Saturday, May 5, 2007

"The Collected Stories of Arthur C Clarke" (collection): Annotated table of contents, & review

The Collected Stories of Arthur C Clarke: 104 stories, including shorter versions of several novelsIf there is only one Clarke book you will ever buy, this is it. 109 stories, 966 large pages (in my paperback edition), including shorter versions of several novels:

  1. "Guardian Angel" whose expanded version is "Childhood's End".
  2. "Rescue Party" & "The Star" whose expanded version is "The Songs of Distant Earth" - in basic plot elements, though the collection also features a shorter version titled "Songs of Distant Earth" (I haven't read this shorter version).
  3. "The Lion of Comarre", the entire novella. And a precursor to a rather popular theme in modern cyberpunk.
  4. "Earthlight" that will later be expanded into a novel of the same name.
  5. "Jupiter Five" that, at some level, appears to be a shorter version of "Rendezvous with Rama".
  6. "The Hammer of God" that later was expanded to a novel of the same name.
  7. "The Deep Range", apparently the shorter version of novel of the same title. I haven't read the shorter version.
While the collection has its share of duds, it also includes some of the best science fiction stories ever told. Also included is a generous dose of Clarke's humorous stories.

On annotated table of contents below.

Sometimes, a story is published under multiple titles. I list the title in my copy of paperback edition (ISBN 0-312-87860-5) as the main title; other titles are mentioned in accompanying commentary where I am aware of the alternates. Link that takes you to my review of the story may appear on one of these alternate titles rather than the main one; in that case, I had originally posted the review based on reading of alternate title story - from another source.

Some stories contain my quality rating too - in brackets, following title: ABC (A means time well spent, C mean dud). Some entries also carry an icon signifying this rating. The icon & rating are not used for all stories because this page evolved in a haphazard fashion. Hopefully, I will put them for all stories some day.

Some of the review links take you to pages on Variety SF. These are relatively recent posts. I was finding it difficult to maintain two sites. Now-a-days, I post main articles only to Variety SF, updating the links here as necessary.

Table of contents.

