No less than 104 short novels, some rather hard to find, gathered in one book.
“Only philosophers were interested in unanswerable questions” quoted a character in one of these novels. So are ancient myths and modern science fictions. Melancholic rêveries and meditations reminiscent of Borges‘s best novels, speculative assertions with the same fragrance one can find in Conan Doyle’s late novels, when drawn to spirituality, the creator of Sherlock Holmes questioned the same mystery, sarcastic but nevertheless humoristic observations of human trivialities, all of these multiple facets of Arthur C Clarke’s world are the threads that weave together the frame of these novels. Clarke is rather pessimistic about humanity’s fate, a race smart enough to travel to outer space, but not wise enough to prevent itself from digging its own grave. Is mankind doomed, leaving room in the future to some more intelligent or more ethical species? Most probably so. But there is at least one thing that could be salvageable. In « Dog Star », an astronaut on a Moon base awakes from a dream in which Laika, his dog, is barking. Just in time for him to take prompt actions and escape from a lunar tremor. He then realized that she could not actually have saved him as she did years ago, when she alerted him of an earthquake, saving his life. For they are separated by a barrier no one could cross. Laika died 5 years ago. It was his never sleeping subconscious remembrance of his dog that made him dream of her, barking, as she did the first time when she saved him. If love is eternal, where does its spirit transmigrate when the corpse falls into dust? To outer space? Or into another dimension? “Space of several billions of dimensions has been frequently postulated in sub-atomic physics” said one character in “Technical error”. So more or less did Spinoza centuries ago when he asserted in “Ethica”, that “God has an infinite number of attributes. Attribute, this esoteric term he used at that time, could be understood nowadays, in the light of our physics knowledge, as “dimensions”.