The sea creatures are segregated by a land ridge. The females live on one side, the males on the other. During mating season, the males jump the ridge. There is a land species that for some reason wants to prevent this. They build a wall to act as a barrier over the ridge. The creatures are unable to jump it.

The prologue ends with a space ship taking specimens of the soon-to-become-extinct sea creatures. Possibly as some kind of ark operation? I was only able to browse the prologue of this novel and am desperate to know its title.

1 Answer 1


Cradle, by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee, 1988

The waters of the emerald oceans begin to surge forward in tidal frenzy, now rapidly moving up the rocky cliffs on the western side and quickly submerging great chunks of land on the sloping side that runs to the eastern ocean. The concerted pull of all the moons produces a tide that will eventually cover the isthmus completely, uniting the two oceans. As the waters draw ever closer together, the music from the thousand singing serpents swells to magnificence... It is also a plaintive sound of longing and anticipation, the universal cry of long-suppressed desire on the verge of being satisfied.

  • Excellent! Thank you for that, now I get why I couldn't find it before. Its a co-author job with Gentry Lee :)
    – Peter
    Sep 7, 2012 at 3:55
  • As far as I can tell, the only part of this book Clarke wrote is that prologue. Be prepared for disappointment. Jun 13, 2019 at 5:17

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