Book Review: Islands in the Sky by Arthur C. Clark (Three Stars)

Book Review: Islands in the Sky by Arthur C. Clark (Three Stars)

My reason told me that I was perfectly safe, but all my instincts shouted, “You’ve a five-hundred-mile fall straight down beneath you!”

A pleasant if improbably bright teen “wins” a two-week vacation in space. What could possibly go wrong? (Quite a willing suspension of disbelief is required.) Light-hearted young adult adventure which, aside from the alien references, hews close to 1952 reality.

This was the moment when I really knew that I had reached space at last, and that nothing else could ever be the same again.

Written only five years after the invention of the transistor, Clark’s errors in electronic technology are understandable. On the other hand, he gets more science right than many modern author apparently raised on Star Trek pseudo-science. He correctly forecasts geosynchronous communication satellite, for example.

All, that is, except the Morning Star. As everyone knows, she made the first circumnavigation of Venus, back in 1985.

Not nearly the storytelling expected of Clark, but a fun romp through a teen’s wish fulfillment in space minus the bleak themes which dominate modern science fiction.

I want to make one thing quite clear. Although the word “stowaway” has been used, I don’t consider it at all accurate. No one had actually told me to leave the ship, and I wasn’t hiding. … But nobody did, so whose fault was that?