The Lion of Comarre and Against the Fall of Night

By Arthur C. Clarke

Rating: 4 stars

This volume contains two of Clarke’s earlier short works: The Lion of Comarre and Against the Fall of Night. I mostly acquired it for the latter, as its expanded version, The City and the Stars is one of my favourite stories and I wanted to see how the original compared.

I wasn’t disappointed, either. The two stories are actually pretty similar, although obviously Night has less depth to it. Characters and broad plot outlines are pretty similar but City gives them more space to breathe and fills in details skimmed over in Night. Comparing the two, I think I prefer City, although this may be because it was the one that I encountered first, although I think that the larger word count does give the story more breadth and depth, particularly in the Seven Suns section.

I enjoyed The Lion of Comarre as well. The two stories were put together because they share similar themes, although Lion is set in the nearer future than Night, but also looks at a utopian society that may be stagnating and introduces change to it. I was quite amused by the opening sequence where Richard Payton’s father tries to talk him out of joining a lowly ‘engineering’ profession in favour of the arts. Its inversion of roles reminded me of Monty Python’s Nothern Playwright sketch and made me smile.

Book details

ISBN: 9780330266581
Publisher: Pan
Year of publication: 1968

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