The Last Theorem

By Arthur C. Clarke

Rating: 1 star

I’m a big fan of Arthur C. Clarke, but 3001 The Final Odyssey and now this have tested my loyalty. Both were written in the latter years of Sir Arthur’s life (The Last Theorem was the last book published before his death) and both had good ideas that were poorly executed.

The EM shockwave of Earth’s nuclear tests spread into space and eventually reach a race of mega-beings, called the Grand Galactics who immediately dispatch one of their client races to eliminate this upstart race. Meanwhile, young mathematician Ranjit Subramanian discovers a short, elegant proof to Fermat’s Last Theorem and becomes embroiled in a secret organisation.

I really wanted to like this book, there were many good ideas but the writing was very poor, the pacing was very uneven and the characterisation was thin. The galactic invasion plot and the Earth-based plots never really meshed properly and the end was a complete mess, with no tension having been built up, and the conclusion just happens out of nowhere, leaving me wondering if a chapter or two had been missed out.

A disappointing end to a long and fruitful career.

Book details

ISBN: 9780007290024
Publisher: Voyager
Year of publication: 2008

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