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From outside it was simply an ordinary-looking London pub, a place you'd have to be guided to more than once before you memorized its location, somewhere between Fleet Street and the Embankment. But if, by chance, an insider led you to the White Hart on a Wednesday night, you would have found yourself in the midst of a select gathering or writers, editors, scientists and i From outside it was simply an ordinary-looking London pub, a place you'd have to be guided to more than once before you memorized its location, somewhere between Fleet Street and the Embankment. But if, by chance, an insider led you to the White Hart on a Wednesday night, you would have found yourself in the midst of a select gathering or writers, editors, scientists and interested laymen—drinking, swapping odd bits of information, and, like as not, listening to Harry Purvis' memorable stories. A scientist by profession, Harry Purvis has had or heard about some of the most astonishing experiences—like the story of the carnivorous orchid that was used in a murder plot, or the one about the military computer that was converted to pacifism. There's SILENCE PLEASE, involving a spurned lover and a device that was supposed to destroy sound; and BIG GAME HUNT, in which an ambitious researcher becomes so wrapped up in his latest projest—controlling animal behavior with electrical impulses— that he overlooks one tiny important detail. Such stories may challenge your powers of logic and strain your imagination. Yet even if you doubt their veracity, they're guaranteed to provide you with hours of SF reading. Baron Munchausen, step aside. Contains: Silence Please; Big Game Hunt; Patent Pending; Armaments Race; Critical Mass; The Ultimate Melody; The Pacifist; The Next Tenants; Moving Spirit; The Man Who Ploughed the Sea; The Reluctant Orchid; Cold War; What Goes Up; Sleeping Beauty & The Defenestration of Ermintrude


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From outside it was simply an ordinary-looking London pub, a place you'd have to be guided to more than once before you memorized its location, somewhere between Fleet Street and the Embankment. But if, by chance, an insider led you to the White Hart on a Wednesday night, you would have found yourself in the midst of a select gathering or writers, editors, scientists and i From outside it was simply an ordinary-looking London pub, a place you'd have to be guided to more than once before you memorized its location, somewhere between Fleet Street and the Embankment. But if, by chance, an insider led you to the White Hart on a Wednesday night, you would have found yourself in the midst of a select gathering or writers, editors, scientists and interested laymen—drinking, swapping odd bits of information, and, like as not, listening to Harry Purvis' memorable stories. A scientist by profession, Harry Purvis has had or heard about some of the most astonishing experiences—like the story of the carnivorous orchid that was used in a murder plot, or the one about the military computer that was converted to pacifism. There's SILENCE PLEASE, involving a spurned lover and a device that was supposed to destroy sound; and BIG GAME HUNT, in which an ambitious researcher becomes so wrapped up in his latest projest—controlling animal behavior with electrical impulses— that he overlooks one tiny important detail. Such stories may challenge your powers of logic and strain your imagination. Yet even if you doubt their veracity, they're guaranteed to provide you with hours of SF reading. Baron Munchausen, step aside. Contains: Silence Please; Big Game Hunt; Patent Pending; Armaments Race; Critical Mass; The Ultimate Melody; The Pacifist; The Next Tenants; Moving Spirit; The Man Who Ploughed the Sea; The Reluctant Orchid; Cold War; What Goes Up; Sleeping Beauty & The Defenestration of Ermintrude

30 review for Tales from the White Hart

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Tales from the White Hart, Arthur C. Clarke Tales from the White Hart is a collection of short stories by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, originally published in paperback in 1957. Includes: Preface, Silence Please, Big Game Hunt, Patent Pending, Armaments Race, Critical Mass, The Ultimate Melody, The Pacifist, The Next Tenants, Moving Spirit, The Man Who Ploughed the Sea, The Reluctant Orchid, Cold War, What Goes Up, Sleeping Beauty, The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch. تاریخ نخستین خو Tales from the White Hart, Arthur C. Clarke Tales from the White Hart is a collection of short stories by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, originally published in paperback in 1957. Includes: Preface, Silence Please, Big Game Hunt, Patent Pending, Armaments Race, Critical Mass, The Ultimate Melody, The Pacifist, The Next Tenants, Moving Spirit, The Man Who Ploughed the Sea, The Reluctant Orchid, Cold War, What Goes Up, Sleeping Beauty, The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نهم ماه دسامبر سال 1996میلادی عنوان: روح سرگردان؛ نویسنده: آرتور سی. کلارک؛ مترجم: محمد قصاع؛ تهران، آبنوس؛ 1373؛ در 208ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 20م پانزده داستان کوتاه با عنوانهای: «روح سرگردان»؛ «سکوت مطلق»؛ «ساکت کننده پنتون»؛ «شکار بزرگ»؛ «اختراع وسوسه انگیز»؛ «اسباب بازی مرگبار»؛ «عنصر خطرناک»؛ «موسیقی نهایی»؛ «کامپیوتر صلح طلب»؛ «مالکان آینده»؛ «مردی که دریا را شخم زد»؛ «ارکیده عجیب»؛ «جنگ سرد»؛ «سقوط»؛ «ارمینترود پر حرف»؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 26/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jokoloyo

