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Clarke continued to take interviews through 2007. On his 90th birthday in December 2007, he bid his friends and family farewall in a recorded video message.  (Source: AP)
The world loses its largest advocate for science and science fiction today

I was extremely disappointed to hear this morning that Arthur C. Clarke passed away today at the age of 90.  How many of us felt something special, or at least incredibly different, the first time we saw 2001: A Space Odessy, or the first time Endeavour opened the hatch of the cylindrical world of Rama? 

It was only so often that a single writer could influence the course of humanity in so many ways. His essays and novels touched on topics that will stay with humanity for generations still.  Clarke is recognized with his own orbit distinction -- Clarke Orbit, 36,000 kilometers above Earth -- for his work on geosynchronous communication satellites.

In his time Clarke penned more than 100 short stories, novels, non-fiction exposes and philosophical essays.

It's unfortunate that Clarke's pinnacle prediction, the space elevator detailed in The Fountains of Paradise, was not a technical possibility by the time of his death.  For my generation, the space elevator will be as much of a certainty as the communications satellite of Clarke's generation. 

Clarke's mastery of the unknown, really an exercise of what he thought was the most logical proposition, kept him writing well into his 80s.  For his work he was knighted in 2000. 

After contracting polio in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, Clarke made it his personal duty to get the local government involved in science and technology.  In 2005 he was honored with the Sri Lankabhimanya, the highest civilian award in the country. 

A relatively obscure quote from Clarke near the end of his days quickly became my favorite after it was appropriately published in 2001:

"I don't pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about..."



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A great loos for humanity
By DontAskMe on 3/19/2008 2:57:06 PM , Rating: 3
The end of an era. The last sci-fi grandmaster has left us. He was such an agile intellect. I hope he is finding out first hand the Nine Billion Names of God




RE: A great loos for humanity
By madoka on 3/19/2008 3:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
Well, Ray Bradbury is still around you know.


RE: A great loos for humanity
By masher2 (blog) on 3/20/2008 5:28:27 AM , Rating: 2
You can't really compare Bradbury to the likes of Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke. He's not even really in the same genre-- Bradbury has never considered himself a SF writer...and I happen to share his opinion.


RE: A great loos for humanity
By wordsworm on 3/20/2008 6:50:37 PM , Rating: 1
I lost interest in sci fi after Asimov died. I didn't even know that Clark was still active. I wonder what will happen with his latest collaboration. Too much sci-fi has become modernized to the point where it's regular pulp fiction, but in space. I think Star Wars had something to do with that - a western in space. It used to be about vision - now it has to do with mundane repetition of everything that sci-fi hadn't been about. Star Trek was good until TNG/Star Trek IV. Now there's nothing except picking up the occasional HG Wells book that I haven't read yet to keep me interested in sci-fi.

In any case, for a long time I've said that there was only one great sci-fi writer left in the world. Now they're all gone.

May he rest in space.


RE: A great loos for humanity
By masher2 (blog) on 3/20/2008 7:46:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, they certainly called it the 'Golden Age' of SF for good reason.


RE: A great loos for humanity
By SilthDraeth on 3/21/2008 2:21:39 AM , Rating: 2
What about Orson Scott Card? CJ Cherryh?


RE: A great loos for humanity
By masher2 (blog) on 3/21/2008 10:38:22 AM , Rating: 2
Cherryh certainly doesn't qualify as hard SF. I've read very little of OSC's works, but the few I have didn't qualify either.

Vernor Vinge has written a few decent hard SF novels, though he's a bit erratic at times. Niven used to write hard SF, but he's devolved into soap operas and military SF lately.


RE: A great loos for humanity
By SilthDraeth on 3/22/2008 11:39:38 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, you were talking about "Hard Sc-Fi". I thought the discussion was just about Sci Fi. Granted I never read any of Arthur's works, but I have read Asimov, and Heinlein. I would say Cherryh and card are in the same class as authors, but perhaps considered a sub genre?


RE: A great loos for humanity
By codeThug on 3/23/2008 9:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
Try Stephen Baxter. Definitely hard scifi with plenty of imagination. I have not been disappointed yet...


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