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Review of “Imperial Earth” by Arthur C. Clarke

This is a strange novel. Brave, but different, strong, but without much backbone. First off, I must address something that struck me as so odd and surreal. It hit me personally in a very odd way. At one point, we have Duncan enjoying a chorus of songs being sung by a group of tourists. These are old Earth songs. It’s the way he highlights the songs that is interesting. He highlights them from Duncan’s point of view. A person who is really a fish out of water, but we will get to that in a moment. He has no idea what these songs are about for the most part, and he certainly hasn’t a clue as to their age. Let’s take a look at what I am talking about, “He was not quite sure what had befallen Darling Clementine, but that song was crystal clear compared with one recounting the exploits of Waltzing Matilda.” It is very interesting that Clarke picks these two songs to give Earth a history. Darling Clementine is a very sorrowful song, usually sung in an upbeat and bouncy voice. I know you have heard it somewhere. The song is tragic, as Duncan puts it. It speaks of a girl who drowns back in the old mining days of the 1800s. Her love gets over her, and her father kills himself. Like I said, it is tragic, and probably not too far from something that could have happened. Waltzing Matilda however is a reference to a somewhat more obscure song for some of us. It is an old Australian bush song that also speaks of tragic events similar to Clementine’s song albeit with a lot more cryptic Australian language.  At first I believed that Waltzing Matilda might actually be a reference to a Tom Waits song, but alas I was mistaken. Continue reading Review of “Imperial Earth” by Arthur C. Clarke