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Beyond the Fall of Night

Arthur C. Clarke

Premier science fiction writers Arthur C. Clarke and Gregory Benford team up to tell a riveting and moving story - continuing a journey begun by Clarke with his classic novella Against the Fall of Night.

Diaspar is the last living city on Earth. Timid and untried, the only humans in existence have stagnated there for eons in terror of their own history - the greatness of which remains only in the beauty of the ancient city and in the memories of the unfathomable machines that care for it. These survivors have lost any desire to reclaim their world; their dreams stop at the mile-high wall encircling the city. Just as their makers intended.

But for Alvin of Loronei, the first child born in Diaspar in 4,000 years, there are no barriers. With the aid of robots unknowably old, Alvin fulfills his dream and escapes the suffocating closeness of the known world. When he finds another inhabited city on the farside of the planet, Alvin realizes the trail he is following points not just to his freedom but to a renaissance for humankind. It leads him into space, from which humanity was expelled half a billion years earlier by an unstoppable enemy now only dimly remembered.

Alvin unites and leads the two cities in an effort to salvage the Earth: enormous conscious forests spread across the globe, while spaceborne animals prosper in the skies between the planets. But the malevolent force that crushed the first explorers is attracted by the return of life to the depths of space. Concluding that banishment was not enough to restrain humankind, that force is determined this time to destroy it forever.

From the small boy who looked across the dead sands of his world and imagined he saw oceans, to a battle in which all life must play a part, Clarke and Benford deliver the kind of startling and poignant drama for which they are both famous. Beyond the Fall of Night charts a course not only through the ages and the stars, but into the human heart.

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  Science Fiction