The Sentinel: Short Stories by Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
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Originally published in 1983, the "2001 Anniversary Edition" of Arthur C. Clarke's The Sentinel offers insight and commentary on 10 of Clarke's most notable short stories.
In Clarke's introduction, he explores why he became the kind of writer he did, and he offers a look at the very first paragraph he ever published--in 1933. This anthology spans three decades, beginning in 1946 with the second story he published, "The Rescue Party," and offers a chance to read some of the short stories that later germinated into his most spectacular works.
It's a special treat to be able to see the beginnings of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood's End, along with Clarke's thoughts on how each story came about. The truly amazing thing is that Clarke's short fiction still holds up, by and large. It's unavoidable that time would catch up with Clarke, though. In fact, he almost apologetically reminds the reader that while "Jupiter V" is dated, Sputnik was still six years in the future when it was written in 1951.
While it would have been wonderful if Clarke had added an additional introduction about the human race's journey into 2001 and beyond for this special edition, that was not to be. His most recent words in this anthology were written in 1983. But that's a minor quibble. With exceptional illustrations by Lebbeus Woods, The Sentinel is a must-read, not only for Clarke fans, but for all readers of science fiction. --Kathie Huddleston
sketches and short stories for the school magazine. I can still recall those editorial sessions, fifty years ago. About once a week, after class, our English master, Captain E.B. Mitford (who was actually a fiery Welshman), would gather his schoolboy staff together, and we would all sit around a table on which there was a large bag of assorted toffees. Bright ideas were rewarded instantly; “Mitty” invented positive reinforcement years before B.F. Skinner. He also employed a heavy meter rule for
Stormgren’s disappearance. For the past month, the world’s papers had divided themselves into two sharply defined groups. The American press, on the whole, thought that the Federation of Europe was long overdue, but had a nervous feeling that this was only the beginning. The Europeans, on the other hand, were undergoing violent but largely synthetic spasms of national pride. Criticism of the Overlords was widespread and energetic: after an initial period of caution the press had discovered that
about ourselves than we may nowadays wish to know.” I must admit that I’d never thought of it that way; but Dr. Benford may be right. You have been warned. WHO WAS TO BLAME? For three days Alveron’s thoughts had come back to that question, and still he had found no answer. A creature of a less civilized or a less sensitive race would never have let it torture his mind, and would have satisfied himself with the assurance that no one could be responsible for the working of fate. But Alveron
they’re intelligent—they look like harmless vegetarians. And even if they try to chase me, I’m sure they can’t reach my altitude.” Yet he was a little disappointed when the mantas showed not the slightest interest in him as he sailed high above their feeding ground. Perhaps they had no way of detecting his presence. When he examined and photographed them through the telescope, he could see no signs of any sense organs. The creatures were simply huge black deltas, rippling over hills and valleys
something very much like awe in his voice. “That’s just appeared. And I’m afraid to tell you what I think it is.” “Well, I have no reputation to lose—at least as a biologist. Shall I give my guess?” “Go ahead.” “That’s a large meter-band radio array. The sort of thing they used back at the beginning of the twentieth century.” “I was afraid you’d say that. Now we know why it gave such a massive echo.” “But why has it just appeared?” “Probably an aftereffect of the discharge.” “I’ve just had