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Against the Fall of Night (novel)

Arthur C. Clarke

Last modified: 2019-02-08 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: against the fall of night | the city and the stars | lys | clarke (arthur c.) |
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Against the Fall of Night (1953) and The City and the Stars (1956) are two science fiction novels by Arthur C. Clarke, the latter being a expanded rewrite of the former. Unusually in this case, the older, superseded version stayed in print. The novels are set on a far-future (several billion years) Earth which has retreated from the universe and undergone total desertification; the only two remaining human settlements, the sealed, technologically perfected city of Diaspar and the agrarian oasis of Lys, are voluntarily isolated from one another due to philosophical differences.
Eugene Ipavec, 20 June 2009


[green pennant]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 20 June 2009

Both versions of the book feature an identical passage describing the flag of Lys (pg. 48, 1970 Pyramid 5th paperback ed. of AtFoN / pg. 80, 1991 Bantam ed. of tCatS):

The party halted before the largest building Alvin had yet seen. It stood in the centre of the village and from a flagpole on its small circular tower a green pennant floated along the breeze.

It may be worth noting that this is probably the farthest-future fictional flag we have had reported.
Eugene Ipavec, 20 June 2009

In the books, Lys is aware of the existence of Diaspar, but the converse is not true, the citizens of Diaspar having deliberately blocked out the memory of Lys. Therefore Lys might logically feel a need for a symbol to distinguish itself from its neighbor, whereas Diaspar, believing itself to be alone, might not.
Eugene Ipavec, 1 July 2009