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About 10 years ago, while browsing some Thai second-hand english bookstore, I've stumbled upon an old (70-80's, based on condition) paperback that was described as a collection of letters exchanged between Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.

I don't recall the title, though I am almost sure that the cover was mostly dark/black.

Unfortunately, I was backpacking back then, and as my bag was already bursting at the seams. I've decided to skip it and try to find a copy back home, over the Internet.

I somehow forgot about it and the book came back to my mind few years later. But I was never able to google it out. Nothing, nada.

Anyone knows the book? Or perhaps my memory does some nasty things on me? :)

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  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! Was this a work of fiction using correspondence as a device, or was it an actual record of their communications? Do you recall any physical details of the book, like its cover?
    – DavidW
    Nov 19 '19 at 18:01
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    From Narnia to a Space Odyssey: The War of Letters Between Arthur C. Clarke and C.S. Lewis. But i couldn't find such a thing between ACC and Asimov
    – Shreedhar
    Nov 19 '19 at 18:06
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    Yours, Isaac Asimov: A Lifetime of Letters has a chapter "Clarke, de Camp and the del Reys" which includes a few letters from Arthur C. Clarke, but it's probably not enough of a contribution to match the question.
    – DavidW
    Nov 19 '19 at 18:09
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    Also, this relates to a real-world scenario thus it might as well be off-topic here.
    – Shreedhar
    Nov 19 '19 at 18:09
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    @Shreedhar I think this falls into the category of "Behind-the-scenes and fandom information;" it may also match "historical context of a work." In general questions about authors as it relates to their work is usually on-topic.
    – DavidW
    Nov 19 '19 at 18:12
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This sounded like an interesting book to read, so I did some extensive digging. Both Asimov and Clarke were very visible and popular figures, and their careers and writings have been extensively documented.

I started with the ISFDb pages for Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. These are extensive and apparently quite complete for their genre writings. There is even an entry on Clarke's listing for an untitled note of congratulations to Asimov. But notably there are no listings for any collaborative works. There is also no mention of any collaboration in either's Wikipedia biography (Asimov, Clarke) or bibliography (Asimov, Clarke) nor in their respective entries in the SF Encyclopedia (Asimov, Clarke). Other resources (e.g. Asimov Online, worldcat, Internet Archive) also fail to find anything.

There are 2 books listed for Clarke which are records of correspondence, one with Peter Hyams and one with C.S. Lewis, so if such a book existed it should definitely appear.

I decided to approach it from the other end. A story told as an exchange of letters/messages is called an "epistolary novel." (List entry) There is a TVTropes entry for them, which lists 2 stories by Asimov ("Blind Alley" and "Rejection Slips") but nothing by Clarke and no collaboration.

I searched a couple of online resources (questia, worldcat) for books about both Asimov and Clarke, but again, didn't find anything that seemed relevant.

Ultimately I have only 2 very loose possibilities for matches:

Yours, Isaac Asimov: A Lifetime of Letters (1995) contains a chapter "Clarke, de Camp and the del Reys" which in addition to letters from Asimov includes 3 letters from Clarke, but it isn't a story, and Clarke's letters aren't a significant contribution to the overall work.

Finally, the best I can come up with is Space Mail, Volume II (1982) which is an anthology edited by Asimov (et al.) containing stories which are all told in epistolary form. One of these stories is "Loophole" by Arthur C. Clarke. If nothing else it's in the right time period.

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  • I agree with you. AFAIK no such book exists. Nov 20 '19 at 22:53

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