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Publisher's Summary

A journey of discovery that will shake the foundations of everything the people of Earth have ever believed...
Diaspar is Earth's last city - surrounded by deserts, on a world where the oceans have long since dried up. It is a domed, isolated, technological marvel run by the Central Computer. Diaspar has conquered death. People are called forth from the Hall of Creation; they live for 1,000 years and then are recalled, stored in the Central Computer's memory, to be born thousands of years later, over and over again, with memories of earlier lives intact.
No one has entered or left Diaspar since anyone can remember. Its people have an unreasoning dread of the unknown, of the world outside the city. And no child has been born for at least 10 million years.
Until Alvin. He is unique. He has no past lives, no past memories. He also has no fear of the outside world. In fact he has an overwhelming curiosity, a drive to explore, to see what lies beyond the sterile boundaries of the city.
When he finally escapes, he discovers a place he could hardly have imagined: a country called Lys. Its people are telepathic. They know life and death. In Lys, Alvin finds friendship and love. And he begins his fateful journey to the stars and back. On his return he brings with him something so strange, so alien and powerful, that it will change the world forever. But for better or worse, not even Alvin can guess.
©1956 Arthur C. Clarke/Scovil Chichak Galen (P)2009 Geoffrey T.Williams
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Andy on 01-24-13

Even better 30 years later

I first read this book, I think as a novella, about 30 or more years ago. It's been in my wishlist for quite a while because I could still remember the story pretty well. I liked it then, but I loved this version. Not just because it is an audiobook, although that helps, but because I appreciated the story a lot more, or maybe I just absorbed the nuances better.

This is a definite must for anyone who loves the theme of exploring ancient cities and rediscovering lost worlds.

The narrator was excellent. Once you're into it, the character voices click and you can't imagine any other voices.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Dave F. Wilke on 06-04-12

An Old Favorite

What did you love best about The City and the Stars?

This was one of the first science fiction novels I'd ever read ever so many years back. For that reason it was the first Audible book I downloaded. It was and remains a favorite. Some have said it is not one of Clarke's best, but I tend to disagree. Perhaps that's just the memories bound up around the story, but there you go.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The City and the Stars?

I enjoyed the sense of discovery as Alvin explored his universe; first the outskirts of Diaspar, then Lys, then the stars. The sense of physical exploration and discovery of new landscapes is something I miss in more recent works.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The performance was mildly uneven. The different voices were obviously recorded at different times, using different equipment, different EQ settings and different levels of compression. This created a slightly uneven flow to the dialog, something which could have been avoided by bringing the voice actors in to record at the same time.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I used it to pass the time on a long daily commute. It lasted better than a week and served its purpose well in keeping me entertained in traffic.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Bruce on 02-19-10

The City and the Stars

the book is exellent - experience spoiled by background music

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4 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Nia David on 01-18-16

brilliant book

The story itself is brilliant, the only issue I have with this audio book is the sound quality in places isn't particularly great.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Thesle on 09-12-14

A medium size idea in a big package

This book would probably have worked better as a short story, as the actual plot isn't that complex. A lot of Clarke's philosophising surrounds the plot, padding the text unnecessarily and making parts of the book a little tedious. The timeline is a but out there as well, perhaps a grand idea Clarke had in his head that he didn't quite communicate in the novel. A decent attempt, but there is far more capturing novels on just as grand a scale, such as some of Alastair Reynolds' works.

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