    I tried to read some bar tall tales theme in science fction/fantasy genre. Before this book, I have read Tales From Gavagan's Bar and The Draco Tavern. Tales From The White Hart (TFTWH) is my third book, and I already has some expectation when reading it. My expectation "hurts" some of the surprises. But I give 4 star rating not because I am a fan of Mr. Clarke, but because the ending of last story is better wrapping up the book than Gavagan or Draco (Draco has a good ending too, Gavagan has the I tried to read some bar tall tales theme in science fction/fantasy genre. Before this book, I have read Tales From Gavagan's Bar and The Draco Tavern. Tales From The White Hart (TFTWH) is my third book, and I already has some expectation when reading it. My expectation "hurts" some of the surprises. But I give 4 star rating not because I am a fan of Mr. Clarke, but because the ending of last story is better wrapping up the book than Gavagan or Draco (Draco has a good ending too, Gavagan has the unclear ending). As we can expect from Mr. Clarke, the tall stories are harder in science than Gavagan. And at one of later stories, readers will understand the reason author wrote TFTWH in first-person narratives. As we can also expect from Mr. Clarke, the tall stories in this book is relatively in light theme and rarely the plot is good-versus-evil. Many tales in this book that if written by others would be ended as darker fantasy stories.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Absolutely outstanding. I hadn't re-read this book for at least twenty years. Somehow it had gotten pigeonholed in my memory as a bit boring and dull. But it's anything but dull or boring! Classic and funny science fiction stories using the classic bar-story format. Over and over I found myself coming across phrases and ideas which I'd incorporated into my personal lexicon, only to forget where they'd come from. "Oh, so this is where I first read that!" I kept saying. It's a pity that Clarke wrote Absolutely outstanding. I hadn't re-read this book for at least twenty years. Somehow it had gotten pigeonholed in my memory as a bit boring and dull. But it's anything but dull or boring! Classic and funny science fiction stories using the classic bar-story format. Over and over I found myself coming across phrases and ideas which I'd incorporated into my personal lexicon, only to forget where they'd come from. "Oh, so this is where I first read that!" I kept saying. It's a pity that Clarke wrote so few of these stories. They're wonderful.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    Short science fiction stories, all by the same man. Very amusing and whimsical. Kind of silly and fun. All sorts of stuff, like finding the perfect tune, discovering a man-eating plant, sabotaging Florida with a fake iceberg, termites taking over the world, noise cancellation, controlling animals, etc. etc. No outer space stuff – just good old outlandish science.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    Arthur C. Clarke is/was one of the "big three" of science fiction. Although the stories from the White Hart are not exactly SF they do bring a sense of wonder and astonishment. Enjoy! Arthur C. Clarke is/was one of the "big three" of science fiction. Although the stories from the White Hart are not exactly SF they do bring a sense of wonder and astonishment. Enjoy!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This collection of short stories has some very personal connections. First of all the book though. Its a series of tales from yes you guessed that very British establishment the pub (have actually been in a white Hart myself come to think of it), where tales are told and stories swapped. The stories represent the extremes like all good tales (think Baron Münchhausen at his most respectable) where morals and punchlines take over where restraint and subtly should normally prevail. For example one This collection of short stories has some very personal connections. First of all the book though. Its a series of tales from yes you guessed that very British establishment the pub (have actually been in a white Hart myself come to think of it), where tales are told and stories swapped. The stories represent the extremes like all good tales (think Baron Münchhausen at his most respectable) where morals and punchlines take over where restraint and subtly should normally prevail. For example one story narrated by Harry Purvis (in fact the narrator of all the stories) about a film special effects man who creates more than he bargains for always sticks in my mind. But what the personal connection - well from my in my early reading days I was still finding my feet and although my parents read a lot they never really got my fascination with science fiction - however they supported me. I remember my father showing me a copy of wireless weekly (my father is an exceptional electrical engineer) written by Arthur C Clarke about bouncing radio signal off artificial satellites to reach the other side of the world held in a geosynchronous orbit (and so was born the age of the communications satellite) and for me this made science fiction all the more credible - not only were there tall tales of far away worlds and terrifying aliens but also genuine science that the world today depends upon. And then there was the sense of wonder - I often remember the sheer exhilaration of reading the wonders of science fiction for the first time and that I have to credit to Arthur C Clarke. So here I find myself reading my copy of the book again all these years later - Its strange how a book can pull you back and even though you remember it you still find great joy in reading it all over again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    Evgeny's review of Callahan's Crosstime Saloon made me think I should rate this! Evgeny's review of Callahan's Crosstime Saloon made me think I should rate this!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Raj

