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Rescue Party by Arthur C. Clarke

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“Rescue Party” is a 1946 science fiction novelette by Arthur C. Clarke. It is about an alien exploration ship sent to rescue the last of humankind before the sun goes supernova.

The End Of The World… Once Again

One trend I’ve noticed among both classic and modern writers of science fiction is the tendency to write about “the end of the world” – so to speak. Here is another classic story by the great Arthur C. Clarke about that very topic – only this one is told from the aliens’ point of view.

Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell

Supernova 1994D - courtesy of NASA

Alveron is captain of the Galactic Survey Ship S9000, which has recently been ordered to save a young civilization from its exploding star. Arriving hours before the sun goes supernova, Alveron sends two teams to rescue people – but the planet seems deserted. One team finds a working (but recently abandoned) communications station, while the other team finds a bit of trouble when they stumble upon a working subway. Now the question is whether Alveron can save his crew before the end of the world – literally!

My Two Cents…

  • The various races of aliens which make up the crew of the S9000 are really cool! One of the reasons I love classic science fiction like this is because of the fun and unique life forms.
  • The feeling of a recently abandoned planet about to meet its doom worked very well in this story. It created both a sense of urgency to the story, as well as a cool setting.
  • Like most of Arthur C. Clarke’s stories, the ending was great!

Interesting Tidbits About This Story:

  • Page Count: 17
  • Word Count: 10,337
  • Did you know that Arthur C. Clarke built his first telescope at age thirteen? Yep. You can read his biography at the arthurcclarke.net web site.
  • Guess what? This story placed 9th in the 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll – very cool!

Where You Can Find Rescue Party:

Craving More Stories?

If you enjoyed “Rescue Party” then you might also like Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge by Mike Resnick – about a group of anthropological aliens who are studying the long and brutal empire of mankind.

2 thoughts to “Rescue Party by Arthur C. Clarke”

  1. This was my first ever Clarke story, read sometime last year, I believe. I came away very impressed, enjoyed it a great deal. I found the entire story to be engaging and thought the end was fantastic. I’ve read a few more Clarke short stories since then, and they were good, but it will be hard to beat this one just because it was my first exposure.

  2. Carl,

    This was a great story. I have read several short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, and this one (the last one I read) has become my favorite. There was just something cool about the aliens and the way they were truly trying to help others. A very good read indeed!

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