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Publisher's Summary

Two of science fiction’s most renowned writers join forces for a storytelling sensation. The historic collaboration between Frederik Pohl and his fellow founding father of the genre, Arthur C. Clarke, is both a momentous literary event and a fittingly grand farewell from the late, great visionary author of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Last Theorem is a story of one man’s mathematical obsession, and a celebration of the human spirit and the scientific method. It is also a gripping intellectual thriller in which humanity, facing extermination from all-but-omnipotent aliens, the Grand Galactics, must overcome differences of politics and religion and come together...or perish. In 1637, the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat scrawled a note in the margin of a book about an enigmatic theorem: “I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain”. He also neglected to record his proof elsewhere. Thus began a search for the Holy Grail of mathematics - a search that didn’t end until 1994, when Andrew Wiles published a 150-page proof. But the proof was burdensome, overlong, and utilized mathematical techniques undreamed of in Fermat’s time, and so it left many critics unsatisfied - including young Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan with a special gift for mathematics and a passion for the famous “Last Theorem".

When Ranjit writes a three-page proof of the theorem that relies exclusively on knowledge available to Fermat, his achievement is hailed as a work of genius, bringing him fame and fortune. But it also brings him to the attention of the National Security Agency and a shadowy United Nations outfit called Pax per Fidem, or Peace Through Transparency, whose secretive workings belie its name. Suddenly Ranjit - together with his wife, Myra de Soyza, an expert in artificial intelligence, and their burgeoning family - finds himself swept up in world-shaking events, his genius for abstract mathematical thought put to uses that are both concrete and potentially deadly. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anyone on Earth, an alien fleet is approaching the planet at a significant percentage of the speed of light. Their mission: To exterminate the dangerous species of primates known as homo sapiens.

©2008 Arthur C. Clarke (P)2008 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Last Theorem

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

2 master writers=1 great story

The listener experiences the science of Clarke and the story telling of Pohl which makes for a delightful listen. Also, the listener gets to learn a little bit about number theory and what's all this talk been about Fermat's last equation and why people through out history have gotten hooked on it.

For me the funnest part of the book surrounds the Galactic Overlords and how they are everywhere but really nowhere and we should just call them "Bill" with quotation marks and should not directly confuse them with God.

It was fun to read about Sri Lanka and get a good discussion on what Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative really means and how it can lead to peace through out the known universe. (There is also a laugh out loud line in the book where the authors refer to the famous people who live in Sri Lanka and dance around the fact that it's one of the author's of the book, funny, funny stuff).

The story itself is a simple story but the presentation interspersed with the science and philosophy made for an engaging whole. The two writers each knew what there strengths were and contributed their strength to the story.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good but not Clarke's Best

I think this story was more Pohl than it was Clarke. I kept reading Clarke's later work trying to find something to equal to what I consider his best work, Childhood's End, and I never found it. This was pretty good but you had to pay pretty close attention as the story got really involved. This isn't one of those you can listen to while you do your taxes and still keep track of the story. Worth a listen.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Very disapointing to a long time Pohl fan

This novel seemed to me more like a very drawn out short story. I have read most of Pohl's novels and none of Clarke's, and am a big Pohl fan, so I have to come to the conclusion that this debacle was more Clarke's doing. In any case, I hope this isn't Pohl's last novel, because I would hate to see such a rich career end on a sour note. I do not recommend this book.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Boring

What disappointed you about The Last Theorem?

Old men telling a story about what they imagine to be how young people live, interspersed with their egomanical views on how to "save the world".

Has The Last Theorem turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mark Bramhall?

He did ok.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Last Theorem?

Most everything. All the "happily living along in Sri Lanka" stuff.

Any additional comments?

The worst book by Clarke I know. By far. All of his old ideas mixed into one book, in a boring story with very little "science fiction".

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Love Clarke. Great read for super fans like me.

I wouldn't suggest this as an intro to the works of Arthur C. Clarke but it's a good one. Not the best of his works I've read and I am largely unfamiliar with Pol.

Major events in the narrative and arcs in the story seemed awkward and clunky when compared with other stories by Clarke that I consider favorites. They somehow pull off a great novel in spite of the "clunky" feeling of the of the narrative flow.

Other books of Clarke's seem to carry themselves a little more gracefully than this one did, but many of the same classic themes shine through and the spirit of the tale is fulfilling in the final execution.

They did a great job building an interesting story around a mathematical proof. That's a major achievement in and of itself. I hated math in school but loved the adventure of the main character trying to figure it out. The plot devices used to give Ranj the time to solve the math mystery was the first of various plot points to seem clunky, but I liked the character enough to let it slide and kept going.

Certain plot points seem too tidy but it's an interesting enough story to keep you wanting more and keep you along for the ride. Didn't unfold the way I expected (at ANY point throughout the novel) and I take that as an advantage in this case.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Could not finish the book

Not only does the book go nowhere, but the narrator also uses an obscene indian accent to simulate how shrilankans speak to each other.. it was terrible

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

great collaboration

Great Listen. A little anti climactic . Eight words tossed in to meet the minimum.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

The stupid and vain ramblings of two old men.

What disappointed you about The Last Theorem?

The story just rambled on going nowhere.

Would you ever listen to anything by Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl again?

Yes, their earlier works are very good.

What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?

This guy is amazing. All voices were believable and very well done. A wasted performance on a pathetic story.

What character would you cut from The Last Theorem?

Start with the main character and then cut the rest. Flat characters with no heart.

Any additional comments?

Earlier works by Clark are excellent. This one should have been left undone.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Didn't care for this one.

The story was not what I expected. Less scifi and more math. Title reflects the story, then there was some scifi thrown in as filler. Disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Needs Tightening

Though written by a pair of grand master sci fi authors, the book contains too much unneeded material. Do we really need the number games, or the various travels around the world following the hero's sudden fame, or sitting around in a top secret facility for two months with nothing to do? Though the ending is satisfying enough, the journey there can be turtuous and disconnected.

2 people found this helpful

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