realistic piece of fiction on the interstellar theme" - as compared to Star Trek and Star Wars, which, because of their reliance upon faster-than-light travel, are not truly science fiction. In this, Clarke succeds.However, he fails to create characters or a society that are consistently interesting enough to emerge from this backdrop of realism. Clarke is a strong writer and thinker, and I frequently came upon passages worth underlining. But upon finishing the novel I did not feel that sweet sadness that comes from bidding farewell to a world so vivid that it felt real. Perhaps realism is not enough: the characters in Star Wars, despite doing impossible things, come to life in a way that the people of Magellan and θαλασσα do not.
Clarke's intent, as stated in his preface, is partly to "creat[ing] a wholly