A major retrospective, 1949-65, featuring 13 stories, several rarely if ever reprinted, and a 1987 fictional essay ("On Golden Seas") amusingly setting forth Clarke's disapproving views on Star Wars. The stories, whose general theme is the fate of planet Earth, show the early Clarke at his most lyrical and visionary, as he tackles classic themes: departing starships and those left behind ("The Road to the Sea"); revolt against utopia ("The Lion of Comarre"); dolphins, whales, and marine farming ("The Deep Range"); "The Man Who Ploughed the Sea"); antigravity ("The Cruel Sky"); nuclear holocaust ("If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth. . ."); space colonies ("Saturn Rising"); odd universes and higher geometries (the terrifying "Wall of Darkness"); and a couple of yarns that properly belong with the collection Tales From the White Hart. Plus: dying astronauts, movie-hyped xenophobia, and probability worlds. Dated in some respects, startlingly predictive in others: Clarke is never at the cutting edge here, but he is good company, and the rarities will make it a useful addition to collections and libraries.