A Reader’s Response to Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Star”
November 18, 2015
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A reader going by the name of Qoheleth writes in about his experience with what he calls “the canon gap”:
Earlier this year, I submitted my Arthur C. Clarke homage/riposte “With Royal Beauty Bright” to Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, on the theory that the 60th anniversary of the publication of “The Star” would be a fitting time to publish a story attempting to answer its closing question. And I can still recall my shock when the editor rejected it, not on the grounds that it wasn’t up to IASFM standards – not even on the grounds that science fiction ought not to feature supernatural phenomena such as prophecy – but quite bluntly on the grounds that IASFM couldn’t expect its readers to be familiar with “The Star”.
“The Star”, if you please. The story that placed 15th in the SFWA’s famous survey to select the masterpieces of pre-Nebula sf, and only missed inclusion in “The Science Fiction Hall of Fame” because another Clarke story (“The Nine Billion Names of God” – speaking of supernatural phenomena) had placed 11th. The story that put the C of sf’s ABC in the first “Hugo Winners” volume, and that was chosen, along with a handful of others, to represent his work in the Grand Masters anthology. *That* story, the readers of IASFM couldn’t be expected to know.
Of course, now that we live in the future and have things like blogs and Youtube and Project Gutenberg, such protestations of the editors of the old print magazine are now quite out of date.
You can hear Arthur C. Clarke’s reading of his classic story right here:
You can read Qoheleth’s story here.