Cradle (1988)

Two storylines, one about an advanced alien civilization that sends probes to planets to collect life samples and seed modified samples, and another about humans in the present finding something hidden at the bottom of the sea (guess what it is).

Clarke’s style is informal, his stories are about grand things, events that happens on time scales fare beyond a human lifetime and concern the future of galactic civilizations. He thinks big. Lee doesn’t. He writes about smaller things, people and their lives, depicting their personal histories, their inner thoughtscapes. At times it feels a bit like soap opera, even if his style isn’t really melodramatic. Sadly his writing is pure tedium. It should be gripping, but it isn’t, and the simple plot doesn’t help much to make it more interesting.

What’s worse, the styles of the two writers work against each other, if you like the slow parts by Lee, the short but extremely dense infodumps by Clarke take away any mystery about the plot. If you like Clarke’s part, then the seemingly never-ending accounts of the lives of the main characters and the extremely slow plot development of Lee’s parts will make Cradle a torture.