Thursday, September 27, 2007

Arthur C. Clarke's "Improving the Neighborhood": A shorter version of "The Star"

Good thing about this story is - it's very tiny, hence doesn't bore. Pretty much everything here has already been told even in Clarke's other stories.

Story summary.
Plot is essentially the same as that of Clarke's "The Star". A big explosion that kills an entire sentient race; another race elsewhere in galaxy learns of it, & mulls over it.

Only the explosion is of earth, taking moon with it - "Double Nova". Probably during an industrial accident involving the tapping of zero-point energy; story only conjectures it might be an accident.

Story is told by a "germanium-based consciousness" somewhere nearby in galaxy - based on intercepted radio transmissions from earth, & also by observing the "Double Nova".

Their reaction is: good riddance (hence the title). Who cares for creatures that have recorded "countless episodes of violence, against their own species and the numerous others that occupied their planet".

See also.

  1. Arthur Clarke's novel "The Songs of Distant Earth": Humans tap zero-point energy to power interstellar travel when Sun goes Nova.
Fact sheet.
Improving the Neighborhood, short story, review
First published: Nature magazine, 4th November 1999. "First science fiction Nature ever published."
Rating: B

The story appears in the following collections.
  1. "The Collected Stories of Arthur C Clarke"