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Reviews of Reach for Tomorrow (1956)

Review by mrdude (2010-05-31)
I don't think I've ever sat down and read a collection of short stories cover to cover before. Usually I am the type to read a few of the stories here or there between novels and epic 12 book series (uggg). I was wandering through a thrift store when I came across this book longing for something short and easy. I was not disappointed.

I think it would be silly to compare Clarke's short stories to his novels, although it is interesting to note that his most famous novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, was based an a short story of his (the sentinel). This collection offers a mixed bag of tales. That was a strong point for me, several of the stories are fairly shocking, often ending in a cliffhanger, while others were well rounded and easy going. Because of this I was never able to know what to expect. After a few stories I expected everything to be wrought with tragedy, only to be greeted by endings where everyone hugs and gets home safe, no worse for wear. My favorites were "Jupiter Five" and "The Parasite", both of which I could see made into spectacular sci-fi novels. I think it's a good sign when a bit of science fiction leaves you begging for more. Oddly enough I really enjoyed the little preface in the beginning, mainly because I love little peeks into the authors process and opinions of their own work. If I were to pick one story I did not enjoy I would lean towards the curse, which seemed a bit too melodramatic for me (then again it's not 1956 anymore). Overall a nice read for the sci-fi buff.


Review by clong (2006-02-11)
This collection of a dozen of Clarke's early short stories is a bit of a mixed bag. The best of them are thought provoking but none of them do much to develop empathy for the characters and none of them could really by called compelling. Many of these stories are more about revealing a clever scientific concept than storytelling.

My favorites were "Rescue Party" (Clarke's first published story, about alien starfarers who explore an about to be destroyed Earth), "A Walk in the Dark" (a story about a man walking through a pitch black alien landscape wondering whether something is going to get him), and "Trouble With the Natives" (a reasonably humorous first contact story). “Jupiter Five” could be seen as an early take on ideas that would be much more fully developed in Rendezvous with Rama.

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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