The World Mourns the Loss of Arthur C. Clarke
March 18, 2008 6:11 PM
comment(s) - last by
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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RE: A great loos for humanity
3/20/2008 6:50:37 PM
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
3/20/2008 7:46:47 PM
Yes, they certainly called it the 'Golden Age' of SF for good reason.
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