    Although a fan of Arthur C. Clarke, I'd never heard of this collection before reading Charles Stross's short story A Bird in the Hand on his blog (well worth reading itself), which was written in homage to 'Tales from the White Hart'. I've encountered a few of the stories before in other collections, but never as a set, and I must say that I really enjoyed them. The humour in these tall tales and shaggy dog stories is evident right from the word go, many of them are build-ups to a single pun deli Although a fan of Arthur C. Clarke, I'd never heard of this collection before reading Charles Stross's short story A Bird in the Hand on his blog (well worth reading itself), which was written in homage to 'Tales from the White Hart'. I've encountered a few of the stories before in other collections, but never as a set, and I must say that I really enjoyed them. The humour in these tall tales and shaggy dog stories is evident right from the word go, many of them are build-ups to a single pun delivered in the last line (and as someone who loves puns, I heartily approve) and even where it's not, there's always a good end to the story. The conceit is that Clarke himself is recording these stories, told by Harry Purvis, at a pub in London that was a mix of writers, editors and scientists (primarily physicists and engineers). Amongst the humour, there's place for some genuinely touching stories, with 'The Man Who Ploughed the Sea' being a great story of a rich man who's running out of time, and all he wants is a yacht. 'The Reluctant Orchid' is genuinely creepy right up until the point it switches and baits and becomes hilarious, while 'The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch' is just good old fashioned farce. Much like Spider Robinson's 'Callahan's', the 'White Hart' never existed, but if it did, it's a place I'd love to stop for a drink some time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary JL

    Arthur Clarke has published several collections of short stories. This particular book was originally published in 1957---so contains some of his earlier works. All of the stories are well written; Clarke has a clear prose style and some good ideas. However, this was his early work and none of the story is really memorable. This is the type of book where most Sf readers will read it, enjoy it, and not remember the stories two months later. However, if you have read Clarke's later works, it is inte Arthur Clarke has published several collections of short stories. This particular book was originally published in 1957---so contains some of his earlier works. All of the stories are well written; Clarke has a clear prose style and some good ideas. However, this was his early work and none of the story is really memorable. This is the type of book where most Sf readers will read it, enjoy it, and not remember the stories two months later. However, if you have read Clarke's later works, it is interesting to see how his style of writing has developed from thes stories in the 1950's to his later, better known tales. Enjoyable, classic SF tales from an acknowledged leader in the field. Recommend for SF fans, especially if you like classic SF; fans of Arthru C. Clarke; fans of short stories.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    I read this when really young up at paternal grandmother Lajla's cottage on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan--on the great wicker couch in the living room, to be exact. It was a cool night outside. Clarke's device, setting up his stories in the context of tale tales told in a pub, the whole grownup Englishness of it, enchanted me thoroughly, made me think consciously that "now, this is a good book!" To that point, I hadn't often thought such things about what I read, but the style of it stru I read this when really young up at paternal grandmother Lajla's cottage on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan--on the great wicker couch in the living room, to be exact. It was a cool night outside. Clarke's device, setting up his stories in the context of tale tales told in a pub, the whole grownup Englishness of it, enchanted me thoroughly, made me think consciously that "now, this is a good book!" To that point, I hadn't often thought such things about what I read, but the style of it struck me powerfully at the time. So, in respect of a childhood impression, I'll give it a lot of credit. Now, almost certainly, I would not be so impressed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carol Tensen

