Anyone who has paid any attention to this blog knows that I am a HUGE fan of Sir Arthur C. Clarke. His works, fiction and non-fiction, are compelling, well-researched, out-of-the-box, etc., etc., etc. No one who knows me should be surprised that I pre-ordered his final book (The Last Theorem, co-authored with Frederik Pohl) from Amazon, just to ensure that I would receive it as soon as it came out.
Alas, the book was quite a disappointment – the collaboration between these two great authors maybe just didn’t work or Sir Clarke’s inability, due to his illness, to contribute more fully might have been a problem, or something. I kept waiting for the book to GO SOMEWHERE, but it never did.
The list of flaws is long; the aliens introduced were cartoonish and plastic, the sub-plot with the main character’s son (who seemed to have some sort of advanced mental capability) went nowhere, the title of the book didn’t have anything to do with the main storyline (whatever that was – it was difficult to tell), previous ideas of Sir Clarke’s (a fascination with pentominoes, solar sail racing, low-gravity olympics) were revisited in a boring, copycat manner, etc., etc., etc.
Oh yes, a Space Elevator is mentioned and briefly discussed, but no new ideas are talked about.
Ah well, I have many of his other books I can re-read and re-enjoy. IMHO, his best works were The Sands of Mars (even as out-dated as it now is), Songs of Distant Earth, Rendevous with Rama and Childhoods End. And, of course, Space Elevator afficianados are huge fans of his The Fountains of Paradise. Finally, if you like short stories with a good bit of (English) humor in them, check out Tales from the White Hart, a series of stories told at the White Hart pub.
My advice on The Last Theorem, wait for the paperback version or get it from the library.