Tales from the White Hart

Tales from the White Hart

Arthur C. Clarke

Language: English

Pages: 188

ISBN: 089190249X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The 50th Anniversary Edition of one of Arthur C. Clarke's best-loved collections featuring a brand new White Hart story written in collaboration with Stephen Baxter. Although written, as the author informs us in his Introduction to the 1969 edition, in such diverse locations as New York, Miami, Columbo and Sydney there is something inherently English about these stories. London's famed Fleet Street district has changed dramatically in the five decades since the collection's first appearance as a Ballantine paperback original... and, of course, many of the regulars of the White Hart (based on the White Horse pub on Fetter Lane) are no longer with us. But the White Hart's most prominent raconteaur, Harry Purvis can still be found propping up the bar and regaling us all once again with tales of quirky and often downright eccentric scientists and inventors. Here, for example, are a man who could control a giant squid; a man who could silence an entire orchestra at the flick of a switch; and a French genius who invents a machine that can record all human pleasures and transmit them to any client rich enough to afford such luxury. And rounding up the whole affair is 'Time Gentlemen, Please', in which we encounter a gadget able to accelerate the passage of time in a small volume... immensely useful for vaccine research where an entire year's worth of study could be completed in seconds. But the hapless inventor finds himself walled off by immobile air molecules... and even worse. It's a tale which points out, with some nostalgic resonance, that we simply cannot slow the passage of time. A fitting last word for one of SF's most enduring watering holes!

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and spasms between 1953 and 1956 at such diverse spots on the globe as New York, Miami, Colombo, London, Sydney, and various other locations whose names now escape me. In some cases the geographical influence is obvious, though curiously enough I had never visited Australia when “What Goes Up.…” was written. It seems to me that there is room—one might even say a long unfelt want—for what might be called the “tall” science-fiction story. By this I mean stories that are intentionally unbelievable;

sergeant major drilling an entire regiment. And when he lets himself go, conversation languishes elsewhere while we all wait for those cute little bones in the inner ear to resume their accustomed places. He had just lost his temper with John Christopher (we all do this at some time or other) and the resulting detonation had disturbed the chess game in progress at the back of the saloon bar. As usual, the two players were surrounded by backseat drivers, and we all looked up with a start as

exists, and if it does, it shouldn’t,” retorted Purvis, with the aplomb of Sir Alan Herbert dropping a particularly revolting neologism into his killing-bottle. “Where was I? Explaining sound, of course. When we make any sort of noise, from the faintest whisper to that concussion that went past just now, a series of pressure changes moves through the air. Have you ever watched shunting engines at work on a siding? You see a perfect example of the same kind of thing. There’s a long line of

have indicated disbelief, but followed Hercules without further question. The two Alsatians now busily chewing up the carpet looked at her anxiously and half rose to their feet, but she waved them away. “All right, boys,” she ordered gruffly. “I’ll be back in a minute.” Hercules thought this unlikely. It was a dark evening, and the lights in the conservatory were off. As they entered, Auntie snorted, “Gad, Hercules—the place smells like a slaughter-house. Haven’t met such a stink since I shot

discovers what’s going on? Any suggestions, anybody?” What Goes Up One of the reasons why I am never too specific about the exact location of the “White Hart” is frankly, because we want to keep it to ourselves. This is not merely a dog-in-the-manger attitude: we have to do it in pure self-protection. As soon as it gets around that scientists, editors and science-fiction writers are forgathering at some locality, the weirdest collection of visitors is likely to turn up. Peculiar people

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