Select one of the keywords
The Last Theorem    by Arthur C. Clarke & Frederick Pohl order for
Last Theorem
by Arthur C. Clarke
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Serge Fournier

Well, if you are looking for star power, this SF offering - authored by Arthur C. Clarke and Frederick Pohl - has got to be close to the top of your list. But there is a lot more to it; it's a classic. The Last Theorem tells the fictious story of a brilliant young boy who grows up through the 21st Century to witness the evolution of the human race.

Ranjit Subramanian, born in Sri Lanka, discovered early in life his keen interest in Number Theory. Under the guidance of his mentors, he developed his skills at discovering elegant solutions to difficult problems. Though life was not kind to him in early manhood, his isolation permitted him to focus on rediscovering the lost proof of Fermat's last theorem that an + bn = cn has no solution for n > 2. This feat propelled Ranjit to fame and provided him with a career and a small role in humanity's evolution.

Intertwined with Ranjit's life story - which is truly the backbone of this book - the authors extrapolate early 21st Century events into a credible near-term human future and a somehow humorous (but potentially devastating) alien response to Earth's 20th Century history. These events drive Ranjit's story to its conclusion.

Overall, I found reading this book a worthwhile investment. It has didactic components, exposing several problems of Number Theory - which I took as amusing puzzles. It has a human side as we witness Ranjit's tribulations and successes - but nothing too deep. And it has an SF component, with aliens, rocket ships and just about all the required paraphernalia of the genre - moderated by sober extrapolations. In conclusion, The Last Theorem is a solid hit for its grandmaster authors and a great acquisition for their fans.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews