Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

Songs of Distant Earth cover The Songs of Distant Earth (1986)

Del Rey paperback
cover art by Michael Whelan
319 pages (left)

From the back cover of the paperback:
       Paradise Lost:
       Just a few islands in a planetwide ocean, Thalassa was a veritable paradise -- home to one of the small colonies founded centuries before by robot Mother Ships when the Sun had gone nova and mankind had fled Earth.
       Mesmerized by the beauty of Thalassa and overwhelmed by its vast resources, the colonists lived an idyllic existence, unaware of the monumental evolutionary event slowly taking place beneath their seas...
      Then the Magellan arrived in orbit carrying one million refugees from the last, mad days on Earth.  And suddenly uncertainty and change had come to the placid paradise that was Thalassa.

Read for group discussion on May 14, 2008

This book's influences:
English multi-instrumentalist musician and composer Mike Oldfield was so moved by Clarke's novel, that he wrote an entire album based on it.  Mike Oldfield's album The Songs of Distant of Earth was first released in 1994.
How we each rated this book
Dan - Amy - stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 5 Barb -
Aaron - Cynthia -
Jackie - Ron 6
Jessica - Jenn -

Our book group has also read the following books by Arthur C. Clarke:
-- Childhood's End  in October 1994
-- Rendezvous with Rama
-- 2001: A Space Odyssey  in March 2005

Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) was a UK writer of science fiction and nonfiction.  He was born in England.  From 1956 until his death he lived in Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon).  He was knighted in 1998.

1956 Hugo Award for short story "The Star"
1972 Nebula Award for novella "A Meeting with Medusa"
1974 Hugo Award for novel Rendezvous with Rama
1974 Nebula Award for novel Rendezvous with Rama
1980 Hugo Award for The Fountains of Paradise
1980 Nebula Award for The Fountains of Paradise
1986 SFWA Grand Master Award

Space Odyssey series
-- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
-- 2010: Odyssey Two (1982)
-- 2061: Odyssey Three (1988)
-- 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997)

Odyssey movies
-- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), directed by Stanley Kubrick
-- 2010 (1984), directed by Peter Hyams

Nonfiction about the Odyssey movies

-- The Lost Worlds of 2001 (1972), alternate script versions of 2001
-- The Odyssey File (with Peter Hyams) (1984), communications between Clarke and the director for 2010

Rama series
-- Rendezvous with Rama (1973) winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards
-- Rama II (with Gentry Lee) (1989)
-- The Garden of Rama (with Gentry Lee) (1991) direct sequel to Rama II
-- Rama Revealed (with Gentry Lee) (1993)

A Time Odyssey series
-- Time's Eye (with Stephen M. Baxter) (2004)
-- Sunstorm (with Stephen M. Baxter) (2005)

Science Fiction Novels
-- Prelude to Space (1951), (alternate titles Master of Space and The Space Dreamers), Clarke's first novel
-- The Sands of Mars (1951)
-- Childhood's End (1953)
-- Against the Fall of Night (1953)
-- Earthlight (1955)
-- The City and the Stars (1956), expanded version of Against the Fall of Night
-- The Deep Range (1957), undersea life and farming
-- A Fall of Moondust (1961), Hugo-nominated novel of a buried lunar cruiser
-- Imperial Earth (1975)
-- The Fountains of Paradise (1979), Hugo and Nebula award winner
-- The Songs of Distant Earth (1986), Earthmen and a utopian planet
-- Cradle (with Gentry Lee) (1988), near-future underwater adventure novel
-- The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1990), near-future novel of raising the Titanic
-- The Hammer of God (1993), attempt to prevent an asteroid from colliding with Earth
-- Richter 10 (with Mike McQuay) (1996), near-future SF thriller. (Written by McQuay from a Clarke 1,000-word outline)
-- The Trigger (with Michael P. Kube-McDowell) (1999), device that triggers nearby explosives
-- The Light of Other Days (with Stephen M. Baxter) (2000), novel of quantum physics

Young adult novels
-- Islands in the Sky (1952)
-- Dolphin Island (1963)

Short fiction collections
-- Expedition to Earth (1953)
-- Reach for Tomorrow (1956)
-- Tales from the White Hart (1957), linked Harry Purvis stories
-- The Other Side of the Sky (1958)
-- Across the Sea of Stars (1959, omnibus)
-- From the Ocean, From the Stars (1961, omnibus)
-- Tales of Ten Worlds (1962), 15 stories
-- Prelude to Mars (1965, omnibus)
-- The Nine Billion Names of God (1967)
-- The Wind from the Sun (1972)
-- Of Time and Stars (1972, UK)
-- The Sentinel (1983)
-- Tales from Planet Earth (1990), 16 short stories
-- Against the Fall of Night and Beyond the Fall of Night (with Gregory Benford) (1990) (also titled Beyond the Fall of Night), Clarke's classic short novel and a modern sequel by Greg Benford
-- More Than One Universe (1991), large collection
-- The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (2001), large collection

Other novels
-- Glide Path (1963) WWII novel about the first use of radar

Nonfiction books
-- Interplanetary Flight (1950), Clarke's first published book
-- The Exploration of Space (1951)
-- The Exploration of the Moon (1954)
-- The Young Traveler in Space (1954)
-- The Making of a Moon: The Story of the Earth Satellite Programme (1957)
-- The Promise of Space (1968)
-- Beyond Jupiter: The Worlds of Tomorrow (1972, with Chesley Bonestell)
-- Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World (1980, with Welfare and Fairley)
-- Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers (1985, with Welfare and Fairley)
-- Arthur C. Clarke's Chronicles of the Strange & Mysterious (1987, with Welfare and Fairley)
-- The Reefs of Taprobane (2002)

Nonfiction collections
-- Voice Across the Sea (1958)
-- The Challenge of the Space Ship (1959)
-- Profiles of the Future (1962)
-- Voices From the Sky (1965)
-- Report on Planet Three and Other Speculations (1972), essays on possible futures
-- The View from Serendip (1978), autobiographical essays
-- Ascent to Orbit: A Scientific Autobiography (1984), essays and scientific papers
-- 1984: Spring, A Choice of Futures (1984), essays
-- Astounding Days (1989), first 15 years of Astounding/Analog as seen by Clarke plus pieces published in the magazine
-- How the World Was One: Beyond the Global Village (1992), about telecommunications
-- The Snows of Olympus (1994), essays about colonizing Mars
-- By Space Possessed: Essays on the Exploration of Space (1993, edited by John Burke), essays and extracts
-- Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! (1999), over 100 pieces
-- From Narnia to a Space Odyssey: The War of Ideas Between Arthur C. Clarke and C.S. Lewis (with C. S. Lewis) (2003, edited by Ryder W. Miller), letters between Clarke and Lewis, and some stories and essays

Anthologies edited by Clarke
-- Time Probe (1966)
-- The Coming of the Space Age (1967, nonfiction)
-- Arthur C. Clarke's July 20, 2019 (1986), a look at a day in the future

Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime series
Shared world based on concepts by Clarke, written by Paul Preuss

-- Volume 1: Breaking Strain (1987)
-- Volume 2: Maelstrom (1988)
-- Volume 3: Hide and Seek (1989)
-- Volume 4: The Medusa Encounter (1990)
-- Volume 5: The Diamond Moon (1990)
-- Volume 6: The Shining Ones (1991)

Our book club's page for 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke - Wikipedia
The Songs of Distant Earth (album) by Mike Oldfield - Wikipedia

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This page was last updated October 16, 2008