    Oh - Em - Gee!! I finally finished this!!! Tales From the White Hart is an occasionally enjoyable, uneven collection of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, all told by Harry Purvis, one of the White Hart's regular customers. Some of the stories are quite clever, but they all tend to follow the same story arc: Someone broaches a topic; Harry puts in his own two cents; Then Harry commandeers the conversation by spinning a yarn that has some semblance of a science basis and is semi-probable; the scie Oh - Em - Gee!! I finally finished this!!! Tales From the White Hart is an occasionally enjoyable, uneven collection of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, all told by Harry Purvis, one of the White Hart's regular customers. Some of the stories are quite clever, but they all tend to follow the same story arc: Someone broaches a topic; Harry puts in his own two cents; Then Harry commandeers the conversation by spinning a yarn that has some semblance of a science basis and is semi-probable; the science backfires, hence the story's resolution. Drew, the owner pours drinks to distract skeptics and move the story along. I could have given individual stories much higher ratings {"The Next Tenants", "Cold War"), but I felt like I was slogging through much of it. "Silence Please" was very reminiscent of "The Coffin Cure" by Alan Nourse. "The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch" was really funny, in spite of being misogynistic (had to remind myself of who had written and in what year). I did appreciate that Clarke used the name John Wyndham, the author of Day of the Triffids, for one of the pub's regulars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Fun book of stories about scientific inventions and their unintended consequences, all told by Harry Purvis to his friends at London's White Hart pub. The inventions are usually strange, and the consequences are always unexpected and funny. The book presents a really interesting contrast between the world of 60 years ago and today; in a way these are "mad scientist" stories, in that the inventors/scientists are usually working by themselves or with very small groups, very much unlike the way mos Fun book of stories about scientific inventions and their unintended consequences, all told by Harry Purvis to his friends at London's White Hart pub. The inventions are usually strange, and the consequences are always unexpected and funny. The book presents a really interesting contrast between the world of 60 years ago and today; in a way these are "mad scientist" stories, in that the inventors/scientists are usually working by themselves or with very small groups, very much unlike the way most science is practiced today. A fun exercise might be to write some stories like this about software development. Entertaining.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    Despite that most every story features a scientist dying or being incapacitated, there's still a lighthearted feel about this book of short stories. It's probably that these are being related in a bar by outside observers. Despite that most every story features a scientist dying or being incapacitated, there's still a lighthearted feel about this book of short stories. It's probably that these are being related in a bar by outside observers.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dev Null

    Shaggy dog stories, told in a pub. Most end with a raised eyebrow and a pun, or one-line "moral", or warning that the science revealed in the story is _just about_ to change the world. They're amusing enough. But wow! I mean most of these stories were written in the mid-50s, which I know was a totally different world. But even so, if everyone in the 50s was as sexist as this, I can't help but think that the current generation wouldn't exist. I mean the casual contempt for the abilities of women, Shaggy dog stories, told in a pub. Most end with a raised eyebrow and a pun, or one-line "moral", or warning that the science revealed in the story is _just about_ to change the world. They're amusing enough. But wow! I mean most of these stories were written in the mid-50s, which I know was a totally different world. But even so, if everyone in the 50s was as sexist as this, I can't help but think that the current generation wouldn't exist. I mean the casual contempt for the abilities of women, and the depiction of them as primarily decorative with an occasional dash of conniving - as they show up in most of these stories, if they show up at all - is more-or-less what I expect from the 50s. But the final story in the book, where the main character of the story-within-the-story casually murders his wife for talking too much and outwitting him about it, and the whole room (full of men) listening just kind of go *wink wink* *nudge nudge* *chuckle* and go back to their beers. And then the teller of the story gets dragged off by his harpy of a wife never to be seen again, and Clarke - writing in his own voice, as he only rarely does in these stories - finishes the book with the line: "If you have to defenestrate Ermintrude to regain your freedom, do it on a Wednesday evening between six and eleven, and there'll be forty people in the "Sphere" who will provide you with an alibi." So the one-line "moral" of Clarkes own shaggy dog story is that, if you have to murder your wife to get out for a beer with the boys, go ahead; every one of them will conspire to help you get away with it. Really? This is the sort of thing that people read in the 50's and chuckled at? Truly, the past was a third-world country.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Checkman

    Classic Arthur C. Clarke. I read this book thirty-five years ago and have very fond memories. I'm pleased to say that it's held up well over the years and is still a fun read. Classic Arthur C. Clarke. I read this book thirty-five years ago and have very fond memories. I'm pleased to say that it's held up well over the years and is still a fun read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    This is another one from the boxes of books in my loft - I only vaguely remembered it, and indeed the story I thought I most remembered it for wasn’t even in it, so I’ll need to keep looking for that one. Anyway, Arthur C. Clarke always gives good short story, though honestly these are fairly slight. The premise, rather reminiscent of an SF version of P. G. Wodehouse’s golf stories, is of a group of scientists, science fiction writers and “interested laymen” (no women, of course) who gather in th This is another one from the boxes of books in my loft - I only vaguely remembered it, and indeed the story I thought I most remembered it for wasn’t even in it, so I’ll need to keep looking for that one. Anyway, Arthur C. Clarke always gives good short story, though honestly these are fairly slight. The premise, rather reminiscent of an SF version of P. G. Wodehouse’s golf stories, is of a group of scientists, science fiction writers and “interested laymen” (no women, of course) who gather in the White Hart pub on a Wednesday evening to listen to tall tales mainly recounted by one Harry Purvis. The main theme is of scientific inventions gone wrong - not an alien or strange planet in sight - and nobody’s quite sure how true Harry’s stories really are. It’s fun that the White Hart’s regulars - and Harry’s listeners - include some of Clarke’s real-life writer contemporaries -the most famous being John Wyndham, though there are others. A certain Charles Willis - a pen name sometimes used by Clarke himself - also pops up from time to time. However, it’s all marred by a frequent casual sexism which seems excessive even by the standards of the time (first published in 1969 - though some stories date from earlier). Women appear only occasionally and are pretty much limited to highly stereotypical wives, girlfriends or battleaxe aunts. This reaches its pinnacle, or rather nadir, in the final story, The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch, in which a man is described as murdering his wife for being annoying and none of the listeners seem particularly bothered. Indeed, the White Hart denizens suggest that if the storyteller wishes to do something similar to his own wife they will all give him an alibi. This is all played for humour, but it’s really not that funny. Overall, mildly enjoyable, at times distasteful and certainly not Clarke’s best work.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joe Santoro

