Smooth Between Sea and Land
Against the Fall of Night is a science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, originally appeared as a novella in the November 1948 issue of the magazine Startling Stories.

It was revised and expanded in 1951 and published in book form in 1953 by Gnome Press, published in 1956 as The City and the Stars, which is a complete rewrite, carrying over the main settings and characters from the earlier novel.

As Clarke explains, the title is inspired by a poem:  I was also to discover the lines of A. E. Housman, that not only described the locale perfectly, but also gave me the title of my first novel.” (third stanza)

Smooth between sea and land
Is laid the yellow sand,
And here through summer days
The seed of Adam plays.

Here the child comes to found
His unremaining mound,
And the grown lad to score
Two names upon the shore.

Here, on the level sand,
Between the sea and land,
What shall I build or write
Against the fall of night?

Tell me of runes to grave
That hold the bursting wave,
Or bastions to design
For longer date than mine.

Shall it be Troy or Rome
I fence against the foam,
Or my own name, to stay
When I depart for aye?

Nothing: too near at hand,
Planing the figured sand,
Effacing clean and fast
Cities not built to last
And charms devised in vain,
Pours the confounding main.