  1. "Travel by Wire!" (A); download; Amateur Science Fiction Stories, December 1937. There is some confusion between whether this is the first published story of Clarke, or is it "Rescue Party". See note near the end of my review of "Rescue Party": Humor. Description of Star Trek style transporter - read the information describing the thing or person being transported by splitting it into particles, move this information to destination electronically, & reassemble there! A subsidiary application is weight loss!
  2. "How We Went to Mars" (B); download (need to scroll down the page); Amateur Science Fiction Stories, March 1938: Humor. Light hearted adventure of a group of young boys' accident - their fun rocket took them to Mars! They meet English speaking native! Spend a while, are refueled by aliens, & return home happy & safe.
  3. "Retreat from Earth" (B), Amateur Science Fiction Stories, March 1938: Unknown alien protectors force Martian colonists to leave earth to humans.
  4. "Reverie"; New Worlds, Autumn 1939: An essay rather than a story - with sf authors as audience.
  5. "The Awakening": Man shall not inherit the earth! Originally published in Zenith, February 1942. A significantly revised version was later published in Future, January 1952. I am not clear which version I have reviewed!
  6. "Whacky" (C); The Fantast, July 1942: The single worst story by Clarke I've read yet - among the 100 odd by now. Could not make out the head or tail of it. Some conversation among characters that obviously are not real - may be they are in heaven, may be in a computer simulation, ... something.
  7. "Loophole"; Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1946: Humor. Aliens bar earthlings from developing rockets, & get the surprised!
  8. "Rescue Party"; download (link via SF Signal); Astounding Science-Fiction, May 1946: Clarke's first published story; also see note on "first published" near the end of my review article. And a smaller version of "The Songs of Distant Earth" (novel); but Songs (novel) itself comes from Songs (short story)! I haven't read the Songs (short story).
  9. "Technical Error", Fantasy, December 1946: An accidental electric short circuit opens fearsome new vistas.
  10. "Castaway" (A): Fantasy, April 1947, under the pen name "Charles Willis": How do you recognize an alien when you meet one? Forget recognizing it as alien or sentient, even recognizing it as alive can be tough. And just by looking at it, you might kill it!
  11. "The Fires Within", Fantasy, August 1947, under the pen name "E G O'Brien": A man begins exploring interior of earth. And dooms humanity's future.
  12. "Inheritance", New Worlds, no 3, 1947, under the pen name "Charles Willis": Two accidents during lift off - involving manned rocket launches.
  13. "Nightfall", King's College Review, 1947: This is the same story as "The Curse", published under a different title for some reason.
  14. "History Lesson", Startling Stories, May 1949; also sometimes published under the title "Expedition to Earth": Sun has cooled turning earth into an icy wasteland, & Venus into a habitable world.
  15. "Transience", Startling Stories, July 1949: Sun has moved close to galactic center & is about to be swallowed by a Nebula. Humans must vacate solar system, & find home elsewhere.
  16. "The Wall of Darkness" (B), Super Science Stories, July 1949: Description of life in a strange alternate universe where a single sun shines on a single planet of sentient beings, & where time behaves in a weird way. I didn't find it unreadable, but the core technical concept of the story escaped me.
  17. "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.
  18. "The Forgotten Enemy"; download MP3; New Worlds, #5, 1949: Coping with the next Ice Age.
  19. "Hide-and-Seek", Astounding Science-Fiction, September 1949: A sole man is on the run on Phoboes, a Martian moon. He is being hunted by a well armed military unit. Will he be able to outwit his pursuers?
  20. "Breaking Strain", Thrilling Wonder Stories, December 1949; originally published under the title "Thirty Seconds - Thirty -Days": Only one of the two men can live. Who should? Who will? This story was one of the inspirations for the well known novel "2001 A Space Odyssey"; see remarks with my review of "Breaking Strain".
  21. "Nemesis": Originally published in Super Science Stories, March 1950, under the title "Exile of the Eons": Socrates meets Hitler in a far off time!
  22. With James Blish: "Guardian Angel" (B), Famous Fantastic Mysteries, April 1950. According to story introduction, it was originally written by Clarke alone in 1946, but was rejected by Astounding. James Blish later rewrote this story, adding a new ending; this edited version was sold to Famous Fantastic Mysteries, & is presumably included in this collection. An expanded version of this story became the first part of the much better known novel, "Childhood's End".
  23. "Time's Arrow", Science-Fantasy, Summer 1950: A visit to Jurassic Park, reversed!
  24. "A Walk in the Dark"; download MP3; Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1950: Circumstances force a man to face the primeval fear of darkness.