    I'm a big fan of Arthur Clarke... he does great Hard sci-fi... this is not what Clarke does generally. Tales from the White Hart is a collection of short stories told at the White Hart Tavern, a pretend bar that the sci fi writers, scientists, and their buds hang out in to pass the time on Wednesday nights. Like Asimov's Black Widower Mysteries, I'm sure the people therein are fictionalized versions of Clarke's writer friends... (wikipedia also says so, though I didn't look at the sources, since I'm a big fan of Arthur Clarke... he does great Hard sci-fi... this is not what Clarke does generally. Tales from the White Hart is a collection of short stories told at the White Hart Tavern, a pretend bar that the sci fi writers, scientists, and their buds hang out in to pass the time on Wednesday nights. Like Asimov's Black Widower Mysteries, I'm sure the people therein are fictionalized versions of Clarke's writer friends... (wikipedia also says so, though I didn't look at the sources, since none of the people are writers I am familiar with). The stated purpose of the books is to be funny, but Clarke, being both British and scientifically minded, has a very dry sense of humor... the humor totally evaporates at times. There are definitely some good ones, though. The last one is especially hilarious, as it also serves as a finale for the fictional story teller. Fun for a change of pace for sure, but not your usual Clarke fare.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I read this collection of short stories when I was still quite young (too young to understand some parts of some of them, I now realize). So, when a copy fell into my hands recently, I decided to re-read them and see how much I remembered. The answer: almost nothing. I did remember the basic premise – that an obscure pub, somewhere in London, is the watering hole of a group of scientists, researchers, and science fiction writers who jealously guard against intrusion by the public. Among this cro I read this collection of short stories when I was still quite young (too young to understand some parts of some of them, I now realize). So, when a copy fell into my hands recently, I decided to re-read them and see how much I remembered. The answer: almost nothing. I did remember the basic premise – that an obscure pub, somewhere in London, is the watering hole of a group of scientists, researchers, and science fiction writers who jealously guard against intrusion by the public. Among this crowd is one Harry Purvis, a spinner of tall tales of scientific nature who keeps them entertained up to closing time. The stories in the book are supposedly those of Purvis. The only other bit I recalled at all was the premise to “Cold War,” a story in which a film crew from Hollywood hires a submarine to move an iceberg to Florida, hoping to dethrone the rival state’s claim to be “the Sunshine State.” And I had a vague memory of having read “Armaments Race,” in which a special effects artist working for a “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger”-style TV program was forced to constantly upgrade and improve the rayguns used by first the good guys, then the bad guys on the show sequentially, until one finally did come up with a model that worked all too well. As these two titles suggest, Clarke is bringing the current paranoia of the Cold War into his narrative, but using it tongue-in-cheek. There’s a total of fifteen stories, and I’m not going to take the time here to give a summary of each, but the ones that stood out to me this time include the ones listed above, as well as “Patent Pending, definitely one of the ones I didn’t “get” at the time I read it. It is a tale of a man who invents a system for recording and playing back sensory experiences, and it gets (by 1950s standards) rather ribald and over the head of my pre-pubescent self. Another Cold War entry is “The Pacifist” about a computer designed to take control of military operations that is programmed by its creator to insult a high-ranking general whenever asked to solve a strategic problem. The stories often end with a situation in which the inventor of the more or less improbable devices is killed or otherwise silenced, so that only Harry Purvis somehow knows about his discovery. In all, I’d rate this as good light entertainment, which holds up despite some dated references, but doesn’t go much beyond a pleasant evening’s read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Phil Giunta

