There are many ways to recapture the sheer fun that science fiction was back when it wasn't even a bit respectable and the idea that Arthur C. Clarke would one day be Sir Arthur was more or less inconceivable. One of the best ways is to go back to a classic short story collection like this, with its bitterly ironic title story of archaeology and its misunderstandings--the classic "Breaking Strain" in which two spacemen struggle over supplies that will do for one--and "The Sentinel," the story that acted as the seed for the late Stanley Kubrick's collaboration with Clarke, 2001. |
Clarke always had a more delicate and poetic side, and this collection includes one of his finest stories along this vein, "Second Dawn," in which telepathically gifted aliens without hands deal with the moral dilemmas of science. Many of the stories address a Space Age that never was--Clarke was assuming that things would happen later than they did, but that more would follow quicker; this in itself gives the book charm as an add-on to its considerable conceptual wit. Few short story collections are SF classics, but this is a major exception.
Source: Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk.