copyright 1986; Ballantine Books publishers, New York; hardbound in blue boards with red lettering along spine; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
The Songs of Distant Earth is a 1986 science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, based upon his 1958 short story of the same title. He stated that it was his favourite of all his novels. Clarke also wrote a short movie synopsis with the same title, published in Omni magazine and anthologized in The Sentinel in 1983.
The novel tells of a utopian human colony in the far future that is visited by travellers from a doomed Earth, as the Sun has gone nova. The Songs of Distant Earth explores apocalyptic, atheistic, and utopian ideas, as well as the effects of long-term interstellar travel and extra-terrestrial life.
The novel is set in the early 3800s and takes place almost entirely on the faraway oceanic planet of Thalassa. Thalassa has a small human population sent there by way of an embryonic seed pod, one of many sent out from Earth in an attempt to continue the human race before the Earth was destroyed.
The story begins with an introduction to the native Thalassans – the marine biologist Brant, his partner Mirissa and her brother Kumar. They are typical examples of the Thalassan culture; quiet, stable, and free from religion and supernatural influence. Their peaceful existence comes to an end with the arrival of the Magellan, an interstellar spaceship from Earth containing one million colonists who have been put into cryonic suspension.
In a series of descriptive passages, the events leading up to the race to save the human species are explained. Scientists in the 1960s discover that the neutrino emissions from the Sun – a result of the nuclear reactions that fuel the star – are far diminished from expected levels. At a secret session of the International Astronomical Union it is confirmed that the problem is not with the scientific equipment: the Sun is calculated to become a novaaround the year AD 3600.
Over a period of centuries humanity develops advanced technologies to send out seeding ships containing human and other mammalian embryos...