What are reader reactions to the story of "If I Forget Thee, O Earth" by Arthur C. Clarke?  

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This 'very short story' is very powerful in both imagery and content. The absence of dialogue between Marvin and his father increases the sense of physical desolation and alienation. It also raises some serious questions about the future of the Earth. In this particular case, it is a nuclear holocaust which renders the planet uninhabitable for generations to come.

In this respect this story falls into the category of the cautionary tale, a story written as a warning of what may come if current trends in society and politics continue. The emphasis on technology gone awry is also a leit motif virtually ominipresent in most all science fiction stories, although some tales do indeed eclipse this 'doomsday syndrome.'

On a more positive note (but along the same ideas) is Clarke's 'The Songs of Distant Earth.'  In this novel the Earth has been also destroyed by radioactive fallout, but "seed ships" have been sent throughout the universe so that the human race will live on. The story deals with the encounter of two of these, which meet and then go on their separate ways.

Besides being a great science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke made another contribution as well. Using geostatic satellites for global telecommunication was his idea, paving the way for the Internet and accelerating the process of economic globalization.

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If I Forget Thee, O Earth . . .

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