Jen’s Library – Songs of Distant Earth

Songs of Distant Earth
by Arthur C. Clarke

Ah, another dip into classic, comfortable sci-fi.

In this world, Earth has been handed a death sentence, so “seedships” are developed to bring humanity to habitable planets and keep us from extinction. The thing is, technology is always advancing, so some of the last ships to leave are faster than the old ones, and so we get a situation where a ship whose crew has witnessed the actual destruction of the planet arrives at a colony that was established with one of the first ships ever to leave Earth – so early that people didn’t travel, only their DNA did, and they were built from nothing when the ship landed, in a sort of “Genesis Project”.

You’ve got one population on an eden-like planet, who have never seen Earth and only have a few bits of literature and art to show them where they came from, and one population from the difficult last years of Earth’s existence. Drama ensues! The actual story is a little weak, in my opinion, and my favorite part has always been the interesting ideas on what our future might hold and what we might do once our planet’s demise was inevitable and predictable. What will our “end days” bring? Chaos? A scientific surge and a desperate attempt to get Man out of the solar system? A rush to religion or a retreat from it? Clarke covers this well despite being a little heavy-handed in moral judgements on humanity.

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