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I have been reading a lot of Arthur C. Clarke short stories recently. I read one called "Nemesis" in "The collected short stories of Arthur C. Clarke" which says that it was also published as "Exile of the eons"

The plot is roughly this:

At the end of a war (and loosing) 'the master' locks himself in a chamber to sleep for 100 years. There is a malfunction and he sleeps through eons. Another character is also sentenced to be exiled in time. The second character finds the master, wakes him, realises who he is and murders him.

I distinctly remember a very similar story with some of the same aspects, specifically:

the character 'the master', a malfunctioning time chamber in the Himalayas, Nitrogen gas being used, the passage of time with the Himalayas eroding.

However I also remember a distinctly different ending

The master is awakened by sentient Insects and promptly dies of a heart attack.

Doing a bit of googling there is a story "The Awakening" which has some of these aspects. Specifically

Malfunctioning time chamber and insect overloads.

but there is a difference

The time chamber is in a spaceship.

Does anyone know where the version I remember comes from? It seems like a hybrid of the two stories.

2 Answers 2

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As explained in this Wikipedia article, there are two versions of the Clarke short story "The Awakening". In the earlier one, first published in the fanzine Zenith in 1942 and reprinted in The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke, the Master puts himself into suspended animation in the Himalayas. In the second, reprinted in Reach for Tomorrow (1956), a character named Marlan puts himself into suspended animation on a spaceship. In both versions the protagonist dies when he realizes that he has been woken by sentient insects. Your memory matches the earlier version.

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  • Thanks, that explains the difference with the awakening. it still seems strange that a passage from "exile of the eons" was copied. May 1, 2013 at 9:35
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    Clarke must have decided to rework the material in "The Awakening" into another story, as some passages of "Exile of the Eons" are identical or almost identical to passages in the first version of "The Awakening". May 1, 2013 at 21:39
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Nemesis (aka Exile of the Aeons) was in Expedition to Earth. "The Master" , pretty clearly modelled on Hitler, escapes from the bunker in a time machine

A few millennia later a philosopher named Trevindor, probably modelled on Socrates, is exiled in like manner. He comes out, by some remarkable coincidence, at exactly the same time and place as The Master. At first he goes to help the "refugee" but on reading his mid and realisinf wat he is, kills him instead, despite himself coming from a society which views te death penalty as a relic of the Dark Ages.

The Awakening (in Reach for Tomorrow) is the one that contains "Marlan". He lives in a Utopia and is bored stiff by his life, so sets off in a time machine. At the end, as he lies dying, the creatures of the future world approach him, and he sees that

"the ancient war between Man and insect had long ago been ended, and that Man was not the victor."

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  • "escapes from the bunker in a time machine". This is wrong. The Master "escapes" via hibernation and intends to sleep only ~100y. Trevindor, however, is time-machined into the far future due to a court decision. Both meet on endtime Earth. Apr 6, 2020 at 13:25

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