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S.F. F. & F. Culture (Science-Fiction, Fantasy & Fantastic)

The Sentinel (Short story)

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© 1951 – Arthur C. Clarke

Written in 1948, this Arthur C. Clarke’s short story was only published in 1951 in the magazine Story Fantasy under the title Sentinel of Eternity.

The story

While a scientific team was here to chart and study the Moon, a sparkling, which seems to be unnatural, on a far escarpment draws their attention.

Arriving on-site, their surprise is great to discover an artefact protected by a force field, which has to be leaved here by an extremely advanced civilization passing through our solar system millions or billions years ago.

But the most troubling is that barely discover, the object had begun to emit a signal. What will happen next? Will we receive some visit? Especially as the recipient seems not to be very far…

My opinion

This story is probably the most famous of Arthur C. Clarke and was published in many collection. But particularly, it serves for the Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, for which he developed the original idea and published the eponymous novel in 1968.

This success, Clarke, as good astrophysicist and satellite pioneer, owes to his very precise vision – since 1951! – that he had about the composition and the structure of the Moon, giving a very realistic dimension to his story.

But that’s not all because, besides the hard science side of his stories, Arthur C. Clarke is also a brilliant writer who knows how to use words with dexterity and subtlety, scattering his stories with a poesy touch.

Shortly, an unmissable short story.


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