  25. "Silence Please"; Originally published under the slightly different title "Silence Please!" in Science-Fantasy, Winter 1950, under the pen name "Charles Willis": Humor. A man invents the ultimate silencer.
  26. "Trouble with the Natives"; Originally published in Lilliput, February 1951, under the title "Three Men in a Flying Saucer": Humor. When aliens visited a little English village.
  27. "The Road to the Sea" (B); First published in Two Complete Science-Adventure Books, Spring 1951, under the title "Seeker of the Sphinx": One of the more muddled stories by Clarke, with many threads that are only loosely linked. A prosperous future where humans are divided by those who wish to live on earth, & those who seek out the stars.
  28. "The Sentinel"; download MP3; Written "over Christmas 1948 for a BBC competition", & originally published in 10 Story Fantasy, spring 1951, under the title "Sentinel of Eternity": Aliens watching the development of intelligent life on earth have left a beacon on moon. "This is the starting point of 2001: A Space Odyssey", according to Clarke's introduction to the story.
  29. "Holiday on the Moon" (A); originally published as a four part serial in Heiress magazine during January to April 1951, under the pen name of Charles Willis: Among the most accessible moon travel stories by Clarke for non-technical audience. Seasoned science fiction readers will find the fare familiar. Told from the perspective of an 18 year old girl generally disinterested in technical stuff.
  30. "Earthlight" (A); Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1951: Earth fights a war with the Federation of human colonies of Outer Planets over energy resources. Both sides use super weapons. Great descriptions of life on moon. In 1955, this story was expanded to novel length under the same title; I have not read the novel.
  31. "Second Down", Science Fiction Quarterly, August 1951: The making of a symbiotic culture of cattle & hominids on an alien world, with cattle as masters.
  32. "Superiority" (A); read online (only in some countries);The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy, August 1951: Humor. How not to deploy new technology.
  33. "If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth ..."; originally "written at Christmas 1950", & published in Future, September 1951: All humans are dead after a nuclear war, & earth's surface is radio active. Only survivors are a small group of pioneers that were on moon at the time of the event. They must preserve the legend of earth.
  34. "All the Time in the World", Startling Stores, 1951.
  35. "The Nine Billion Names of God"; download text (link via Best Science Fiction Stories) or MP3; Star Science Fiction Stories 1, ed Frederik Pohl, 1953: A certain Buddhist sect believes that the ultimate purpose of life is to spell all the nine billion names of God.
  36. "The Possessed", Dynamic Science Fiction, March 1953: Intellect in the abstract!
  37. "The Parasite", The Avon SF & F Reader, 1953: Men from distant future play telepathic games across time. According to Clarke's introduction, this story "may have been the subconscious basis for the novel The Light of Other Days".
  38. "Jupiter Five", If, May 1953: A shorter version of "Rendezvous with Rama". A huge alien spacecraft is found parked in the Jupiter system; it belongs to long extinct aliens.
  39. "Encounter in the Down" aka "Encounter at Down"; Amazing, June/July 1953: When well meaning humanoid aliens visited prehistoric earthmen.
  40. "The Other Tiger"; Fantastic Universe, June/July 1953; "Originally entitled 'Refutation', this story was retitled by Sam Merwin, editor of Fantastic Universe, as a nod to Frank Stockton's classic but now forgotten 'The Lady or the Tiger'".
  41. "Publicity Campaign" (A), London Evening News, 1953: Humor. Scared humans turn benevolent aliens into malevolent ones!
  42. "Armaments Race"; Adventure, 1954; "This story was inspired by a visit to George Pal in Hollywood, while he was working on the special effects for The War of the Worlds.": A harmless toy that wasn't so harmless!
  43. "The Deep Range": This short story, first published in Argosy (UK) in April 1954, was expanded into a novel of the same name in 1957. I haven't read the short story; link takes you to my review of the novel.
  44. "No Morning After"; Time to Come, ed August Derleth, 1954.
  45. "Big Game Hunt"; Originally published in Adventure, October 1956, under the title "The Reckless Ones": A man discovers a way to make arbitrary animals dance to his tune.
  46. "Patent Pending"; Originally published in Adventure, 1954, under the title “The Invention”: A man invents the ultimate porn distribution machine.
  47. "Refugee"; "First published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1955, as '?'" "'Refugee' was originally published by Anthony Boucher as '?' because he didn't like the title, after which he ran a competition to find a better one, choosing 'This Earth of Majesty'. Meanwhile, in New Worlds Ted Carnell called it 'Royal Prerogative', adding to confusion."
  48. "The Star"; download text (link via Best Science Fiction Stories) or MP3; Infinity Science Fiction, November 1955; "received a Hugo award in 1956": Star of an alien world explodes, killing local intelligent beings. But something survives.
