Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Last Theorem-Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl

The Last Theorem
Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl
Del Rey, Aug 2008, $27.00
ISBN: 9780345470218

In the middle of the twentieth century, atomic bomb testing was conducted on the land, at sea and in the air; eventually the radiation traveled into outer space, which brought the planet to the attention of the Grand Galactics who ordered the destruction of Earth before the barbarians devastated the universe. They sent their client races, the Machine Stored, a sentient species who left their bodies behind and become inhabitants of cyber pace. Also on assignment to destroy Earth is The Nine Limbed, the civilized race that speaks on behalf of the Grand Galactics and the one point five, the race that destroyed their world and needs prosthetics to survive.

Brilliant Sri Lankan mathematician Ranjit Subramanian is obsessed with Fermat’s Last Theorem. While he is in a prison, he works out the proof in his head and soon becomes an international sensation. He is privy to the non lethal weapon mankind has developed to bring peace to the world, but when the Grand Galactics learn there is no more need to destroy this orb, will they cease the eradication order or bureaucratically wipe out the planet.

THE LAST THEOREM is an interesting work that occurs on two levels. One plot focuses on Ranjit’s life from the time he is sixteen; while the other centers on alien invaders sent by their overlords to destroy the warmongering earthlings. Both subplots are fascinating as readers follow the progress made by earthlings to attain Pax through a special non-killing weapon. As fans wait for the macro and micro plots to merge, first contact could prove lethal.

Harriet Klausner

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