    Harry Purvis is a master storyteller who regales his fellow patrons every Wednesday evening at the White Hart pub with fantastical yarns of eccentric characters and outrageous scientific catastrophes. While Tales from the White Hart is considered one of Clarke's most popular anthologies, I found a handful of the stories—such as "Big Game Hunt", "Critical Mass", "Cold War", and a few others—to be either prosaic, mundane, or anticlimactic. However, there are a number of humorous and rousing romps, Harry Purvis is a master storyteller who regales his fellow patrons every Wednesday evening at the White Hart pub with fantastical yarns of eccentric characters and outrageous scientific catastrophes. While Tales from the White Hart is considered one of Clarke's most popular anthologies, I found a handful of the stories—such as "Big Game Hunt", "Critical Mass", "Cold War", and a few others—to be either prosaic, mundane, or anticlimactic. However, there are a number of humorous and rousing romps, including: "Patent Pending" - After a professor invents a device that records brain waves corresponding to human sensations, his assistant envisions a far more profitable, and sensual, use for the device... "Armaments Race" - While working on a low-budget SF series for Hollywood, a special effects expert is tasked producing ever more impressive ray guns... until he creates one that actually works—with devastating results. "The Pacifist" - The military presses a mathematician to construct a computer capable of flawless combat strategy. When the project begins falling behind schedule, the scientist is bullied by a clueless general. In response, a hidden circuit is built into the computer—one that turns out to be hilariously insubordinate. "The Man Who Ploughed the Sea" - Harry Purvis travels to Florida with a lawyer friend to explore the coastal waters in a small submarine. During their expedition, they encounter a large yacht owned by an elderly chemist who invented a method for collecting elements and precious metals directly from saltwater. "Moving Spirit" - When an eccentric, reclusive scientist's still explodes, he finds himself arrested for manufacturing illegal alcohol and requests help from his nephew, Harry Purvis, attorney-at-law. With the odds stacked against them, Harry literally concocts an incendiary defense for his uncle. "The Reluctant Orchid" - A meek, timid clerk with an affinity for orchids is routinely intimidated by his imperious Aunt Henrietta. After planting a rare, carnivorous species of orchid in his greenhouse, he soon devises a plot to get rid of her... "What Goes Up" - In the deserts of Australia, a team of scientists are confounded while testing a new design of nuclear reactor. Rather than an explosion, the reactor forms an anti-gravity bubble several hundred feet in diameter. Entering the bubble, however, could prove as dangerous as falling off a mountain...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This is a series of tall tales, one of them horizontally tall, told by a group of habitues of a London pub. These are often very humorous, like the defense created against the charge of illegal distilling, but some are disturbing, like The Reluctant Orchid. I wonder which came first, this or the Little Shop of Horrors. These stories were written in the nineteen fifties and you recognize the period in the references to radio "valves" (N.Amer. tubes)although computers of the giant size do appear. This is a series of tall tales, one of them horizontally tall, told by a group of habitues of a London pub. These are often very humorous, like the defense created against the charge of illegal distilling, but some are disturbing, like The Reluctant Orchid. I wonder which came first, this or the Little Shop of Horrors. These stories were written in the nineteen fifties and you recognize the period in the references to radio "valves" (N.Amer. tubes)although computers of the giant size do appear. I'm not sure which is my favourite, although The Pacifist with its complex Tic-tac-toe and Harry's story of Project Clausewitz is pretty well up there. Clausewitz is a computer designed to solve military logistics problems, according to Harry, who didn't attempt the electronic game. The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch is probably my least favourite, although electrically counting the number of words spoken by husband and wife certainly is one way to solve the "more talkative" question, but it's the ending I really don't care for. This is a book I could read over and over again. The lack of science knowledge, both pseudo and real, is no bar to enjoying these.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Step into the White Hart for a pint and a smoke. Relax in a worn leather chair as your fellow gentlemen relax by the fire. Stretch out a bit as you hear Harry Purvis spin another of his fantastical tales . . . This book is a collection of short stories looses structured into yards told by a scientist at a local English pup. I sort of stumbled onto this book. I have read a lot of Clarke's works over the years and picked up a very battered copy at a used book sale. There was something about the se Step into the White Hart for a pint and a smoke. Relax in a worn leather chair as your fellow gentlemen relax by the fire. Stretch out a bit as you hear Harry Purvis spin another of his fantastical tales . . . This book is a collection of short stories looses structured into yards told by a scientist at a local English pup. I sort of stumbled onto this book. I have read a lot of Clarke's works over the years and picked up a very battered copy at a used book sale. There was something about the setting that I really enjoyed. Each of the short stories in turn are quite good in their own right, but the mental image of a smokey collection of Brits in a tavern just gave it added flavor. Many of the stories have an almost supernatural flavor, but as per Clarke nature have scientific explanations.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Keith Azariah-Kribbs

