For many Arthur C Clarke is the very personification of science fiction. He is particularly known for the scientific basis of his writing, and his often uncannily accurate predictions. In 'The Songs Of Distant Earth' he intertwines these elements with deeply-felt humanitarian themes, to create a thoughtful and hauntingly evocative tale.
Over centuries of knowing the end was at hand humanity launched probes carrying embryos to distant star-systems, relying on machines to incubate the first people of a virgin land under an alien sun. Finally, in the Last Days of Earth, the "Magellan" takes off for the stars carrying a million refugees. They witness the death of Earth as they leave: the Atlantic boils dry, the pyramids disintegrate, the ice of Antarctica melts. Then they sleep.
Five hundred years later the "Magellan" must make planetfall for repairs. The voyagers awake to find themselves on the idyllic planet of Thalassa. Curious yet wary, the Thalassans offer their distant cousins a cautious welcome and alien destinies become inextricably entwined in a clash of cultures unlike any before.
In 'The Songs Of Distant Earth' Arthur C Clarke has created a poignant and vivid account of doomsday and beyond. His simple, musical prose-style perfectly captures man's longing for the stars in a moving story about human diversity and the meaning of loss.