Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Nine Billion Names of God

Title: The Nine Billion Names of God
Author: Arthur C. Clarke
Published: Star Science Fiction Stories No. 1, 1953
Genre: Science fiction, short story

Rating: 9/10

Thoughts: I was snickering a little bit in my head throughout the first part of this story. A lama orders a computer/typewriter from a Western company that will be able to write out all permutations of 9 letters of a certain alphabet the monks devised. Of course to do the task on a modern machine would take 3 lines of code and less than a millisecond of time. But in 1953, this is a stretch of imagination and the machine will take 3 months to go through all permutations and print them out.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading the story. It is well written, deeply inquisitive, and the last line of the story is breathtaking. I am very glad other participants of the Out of This World Mini-Challenge steered me to it.

1 comment:

  1. It was a fun story. I have always been a fan of the older stories and their takes on what the future might be like. It doesn't surprise me that few were able to predict the kind of technology that we have today...or at least the speed at which that technology would work.

    I found the end to be very enjoyable and, as I said in my review, a little terrifying if you take a moment and consider it. I'm so glad you and others read this as it encouraged me to do so too. I recommend Clarke's short story Rescue Party if you haven't read it.