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This “little joke” is followed by the narrator’s quiet punch line: “Twenty years afterward, the remark didn’t seem funny.” Humor of situation is evident throughout the story, from the concept of “administering” a galaxy to the discovery of the humans’ “handicap” of bipedalism from an abandoned portrait of a City Alderman.The incongruity of the rescuers’ need for rescue is mirrored by the precision which allows the aliens an unflappable split-second escape but brings them there in the first place too late and with too little to do anything useful, then finds them baffled by relatively primitive communications devices and an automatic subway.Not a relic of lunar civilization, the artifact, half the age of Earth, was left by visitors: Wilson imagines it saying “I’m a stranger here myself.” After its destruction, he “guesses” it must have been a beacon; interrupting its signal has triggered a “fire alarm.” Lacking explicit alien intent, the pyramid emblemizes the unknown.
Directing its course to the receiving point of a communications array on Earth, the mile-long spaceship, now needing rescue itself, approaches rendezvous with an unexpected fleet of ships from the planet.
Unprecedented in size, this fleet of “primitive” rockets demonstrates an acceleration of man’s technological development so astonishing that the captain, the tentacled Alveron, whose ancient people are “Lords of the Universe,” teasingly suggests the vast Federation beware of these upstarts.
His 1967 collection of his “favorites” represents many facets of his career, from the raconteur of tall tales and ghost stories to the fantasist, the sentimentalist, the realist, and the poet of wonder.
Most of his best and best-known stories are included, from the haunting rite of passage of a young lunar exile getting his first glimpse of the unapproachably radioactive world of his ancestors (“‘If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth ,’”) to such “alien fables” of technological complacency as “Superiority” and “Before Eden.” “Rescue Party” Among them, “Rescue Party,” his second professionally published story, looks forward to other tales of human progress and alien contact, but it is unusual in its strong story line and alien viewpoint.
Exposed in his childhood to both the pulp magazines of Hugo Gernsback and the English literary tradition of fantasy and science fiction, Arthur C.
Clarke sometimes forged an uneasy alliance between the two in his own stories.
“The Sentinel” Even more understated, “The Sentinel” is allegedly told by an eyewitness who begins by directing the reader to locate on the Moon the Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises), where the discovery took place.
Part of a large 1996 expedition, he recalls fixing breakfast when a glint of light in the mountains caught his eye; staring through a telescope so fascinated him that he burned the sausages.
Over this time, people forget the secret location and Master revives millions of years later, only to find himself surrounded by insects.
He understands that insects won the war over man and are now ruling the world. "The Nine Billion Names of God" This is a story about a group of Tibetan Monks compiling a list of every possible name of God, in hopes of fulfilling God's purpose.