The World Mourns the Loss of Arthur C. Clarke
March 18, 2008 6:11 PM
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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.
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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First Gary Gygax, now him!
3/19/2008 3:30:14 PM
Year 2008 is turning out to be a horrible year for science fiction! :*(
RE: First Gary Gygax, now him!
3/19/2008 3:50:46 PM
If it makes anyone feel at all better.. at least 'Caprica' got the green light for production of a pilot episode.
Yes, not comparable to the loss of him, but take the good news where you can get it. There's very little sci-fi left on TV at all today.
RE: First Gary Gygax, now him!
3/20/2008 10:42:59 AM
Is that the BSG spinoff? I'm not sure I would consider it SF any more. I was tremendously impressed by the pilot, but it seems to have slowly devolved into a soap opera set in space. There's the occasional weirdish-fantasy/paranormal element in the script, but very little in the way of actual science.
"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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