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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 2005 by Arthur C. Clarke

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SOJALS rating:     
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I first read this on the 19th August 2006.

The Sun is about to eject a mass of plasma straight at the Earth. The mass is bigger than Jupiter. It will flay Mother Earth of its atmosphere and all life on the planet will die. That is all life except a few anaerobic bacteria buried kilometres underground, and that is not much consolation.

I shouldn't complain. I hadn't expected to enjoy this very much. That's true but very sad because there are some things in the book to enjoy. For one thing, the writing is often very good. What depressed me was:

  • a little too much sun science, especially when mixed unhealthily with dashes of religion.
  • the feeling that I was reading not what was happening, but a summary of what was happening

It's so frustrating, this could have been a brilliant disaster novel. There's certainly a lot that can be made of the sun ejecting vast plumes of plasma. You've obviously got colour and lighting effects, but you can throw in earthquakes, volcanoes, atmospheres being ripped away. Bring it down to human scale and you have injury and death, drama and emotion, in almost unlimited quantities. With all those exhilerating ingredients it should be hard to make it boring. Unfortunately, Arthur C Clarke has done exactly that. The great man has, of course, written some superb novels - one of my personal favourites is "Imperial Earth" - but this novel misses the mark completely.

Loaded on the 16th December 2006.
Cover of Sunstorm
Cover art by ridgewaydesign.com

Reviews of other works by Arthur C. Clarke:
Imperial Earth
The Fountains Of Paradise
The Ghost From The Grand Banks
The Hammer Of God

Reviews of other works by Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Kube-McDowell:
The Trigger

Reviews of other works by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter:
The Light Of Other Days