  49. "What Goes Up"; originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1956, under a slightly different title "What Goes Up ...": An industrial accident creates an anti-gravity force field.
  50. "Venture to the Moon"; "originally written as six independent but linked stories for the London Evening Standard, in 1956."
  51. "The Pacifist", Fantastic Universe, October 1956: Humor. Tale of a naughty computer.
  52. "The Reluctant Orchid", Satellite, December 1956: A murder gone wrong, because the novel weapon used was untested.
  53. "Moving Spirit", originally published in "Tales from the White Hart": Humor. A man's ingenuity against governmental sin taxes.
  54. "The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch", originally published in "Tales from the White Hart": Humor. If your spouse speaks too much, help is on the way!
  55. "The Ultimate Melody", If, February 1957: Why do you like some music but not other? Are these but crude approximations to an ultimate melody that everyone will like?
  56. "The Next Tenants", Satellite, February 1957: In the general gloom following World War II, a man places hope in species other than humans. And decides to play god.
  57. "Cold War", Satellite, April 1957: Humor. Californian businessmen want some of the tourist traffic from Florida. So they contrive a plan to dilute the brand image of the Sunshine State.
  58. "Sleeping Beauty", Infinity Science Fiction, April 1957: Humor. A man invents a cure for your snoring disorders.
  59. "Security Check", Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1957.
  60. "The Man Who Ploughed the Sea"; "written in Miami, in 1954... First published in Satellite, June 1957": A device to mine metals from the oceanic waters.
  61. "Critical Mass", "First published in Space Science Fiction Magazine, August 1957, revised from Lilliput, March 1949": A stampede is averted, in the aftermath of nuclear disaster that wasn't.
  62. "Special Delivery" (B); Infinity Science Fiction Magazine, September 1957; included in chapter titled "The Other Side of the Sky": An accident has thrown an unmanned supply rocket to a geosynchronous space station into a long period orbit about Sun.
  63. "Feathered Friend"; Infinity Science Fiction Magazine, September 1957; included in chapter titled "The Other Side of the Sky": Not read.
  64. "Take a Deep Breath"; Infinity Science Fiction Magazine, September 1957; included in chapter titled "The Other Side of the Sky": Not read.
  65. "Freedom of Space"; Infinity Science Fiction Magazine, October 1957; included in chapter titled "The Other Side of the Sky": Not read.
  66. "Passer-by"; Infinity Science Fiction Magazine, October 1957; included in chapter titled "The Other Side of the Sky": Not read.
  67. "The Call of the Stars"; Infinity Science Fiction Magazine, October 1957; included in chapter titled "The Other Side of the Sky": Not read.
  68. "Let There Be Light", Dundee Sunday Telegraph, 5th September 1957.
  69. "Out of the Sun", If, February 1958.
  70. "Cosmic Casanova" (A); Venture, May 1958: Humor. A playboy meets his match.
  71. "The Songs of Distant Earth": This short story, first published in "If" in June 1958, was expanded into a novel of the same name in 1986. I haven't read the short story; link takes you to my review of the novel.
  72. "A Slight Case of Sunstroke" (A); "First published in Galaxy, September 1958, as 'The Stroke of the Sun'": Humor. Description of a football match in South America.
  73. "Who's There" aka "The Haunted Spacesuit"; New Worlds, November 1958. SF Signal & Free SF Reader give this link to an online MP3 version of the story.
  74. "Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Orbiting ...", Dude, March 1959.
  75. "I Remember Babylon" (C); Playboy, March 1960: Dated cold war story - Soviets have got a new propaganda medium.
  76. "Trouble with Time"; "First published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, July 1960, as 'Crime on Mars'": Attempt at an ordinary theft in a museum is foiled due to an unusual confusion.
  77. "Into the Comet", "First published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1960, as 'Inside the Comet'".
  78. "Summertime on Icarus"; download MP3, or play BBC radio dramatization; "First published in Vogue, June 1960, as 'The Hottest Piece of Real Estate in the Solar System'": Shipwreck & rescue on an asteroid currently rather close to Sun.
  79. "Saturn Rising", The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1961.
  80. "Death and The Senator" (A); read online (no download, many clicks are required before text shows up); Analog, May 1961: Certain heart ailments may be best treated in a space hospital.
  81. "Before Eden" (A); play BBC radio dramatization; Amazing, June 1961: Inadvertent introduction of earth bacterial into an inhabitable zone of Venus is threatening to wipe of primitive local life.
  82. "Hate" (B); If, November 1961, as "At the End of Orbit": When a Russian moon capsule crashed in the Pacific when returning, a Russia-hating Hungarian rescue worker made sure the astronaut died during "rescue".
  83. "Love That Universe" (B); Escapade, 1961: Humans in dire peril need to make first contact with aliens!
