Final Arthur C Clarke novel on the way
Last Theorem is last hurrah
The final novel by legendary sci-fi author Arthur C Clarke is to be published in August.
According to the Independent, Clarke's unfinished book The Last Theorem was completed by fellow scribe Frederik Pohl. Publisher HarperCollins coughed six figures to secure the rights earlier this year.
The book appears to have been a truly collaborative effort, with Clarke asking for Pohl's assistance when he became increasingly ill with post-polio syndrome, and also found himself stricken with writer's block. "Arthur said to me that he woke up one morning and didn't know how to write any of the books he had contracted," Pohl explained. "The stories had just gone out of his head."
Pohl worked from notes and an outline to bring the book to life over a period of two years, saying that "everything in the novel is something he either suggested or wrote or I discussed with him". Clarke was able to review the finished manuscript before his death in March this year.
The last theorem of the title is that of 17th-century maths whiz Pierre de Fermat, but if that's too dry there is the promise of space elevator action too.
The book is available to pre-order now before publication next month. ®
"Thank fuck he didn't get Gentry Lee, then! He seems to believe the opposite - I'm presuming, given the difference in thickness between Rendezvous With Rama (Clarke) and Rama II (Clarke and Lee), that Lee is the bastard responsible for all the verbal diarrhoea... like spending 14 pages painstakingly describing the growth of shanty towns and the decline of civilisation merely to explain why technology hasn't advanced a lot in the twenty years since the first Raman ship turned up. Seriously, the whole thing could have been explained away in a couple of bits of taut, well-written dialogue referencing "the Collapse" and the characters could have got on with the adventure."
How about this, then, instead? :)
"Thank god it's not Gentry Lee and his 14-page bouts of descriptive diahrea!"
Many little steps do not a large one make
I found that reading Brian Herbert was somewhat less numbing if I skipped about every third paragraph.
As for Gentry, I diagnose incurable didactic verbosity. Not conducive to leaps of imagination and visionary projection!
@ Nick Pettefar
I thoroughly enjoyed Rendezvous With Rama and always hoped there would be a sequel (as hinted at by the "Ramans do everything in threes" epiphany at the end) so when Rama II came out I grabbed it with great enthusiasm and read it with mounting disappointment. My principal thoughts on Rama II were, "Guess who's being paid by the word."
I mean, let's interrupt the narrative for a lengthy flashback that gave /me/ a lengthy flashback to "Social Studies" classes in High School. Errr, hello? I /have/ studied Soweto, I /do/ know how shanty towns form and I /don't/ need to read a rehash of your old high school essay on the topic to know that you also know - especially not just to understand how come technology has not advanced much in 20 years. I'm intelligent, I love puzzles and working things out: drop in a couple of spoken references to the Collapse and have the characters drive through/past a shanty town or two and I'll work out the reasons myself, thanks, now get on with the frigging story!
And despite devoting such an inordinate amount of time to why technology hadn't advanced, I do not recall reading in it anywhere what happened to the "Simps" (Clarke's genetically modified SuperChimps that were used as servants in RWR) - they seem to have inexplicably vanished.
Needless to say that after that, when I saw Gentry Lee's name on the other Rama sequels, I didn't bother getting them.