    A few of these stories are Arthur Clarke doing P.G. Wodehouse in science fiction. He's no P.G. Wodehouse, but you have to give him credit for trying. And the rest are just plain great science fiction short stories written by a man who thinks that technology is wonderful and there isn't any mystery out there than isn't worth trying to crack open. If you can remember the days in the 60's when space really was a final frontier, you will love this collection. The sheer joy of discovery and explorati A few of these stories are Arthur Clarke doing P.G. Wodehouse in science fiction. He's no P.G. Wodehouse, but you have to give him credit for trying. And the rest are just plain great science fiction short stories written by a man who thinks that technology is wonderful and there isn't any mystery out there than isn't worth trying to crack open. If you can remember the days in the 60's when space really was a final frontier, you will love this collection. The sheer joy of discovery and exploration is Clarke's great contribution to the genre, and it's on display here. Set your fashionable cynicism aside and take a look.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Benn Allen

    "Tales From the 'White Hart'" is a charming collection of science fiction short stories written by one of SF's most important writers, Arthur C. Clarke. The stories are basically comedic tall tales lacking the hard scientific foundation usually found in Clarke's writings, but are still worth taking in. The book does suffer from being a bit repetitious as they almost all told (one way or another) by one character, Harry Purvis. (Only one story, "Big Game Hunt" is told by somebody else.) Despite t "Tales From the 'White Hart'" is a charming collection of science fiction short stories written by one of SF's most important writers, Arthur C. Clarke. The stories are basically comedic tall tales lacking the hard scientific foundation usually found in Clarke's writings, but are still worth taking in. The book does suffer from being a bit repetitious as they almost all told (one way or another) by one character, Harry Purvis. (Only one story, "Big Game Hunt" is told by somebody else.) Despite that, "'White Hart'" is an amusing diversion from one of the Masters of the genre.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ixris

    I -adore- Clarke's writing on the whole. This, he admits in a forward, was the answer to someone saying that SciFi cannot be funny. While the stories were charming, whimsical, even light, I wouldn't call them funny. They were like receiving carnival-grade candy floss when I'm used to the most elaborate 9-course desserts from the same baker. Charming, but not really adding anything to the field. I -adore- Clarke's writing on the whole. This, he admits in a forward, was the answer to someone saying that SciFi cannot be funny. While the stories were charming, whimsical, even light, I wouldn't call them funny. They were like receiving carnival-grade candy floss when I'm used to the most elaborate 9-course desserts from the same baker. Charming, but not really adding anything to the field.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eric Magee

    CLASSIC Read this book maybe 45 years ago and never forgot it. BN was sorely lacking certain books and authors so bought a Kindle and TFTWH was one of my first purchases. Even better than I remembered. Truly a classic collection of stories played out in a sub-plot. Arthur C. Clark at his finest. Highly recommended for both sci-fi and non-sci-fi readers.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    Arthur’s best, in my opinion! Clever humour glosses over incredulous story points. Seen through the eyes of Harry Purvis, these tales are full of the fanciful and the fantastic. But as they are bar tales, who needs to judge? Just sit back with a good drink in a good chair, and tuck in!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This set of tall tales spun mainly by one Harry Purvis in a cozy English pub are entertaining enough, but nothing special. One of the stories near the end is annoyingly sexist.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eggp

    Such a broad talker a tale for every topic expert on experts.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Suden