  84. "Dog Star" (B); "First published in Galaxy, April 1962, as 'Moondog'": A man feels sad after preferring own career over his dog.
  85. "Maelstrom II" (A); Playboy, April 1962: Thriller. A man on board a flyer destined to crash has only one option to survive - jump!
  86. "An Ape About The House" (B), Dude, May 1962: A genetically modified female Chimpanzee, trained for house hold chores & babysitting, is purchased by a household. But she turns out to be more talented than the humans suspected.
  87. "The Shining Ones", Playboy, August 1962.
  88. "The Secret" (B); "First published in This Week, 11 August, 1963, as 'The Secret of the Men in the Moon'": How to live 3 times longer?
  89. "Dial F for Frankenstein" (A); Playboy, January 1964: A monster of an AI is accidentally born!
  90. [novelette] "The Wind from the Sun" (A); "First published in Boy's Life, March 1964, as 'Sunjammer'"; racing: Solar sail power interstellar vehicle!
  91. "The Food of the Gods" (B), Playboy, May 1964: Humor. A corporate FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) campaign.
  92. Time waster "The Last Command" (C); Bizarre! Mystery Magazine, November 1965: A cold war nuclear holocaust story where US completely decimates USSR.
  93. "Light of Darkness", Playboy, June 1966.
  94. "The Longest Science Fiction Story Ever Told" (C); "First published in Galaxy, October 1966, as 'A Recursion in Metastories'": A recursive letter.
  95. [ss] "Playback" (A); Playboy, December, 1966: Reincarnation is not possible with a corrupt mind dump!
  96. "The Cruel Sky", Boy's Life, July 1967.
  97. "Herbert George Morley Roberts Wells, Esq" (C); If, December 1967: Who was the real author of "The Anticipator"?
  98. "Crusade" (A), The Farthest Reaches, ed Joseph Elder, 1968: On a lonely cold world, evolution has produced an AI. And it's out on a crusade to free other AIs from their non-mechanical overlords (like humans).
  99. "Neutron Tide" (B); Galaxy, May 1970: Educational story, about how strong gravity gradient of a neutron star affects material.
  100. "Reunion" (B); Infinity #2, 1971: Long lost cousins of humanity are coming to earth for a reunion.
  101. "Transit of Earth" (A), Playboy, January 1971: A man watches the transit of earth & moon on the disk of sun - from mars - during a rare alignment that happens once in 100 years. Tragic story - he is the sole man on mars, & about to die.
  102. [novella] "A Meeting with Medusa" (A); Playboy, December 1971: Exploring the upper atmosphere of Jupiter in a manned vehicle.
  103. "Quarantine" (A); download; Issac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Spring 1977: Humor. Alien robots destroy earth because they were getting infected with a funny virus.
  104. "siseneG", Analog, May 1984: A joke rather than a story.
  105. "The Steam Powered Word Processor" (B); Analog, January 1986: Humor. A spin on the life story of Charles Babbage. And the project to build a device that will automatically write sermons for the priest!
  106. "On Golden Seas", "First published in Newsletter, Pentagon Defense Science Board, August 1986.
  107. "The Hammer of God" (B); Time magazine, 28 September 1992: An asteroid on an impact course with earth is deflected with heroic effort & much loss of life.This short story became the basis of the novel of the same name, "a few years later".
  108. With Stephen Baxter: "The Wire Continuum"; "Martian Times, December 1997 ... First published in Playboy, January 1998 by Stephen Baxtor and Arthur C Clarke ... I contributed little more than one of the basic ideas": I am not clear from text if original was first published in 1997, & then an edited version with Baxter in 1998, or there is something else there.
  109. "Improving the Neighborhood" (B); Nature, 4th November 1999; "The first science fiction Nature ever published.": Earth & moon explode, taking humans & everything else here with them - probably due to an industrial accident. A race of alien robots learns of it, & cries good riddance!

Fact sheet.

First published: 2000
Buy at


Anonymous said...


its really an exhaustive collection and you deserve to be the greatest fan of sir arthur. a good job done excellently.

Ian Heams said...

I'm trying to locate a story concerning life on Europa. This is a short story and concerns a race between American, British and Chinese spacecraft. The Chinese land on Europa to pick up more propellent (Water) but their spacecraft is wrecked and they are all killed by marine creatures that break through the ice surface, attracted by the light of their arc lamps.

It was published a long time before 2010 Odyssy Two but I can't remember the title. Can anyone help?
Ian Heams

Ian Heams said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Ixian said...

This book is definitely a must have for all Clarke fans and people new to him as it truly is his most comprehensive story collection.

However, be careful when buying the paperback edition cause as Tinkoo said... this book has almost a thousand pages. It will not get wrecked during a reading only if you read it solely on a table and with gloves ;)

Check out my photos of the aftermath after reading through the entire Collected stories of Arthur C. Clarke.
The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke
Learn on my mistakes.