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  • Farewell to the Master

  • By: Harry Bates
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 1 hr and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Were the alien and his robot here to help or hinder humankind? Find out the surprising answer in the original story that inspired the classic 1951 science-fiction movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.

This is a must-read for any science-fiction lover, for, as the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says, "the film lost the story's ironic ending." Now listeners can discover first-hand what Hollywood left out in this best-known novella of the legendary 1930s idea man, Harry Bates.

Bates's novella, published in 1940 under the title Farewell to the Master, with its poignant, haunting last line, posthumously brought him the coveted Balrog Award (1983). Long-time science-fiction fans rank it and its creator among the greats.

Public Domain (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Farewell to the Master

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Clydene
  • 12-03-2010

Loved This Story

I have always loved the movie original The Day the Earth Stood Still and had wondered what the original story was like, and found Farewell to the Master absolutely delightful.

Sadly there seems to be very few stories from Harry Bates that have survived the test of time. It is wonderful to have this story on audible.com.

The reading by Tom Weiner was perfect for this story. His style on this book reminded me of the 1950s. But I had previously heard him narrate Blackwater, and he sounded a bit different there. Overall a great reading, and he calmly is able to emphasize drama without being too over dramatic.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Admiralu
  • 07-11-2020

The Original Story, Better than the Films

This is the original story that the film The Day the Earth Stood Still was based on. It differs from all the film versions and hopefully one day, it will be made as written. A wonderful story with a much different ending, it would work now more than ever. A must listen and a wonderful story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 28-03-2016

PICTURE MAN

Starts with an introduction about Bates. Since Bates is not that well known today, the introduction was appreciated. Written in 1940 it may be a little slow for the under fifty crowd, but it is a well written story with a great message. The movie was a classic and like most movies is not exactly like the book. Both are good. It was a fun and thought provoking listen.

13 people found this helpful

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  • devilinlaw79
  • 12-09-2021

This is Not the Day the Earth Stood Still

Although based on this short story, if you go into Farewell to the Master expecting The Day the Earth Stood Still, you may be let down. There are considerable differences between each although there is enough to see the skeleton of the film within the story. The main character is a reporter, Klaatu is dead for most story, Bobby and Helen are no where to found, and neither is the famous phrase "Klaatu barada nikto." Instead, this is a quick tale of a reporter looking for a scoop on the giant time-travelling robot called Gnut with a bit of a twist at the end that went against the conventions of the time.

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  • TIG
  • 08-03-2021

Aged well

Many scifi stories age poorly this one is an exception. M m m m m m m m

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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 23-01-2021

The tale that made the Earth stand still

Harry Bates' Farewell to the Master is the short story that became the basis for the classic sci-fi film, The Day the Earth Stood Still. An alien spaceship lands on Earth with a single humanoid, Klaatu, emerging along with a giant robot. While announcing his peaceful intentions, he is fatally shot by a lunatic. The robot remains in place and immobile seemingly impervious to all attempts to analyze him. An enterprising photographer succeeds in sneaking his way in and discovers that the robot does move, at night, as well as the spaceship containing an Earth creature. Eventually, the robot with the photographer attempt to recover the dead alien's voice recording and then the robot tries to revive him. Sensing that the robot is planning to depart the photographer stresses that the robot should relate to his masters that killing Klaatu was an accident; to which the robot replies, "You misunderstand, I am the Master."

Bates weaves a tight, but action packed alien first contact tale with inscrutable alien technology and the difficulty inherent with such communications. The twist at the end is left deliberately vague with several interpretations as well as the potential for future story lines. Perhaps the only unrealistic aspect is that with an alien spaceship around, everyone locks up and goes home at night without any continuous recording going on.

The narration is delightful, without much need for extensive character distinction. Pacing is brisk that makes for a quick listen.

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  • Ulysses Foreman
  • 22-12-2020

What a story

The Day The Earth Stood Still is my ALL TIME favorite sci-fi movie! I always knew it from Harry Bates, Farewell To The Master, and I vaguely remember reading it as teen, but listening to it gave me a new perspective that I thoroughly enjoyed.

