The final work from the brightest star in science fiction's galaxy. Arthur C Clarke, who predicted the advent of communication satellites and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey completes a lifetime career in science fiction with a masterwork. 30 light years away, a race known simply as the One Point Fives are plotting a dangerous invasion plan, one ...
The final work from the brightest star in science fiction's galaxy. Arthur C Clarke, who predicted the advent of communication satellites and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey completes a lifetime career in science fiction with a masterwork. 30 light years away, a race known simply as the One Point Fives are plotting a dangerous invasion plan, one that will wipe humankind off the face of the Earth...Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, a young astronomy student, Ranjit Subramanian, becomes obsessed with a three-hundred-year-old theorem that promises to unlock the secrets of the universe. While Ranjit studies the problem, tensions grow between the nations of the world and a UN taskforce headed up by China, America and Russia code-named Silent Thunder begins bombing volatile regimes into submission. On the eve of the invasion of Earth a space elevator is completed, helped in part by Ranjit, which will herald a new type of Olympics to be held on the Moon. But when alien forces arrive Ranjit is forced to question his own actions, in a bid to save the lives of not just his own family but of all of humankind. Co-written with fellow grand master Frederik Pohl, The Last Theorem not only provides a fitting end to the career one of the most famous names in science fiction but also sets a new benchmark in contemporary prescient science fiction. It tackles with ease epic themes as diverse as third world poverty, the atrocities of modern warfare in a post-nuclear age, space elevators, pure mathematics and mankind's first contact with extra-terrestrials.
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I would recommend this book with some reservations. For SF readers, the book is a "must read" by a pair of the great names in the genre. The pluses are intriguing ideas and polished writing--but it was difficult for me care about what happened to the characters after 200 pages. The book becomes more of an essay (or allegory) than a novel. Character and pacing were sacrificed to concept. The book might have been better if an editor could have convinced these two legendary authors to cut out 100 or even 150 pages from what is probably their last book (Clark died in 2008 and Pohl was in his 80's or 90's)--but they wanted to get in their last word. The writers set the stage very well in the early chapters, but they didn't sustain my concern for their characters as people, and the pacing did not propel the narrative. With those problems the book could not overcome the lack of suspense--the ending always seemed inevitable.
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