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The major premise of Cradle, like that of many of Clarke's stories, is contact between a few humans from the Miami area in 1994 and the super robots of a damaged space ship submerged off the Florida coast. Telecommunication advances such as videotelephones and highly efficient underwater scanning equipment used in the story bridge from the everyday, real-life aspects of the setting toward the near future, bespeaking technological progress. Presenting a woman and an African-American man in the cluster of main characters signals some sensitivity to issues of racial and gender equality. (Co-authored by Gentry Lee)
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