I just finished reading The Sentinel, which in my kindle library, is the second of the four collected volumes of Arthur C. Clarke’s short stories. I remember feeling like the first volume evoked an incredibly wide range of reactions for me, leaving me feeling overall like the collection was only OK.
I enjoyed this collection much more. Clarke, like many of his peers at the time, specialized in writing what I like to think of as “idea” stories. The characters aren’t usually that strong, and mostly serve to represent viewpoints or other ideas. But the stories themselves almost always surround one particularly interesting idea, such as: “What would happen if an alien species tried to save Earth from imminent disaster, but the only person they could reach was a drunk?”
Overall, I found the ideas in this collection fascinating, and while a few of the pieces really stood out, what I found particularly enjoyable was that there weren’t any pieces I didn’t like. All put together, this makes for a really enjoyable read. I’m excited to dive deeper into Clarke’s career and read more of this excellent short work.