An excellent reading of a good story. I recommend it to any die hard sci-fi fan!

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  • Douglas McCabe
  • 24-11-2017

Fascinating finish!

I absolutely love this story! The narrator was excellent and made the story very engaging.

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  • smallz
  • 11-01-2017

Farewell

Fantastic story. The morality was lost in the Hollywood version. Very Meaningful. Great short story.

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  • Frank Donnelly
  • 28-07-2016

Excellent - Story and Narration

I loved this story. It is the basis for the movie "The Day The Earth Stood Still". But there are important differences. I would encourage a reader / listener to read this story and then watch the movie. Thank You...

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  • Nephrite
  • 30-06-2020

A story with an interesting history well told

Farewell To The Master by Harry Bates

Hello again to all of my readers! I hope you are all well and now I shall explain today’s review. I’m sure that many of you have heard of or watched The Day The Earth Stood Still. Be it the classic 1950s version or the – much inferior – 2008 remake. Farewell To The Master by the (sadly lost to history) Harry Bates was the original short story from 1940 which proved the inspiration for the famous film. As such this review is going to be very similar to my review for Frozen Hell by John W. Campbell Jr.

Harry Bates is a figure which although he is not well remembered had quite the impact on the history of science fiction. He acted as the founding editor of Astounding Stories of Super Science which later became better known as simply Astounding Stories and was eventually edited by John W. Campbell Jr. For information on his tenure see my discussion of Frozen Hell. Bates often had his authors focus on exciting action with short bursts of plausible science when relevant. Bates himself did write a number of stories while acting as editor however there is no record of any published stories by Bates under any name after 1952. He eventually died in 1981 mostly forgotten.

Farewell To The Master is a story from 1940 which despite inspiring the 1951 classic is very different from its more well known children. The plot is as follows: A space-time ship suddenly appears in Washington D.C. unexpectedly. A large crowd gathers and waits for signs of any occupants. Eventually an humanoid looking alien leaves the ship known as Klaatu alongside a robotic thing known as Gnut. Klaatu is assassinated and to prove their sincere sorrow over the event a partial museum of the event of first contact and mausoleum for the remains of Klaatu is built. A journalist known as Cliff Sutherland becomes suspicious and believes that Gnut – who supposedly has not moved since the death of Klaatu – is secretly moving at night but I won’t give away any more of the story except to say that the famous ‘Klaatu barada nikto’ was an invention of the 1951 film.

I found Farewell to be an intriguing relisten. Cliff Sutherland proves to be an interesting character with slowly progressing intentions and motivations throughout the course of the short story while Gnut proves to be something of a puzzle. At least at first. Bates’s writing is enjoyable with enough going on to entertain the reader or listener and if you enjoy hearing the original versions of certain now world famous or ubiquitous stories I certainly recommend it.

The narration in the version which I experienced came from a Tom Weiner who I found a very good and enjoyable narrator. His various voices certainly seemed to capture the spirit of the 1940s and 1950s science fiction in which the story was created. In some ways it was similar to the narration done for The Luna Missile Crisis. Weiner also narrates a introductory miniature biography and history of Harry Bates and his involvement with the science fiction genre which also discusses some clear differences with The Day The Earth Stood Still.

On the other hand, despite enjoying Farewell to the Master, I would personally say that the 1951 Day is the superior experience. They tell different stories and have different messages so as a result you can certainly experience both and get a different result but Farewell (and I feel somewhat guilty saying this) simply feels more dated. It’s one of those rare examples where I find it difficult to define what ‘bothers’ me about a story (and in this case Farewell comparatively.)

As a result this is a story which I personally enjoy and has an intriguing ending but I wouldn’t recommend seeking out unless you are a big fan of classic science fiction or you consider The Day The Earth Stood Still as one of your personal favourite films. Otherwise the specific version I listened to is a three out of five story being elevated to four out of five by rather well done narration by Weiner and the mini biography prior to the story itself.

Hopefully you will all hear from me soon.

Sayonara!

Nephrite

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Raymond
  • 14-06-2011

The day the Earth stood still

This is the story that 'The day the Earth stood still' is based on, try this and see what the last film got so wrong!

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