Firstborn by Arthur C. Clarke

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Book Information  
AuthorArthur C. Clarke
SeriesTime's Eye
GenreScience Fiction
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Poliprof 
(Jul 02, 2008)

Having enjoyed "Time's Eye" and "Sunstorm," I have to confess that "Firstborn" was a disappointment. Not to criticize too harshly the great man so soon after his death, but Arthur C. Clarke's and Stephen Baxter's last installment of the trilogy was to me a dashed-off semi-effort with minimally fleshed-out characters, little in the way of coherent action, and, in the end, an egregiously unsatisfying denouement.

In terms of form, the constant, short chapter to-and-fro style revealed little and appeared to be crafted in haste. For example, what is the meaning of Chapter 35, "Interlude..."? Here we have the alien character "Witness" communicating with the ancient Greeks. The end of the chapter appears to have Witness, along with Athena, et. al., prepared to save her species by taking on the Q-bomb. All well and good, yet, we never hear from that character again. What happens to Mir and all concerned? The final chapter where "Charlie" (Charlotte) is revealed as a Lastborn is certainly clever; that said, the Charlie character has no substance whatsoever within the rest of the story, and thus the last chapter is practically devoid of context.

Leaving a reader with more questions than answers is not normally a means for complaint about SF writing. However, with "Firstborn," the authors have offered us an unsatisfying end to the trilogy. As is typical for a Clarke novel, the technical expertise is finely done and well-written. As a story however, I found much to be desired.

(Editing error: 1st sentence, top of p.60 - "Bisesa" should be "Bella.")

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