance of youth, while Lys, feeling that it was young, did not want the city culture to interfere with its natural way of life. When the two cultures met, they found out that they complemented each other: Diaspar with infinite life and technology, and Lys with quick minds and telepathy.
Groff Conklin described the original edition of the novel as "a light, simple, fast-moving and often richly imaginative fantasy. Schuyler Miller reported that because the narrative "is so well told, the story becomes convincing, and its magic spreads over the reader as well as the people of the plot.
The work opens with a story fragment, apparently written in isolation in , in which all Diaspar has fallen silent and Alvin is called outside by his father to see something in the sky. It is a cloud. This scene dramatizes the "desert at the end of time" setting. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Nothing is said at all about what substrate, if any, provides the underlying basis for Vanamonde's existence, though Vanamonde does appear to be located in physical space. In his authorized sequel, Beyond the Fall of Night, Gregory Benford rationalizes the immaterial minds in the book as beings composed of complex magnetic fields. Clarke takes a different tack in The City and the Stars; here, Vanamonde is shown to be the product of manipulations to the structure of space itself to imprint the existence of mind in a substrate that is not matter, but a more basic physical reality.
This is of a piece with the author's subsequent fiction and non-fiction writings in which he speculates that information and mind might be able to exist in forms that do not depend upon matter as we know it, but on some other physical substrate, such as a kind of energy.
Against the Fall of Night - Wikipedia
In the Space Odyssey series, on which Clarke began work in the s, he describes the alien intelligences that shaped the evolution of humanity as having passed through radically distinct forms of evolution, from biological life, to a cyborg form with biological brains in machine bodies, then machine intelligence—ultimately recreating themselves as energy. Chapter 37, "Experiment", of A Space Odyssey, which is largely repeated in the Prologue to , provides a succinct account of the series' cosmic background.
The alien Firstborn, as they are referred to in , have cultivated mind wherever they have found it in the universe.
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Encountering Earth some time after the age of the dinosaurs, they have "tinkered with the destiny of many species, on land and in the ocean", before setting out for the stars, leaving intelligent artifacts—the famous black monoliths—behind to complete the job. Thereafter, the Firstborn have themselves evolved further: First their brains, and then their thoughts alone, they transferred into shining new homes of metal and of plastic. In these, they roamed among the stars. They no longer built spaceships.
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Ultimately, however, these Machine-entities have learned to "store knowledge in the structure of space itself, and to preserve their thoughts for eternity in frozen lattices of light. Referring to their material machine-bodies, the author informs us: "the empty shells they had discarded twitched for a while in a mindless dance of death, then crumbled into rust. The godlike Firstborn play almost no direct role in the action of the Space Odyssey series.
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In a way this is disappointing, and the various sequels to the original book and movie do not really advance the cosmic story of In a sense, however, that was almost impossible, since any attempt to explore in detail the posthuman state that Dave Bowman enters at the end of the original book and movie, let alone the motivations of ultimate intelligences such as the Firstborn, might have lost touch entirely with the experience and imagination of the all- too-human audience.
Be that as it may, it is not necessarily mystical to ponder the far future, as Clarke does, or to wonder what forms of life or consciousness will one day supersede humanity. That kind of contemplation may be of no direct social use and there may even be limits to how far it can be portrayed with sympathy and interest in a work of fiction, but it is consistent with the development of science ever since Copernicus and Galileo.
Since we are embedded in and produced by events in the vastness of space and time, everything about us is contingent and impermanent; it is scarcely thinkable that humanity will continue in its current form for the billions of years ahead. Contemplating such distant events is legitimate play for a scientific imagination such as Clarke's. Clarke favors technological advances, including the immediate development of space technology.