The very best:
- First half of "Richter 10": A man has figured out a way to tame earthquakes.
- First of the four stories in "2001 A Space Odyssey". Explores the earliest human history - the process of beast becoming man. And very readable - no preaching.
Outstanding thriller: "A Fall of Moondust". A bunch of revelers have vanished from the radar of the rest of humanity. Will they live? Will they ever be able to talk to their kin?
A rare doomsday story that has become my favorite: "The Songs of Distant Earth". No need to get depressed with the worst that life can throw at you!
Outstanding fantasy: "The City & the Stars". If you like Harry Potter, you will enjoy it. Else, forget it.
All Clarke novels I have read; entries higher in the list are generally better reading choices:
- With (Late) Mike McQuay: "Richter 10": A man has figured out a way to predict earthquakes months in advance, & now has a plan to stop them from ever occurring again!
- "The Deep Range": Farming moves to seas, with whales as main meat cattle.
- "A Fall of Moondust": A group of revelers have vanished. How will they be located?
- "The Songs of Distant Earth": Optimists shall inherit the world.
- "2001 A Space Odyssey": Transformation of apes to men. Plus contact with helpful aliens that are indistinguishable from gods. Plus some Hindu mythology.
- "The City & the Stars": Harry Potter style fantasy. Very readable.
- "Islands in the Sky": A very readable space adventure that describes some futuristic space station designs. Has far more human interest elements than "Rendezvous with Rama", another story that is essentially a description of a machine.
- "The Fountains of Paradise": Bringing down the cost of space flight, & making it affordable for the masses. Plus a dozen diversions unrelated to main story.
- "Rendezvous with Rama": A beautiful & harmless alien spaceship is passing through our solar system.
- "The Sands of Mars": Terrafarm Mars so its air becomes breathable by humans.
- "Imperial Earth": In a background of politics, diplomacy, & business interests, this story describes life on earth about 3000 AD, a settlement on Titan (a moon of Saturn), & voyage in a passenger liner from Titan to earth. Effects of higher earth gravity on out-worlders are particularly detailed.
- "The Lion of Comarre" (B); Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1949: A man resists the temptation to get addicted by a bizarre device that gives much pleasure, & gets a boon that will hopefully help change the future of humanity.
- With Michael Kube-McDowell: "The Trigger": Invention of an anti-weapon that can disable gunpowder in a certain range revives US gun control debate.
- "The Ghost from the Grand Banks": Technology & business issues involved in deep sea salvage operations. Mostly related to recovery of the wreck of Titanic.
- "2061 Odyssey Three": A trip to Hally's Comet. Plus a shipwreck & rescue thriller.
- "3001 The Final Odyssey": How will the world look like in the year 3000 AD? Plus humans beat gods in a live-or-die fight.
- "2010 Odyssey Two": A voyage to Jupiter system. Plus transformation of Jupiter into a sun, Lucifer.
- "Arthur C Clarke's Venus Prime, Volume 1" (of 6) by Paul Preuss (not by Clarke). This is a novel-length expansion of "Breaking Strain", published with Clarke's blessings.
- With Gentry Lee: "Garden of Rama": Put together a bunch of humans in an enclosed environment with ample resources, & you will quickly have a leadership that makes everyone's life miserable. Note the official order of Rama series is different from mine: the three sequels of Rendezvous in order of publication & continuity are Rama II, Garden of Rama, & Rama Revealed. But Rama II is a pretty lousy book. And you won't really lose out a lot on continuity - each book stands pretty much independent.
- With Gentry Lee: "Rama Revealed": Fantasy where you meet competent aliens who have made fantastic progress in genetic engineering & who put humans in zoos. Plus some revelations about the purpose of God.
- "Childhood's End": A second rate story about the ultimate purpose of life! Mostly based on Hindu mythology.
- With Gentry Lee: "Rama II": A second rate & badly written story about many things & also nothing in particular.
- With Stephen Baxtor: "The Light of Other Days": A third rate book around the idea of a kind of video camera with remote lens - where lens can be placed anywhere in the universe, & at present time, or any time past. Local device is connected to remote lens via a "wormhole" through fifth space-time dimension!
Novels I haven't yet read.
The information in this section is compiled by looking up various sources, & is not first hand. Only the entries in italics are on my to-do list.
- "Prelude to Space" (1951): First published novel of Clarke. If "Rescue Party", his first published short story is any indication, this should be a very worthy read.
- "Against the Fall of Night" (1953): Since "The City & the Stars" is its rewritten version, I don't think it makes sense for me to waste time on this.
- "Earthlight" (1955): An adventure story involving a space battle, & part of "The Space Trilogy" (between "Islands in the Sky" & "The Sands of Mars"). This novel is an expanded version of 1951 novella of the same name; I have only read this shorter version. The shorter version describes life on moon, & a war between earth & human colonies in outer Solar System over energy resources.
- "Dolphin Island" (1963): Adventures of a man in a colony of dolphins.
- "Glide Path" (1963): Fictionalized description of the development of radar-guided aircraft descent systems.
- "A Meeting with Medusa" (1988): A human voyage into Jovian atmosphere, & adventures with native creatures. These creatures will appear again later in various Space Odyssey sequels. Medusa is one of the native creature species.
- With Gentry Lee: "Cradle" (1988): After experience with Lee's Rama sequels, I don't think it makes sense wasting more time on him.
- With Gregory Benford: "Beyond the Fall of Night" (1990).
- "The Hammer of God" (1993): Humans need to deflect an asteroid on an impact course with earth. This novel is an expansion of the short story of the same name (which I have read). This theme also appears as a subplot in "The Light of Other Days".
- With Stephen Baxtor: "A Time Odyssey" series: "Time's Eye" (2003), "Sunstorm" (2005), & "Firstborn" (2007). Given experience with Baxtor's "The Light of Other Days", I doubt I will ever touch either of these books. Few reviews I have seen of these books confirm the suspicion of a muddled & impossible to grasp plot.
- Paul Preuss's "Arthur C Clarke's Venus Prime" series, Volume 2-6. After experience with Vol 1, I don't think it makes sense to waste time with the rest.