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The City and the Stars is a complete rewrite of an earlier novella, Against the Fall of Night (1948).
He was the first new
person to be born in the city for at least ten million years. But when
Alvin walked almost fully-grown from the Hall of Creation twenty years
ago, he didn't know that he was different from Diaspar's other
citizens - that, unlike them, he would never recall memories from
countless past lives or be content to stay forever in this tiny, closed
world. His insatiable curiosity threatened to doom him to a life of
frustration, because he always wanted to go outside.
But to cross into the limitless open space beyond the city walls was unthinkable; there was nothing there, he'd been told, nothing but endless desert. Diaspar had been designed to instantly fulfill every human need and desire, and that should have been enough for anyone. Yet, though it was full of wonder, it was empty of surprise. Since its construction over a billion years ago, Earth's oceans had passed away and the great mountains and civilizations crumbled to dust, yet the city remained changeless in all but subtle ways. It mattered little that Man had once possessed the stars and might still be out there building empires. No one cared... no one but Alvin.
And do he set out to find the answers to his questions. What existed outside the city? Why were men so afraid to explore? Through the ages, there had existed a rare few like Alvin - where had they vanished? And for what purpose was he created? But with every answer, new mysteries emerged, as Alvin's quest took him across the desert to a land far different from the one he knew... and, ultimately, to the stars themselves.