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Clarke's last vision of future

August 05, 2008|From the Associated Press

Arthur C. Clarke's health was failing fast, but he still had a story to tell. So he turned to fellow science fiction writer Frederik Pohl, and together the longtime friends wrote what turned out to be Clarke's last novel.

"The Last Theorem," which grew from 100 pages of notes scribbled by Clarke, is more than a futuristic tale about a mathematician who discovers a proof to a centuries-old mathematical puzzle.

The novel, due in bookstores today, represents a historic collaboration between two of the genre's most influential writers in the twilight of their careers. Clarke, best known for his 1968 work, "2001: A Space Odyssey," died in March at age 90; Pohl is 88.

"As much as anything, it'll be a historic artifact," says Robin Wayne Bailey, a former president of Science Fiction Writers of America. "This is a book between two of the last remaining giants in the field."

Clarke originally intended "The Last Theorem" to be his last solo project, and he began writing it in 2002. But progress was slow because of his poor health, and he missed the book's original 2005 publication deadline.

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