The Star Essay

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The excerpt printed below is part of a longer essay comparing "The Star," by Arthur C. Clarke, "Neutron Star" by Larry Niven, and "To the Dark Star" by Robert Silverberg. Nedelkovich identifies both strengths and shortcomings in Clarke's narrative. Nedelkovich concludes that this widely read story's focus on character contributed to the development of science fiction as a genre.

Clarke's story opens with the famous sentence (one of the best introductory sentences ever in the American science-fiction short story): "It is three thousand light-years to the Vatican." The narrator is, curiously, a Jesuit priest who is also a practicing astronomer and a space-traveler, and he is a member (the chief astrophysicist) of a rather multitudinous expedition which surveys the remains of a supernova that exploded 6,000 years before. The story is set in the thirtieth century. (If it is true that one of the jobs of literary criticism is...

(read more from the Critical Essay #4 section)

This section contains 1,209 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Star Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Star from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.