    My first actual book for 2021! (But I have a good excuse. Which makes it all the more poignant, that I had as much fun with this as I did -- because I didn't take much time, nor had much headspace or energy for it.) As usual, here come the full, non-truncated, and slightly improved versions of my intermediate reading notes; followed by my overall conclusions and verdict. March 12, 2021 – page 20. First story read (silence). Interesting how Clarke deals with the then-proposed, still novel theoretic My first actual book for 2021! (But I have a good excuse. Which makes it all the more poignant, that I had as much fun with this as I did -- because I didn't take much time, nor had much headspace or energy for it.) As usual, here come the full, non-truncated, and slightly improved versions of my intermediate reading notes; followed by my overall conclusions and verdict. March 12, 2021 – page 20. First story read (silence). Interesting how Clarke deals with the then-proposed, still novel theoretical concept of what is now ubiquitously known as ANC (active noise cancelling). Funny to read his explanations of the basic idea and physics; and hilarious to see this be extrapolated, then, to a ludicrous conclusion. I can only hope that that was the joke in the story -- the bogus climax. If that part was serious, however, it'd be a wonder that we have ANC headphones already. Reflecting on it, yes, I think the conclusion was supposed to be the joke, because it is so improbable. But that didn't register with me while reading. Ultimately, I didn't find any part of the story itself very humourous; but I understand how, 60 yrs ago, it could be seen as such. March 23, 2021 – page 43. Second story read (big sea hunt). I love me some ACC, but this isn't it. Interesting that Moby Dick pops up here. I dread reading that brick of a tome -- but since it also features in my favourite Trek film, spawned a Mastodon concept album, my resistance is rendered more futile by the year. Given that's the most interesting thing I can say about this vignette (no, this one wasn't funny either), it's apparent that this anthology is not on par with Songs of distant Earth, let alone an Odyssey. The third tale reminded me a lot of a certain sub-plot in the film Brainstorm. As opposed to the film (which is a rather serious take on the repercussions of the same invention), the story was half funny at times. This anthology is just too old, & translated too archaically, to achieve its actual goal. But these short and light pieces are what I could use at this time; so, I'm not complaining. March 24, 2021 – page 53. Story #4 was... okay, but less funny than the previous one. A colourful anecdote about an engineering mishap on a film set. I must credit the sories with diverse backgrounds, though-- and, while unintended, an interesting look into the past. (The film character of Captain Zoom in the story reminded me of the Captain Proton and Flash Gordon stories. The descriptions of the -- possibly fictional -- film production for the Cap Zoom slightly widened my perspective -- or rather, my imagination -- on those other series.) March 26, 2021 – page 85. Story #5 about "B-radiation": okay. Tale #6 about music: mildly surprising, even. #7 about a large 50ies-style computer that refuses to serve a certain general had its moments. Still surprisingly good diversity, if not overly funny. All stories hold interesting associations for me, due to my interests and background. And even if not brilliant -- it does feel good to be periodically reading again, after months of cards. March 31, 2021 – page 115. Story #8 (termite terminal on The Pacific theatre -- nice setting, memories of Africa): not funny but nice and slightly thought-provoking. #9 was super unfunny, but had whisky and reminded me of Scotland (setting again), so that was fine. Story #10 (US) not finished, but on page 115 a submarine(!) enters play: automatic SudenKäpälän Seal Of Approval and 5* upgrade for story (possibly for whole anthology). April 7, 2021 – page 154. Ultimately, story #10, with its private, small, leisure yaght-like submarine, wasn't too interesting. (It was about corporations sifting the ocean for aquatic minerals.) Story #11 was about a flesh-eating orchid (okay but forgettable; but original subject matter within this anthology) However! Tale #12 is titled, "Cold War"; it boasts an iceberg, a missile, and is a full-blown (semi-)submerged adventure! Those are a lot of entertaining elements... even aside from the navy-commissioned electric/diesel diving boat! 5* it is. April 9, 2021 – page 170. Next story (#13) was about an experimental nuclear reactor, situated Down Under, that malfunctioned in a very peculiar way. Almost funny, certainly interesting." April 12, 2021 – page 183. Item #14, about a snoring sleeper, was lightly funny and not really interesting. Also, due to "guinea pigs" being translated as "pigs from guinea", the already horrible translation has lost all my remaining respect (which wasn't much to begin with). Story #15 started out as a horrible, almost misogenic tale that I was going to full-on bad-mouth. (With a slightly mitigating circumstance, being the age in which the thing was written. Scientists and sci-fi writers "didn't know any better, then".) However, there was a twist I should've seen coming from the get-go, and that made it quite a bit better, and slightly more understandable. For the last story, as a final bookend to this anthology, is was well suited. Final conclusions... Quality of the translation: well-readable; but extremely poor, linguistically (2*) -- but I don't take that into account in my score. Just sayin'. Quality of the stories: average to good (3*). Entertainment value: not as intended (i.e., not funny), but rather on the high side still; might border on 4*. Time travel-ish antics, originally done (in Australian accident, #13) but not deeply explored: 3-4*. Appearance of two submarines: 5*. Final assessment: 4*. I was wondering whether Clarke could still hold my interest. I guess he does!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    I loved this book so much that I wrote a story based on the premise called "Zimmy's". The premise? Ever been in a fog so thick that you couldn't see across the street? Or even a few feet in front of you? How can you be sure that, in such a fog, you don't cross dimensional lines? How can you be sure that, when you go out in to that thick fog and lose site of all that is familiar, you return to the same dimension you were in? That was just one of the many short-stories in this book that intrigued m I loved this book so much that I wrote a story based on the premise called "Zimmy's". The premise? Ever been in a fog so thick that you couldn't see across the street? Or even a few feet in front of you? How can you be sure that, in such a fog, you don't cross dimensional lines? How can you be sure that, when you go out in to that thick fog and lose site of all that is familiar, you return to the same dimension you were in? That was just one of the many short-stories in this book that intrigued me. Clarke (he wrote "2001; a space odessey" and "2010" among many many other books) is one of my literary heroes and an extremely generous and giving person. You'd like this book.

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