Arthur C. Clarke has died

Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke has died in Sri-Lanka, at age 90.  Now I’m by no means a big reader, I’d love to be, but I really never have the time.  Still, from where I’m typing this I can count 25 books authored by Mr. Clarke on my bookshelf.  His stories are an amazing blend of science fiction with facts or actual theory behind it.  I was always a big fan of, 2001: A Space Odyssey, a flick my Mom first took me to when I was 8.  The eerie (and accurate since there there is no atmosphere in space for it to travel through) lack of sound gave the movie its own unique character.  Seeing the huge ship move through space without the usual roar of the engines sets it apart from the other films bogus atmosphere, and this sense of detail was pervasive throughout his writting.  If pressed to pick a favorite, it would have to be Childhood’s End (with Randevous with Rama a close second).  Each deal with the idea that while we’re the dominate force on this planet now, we weren’t in the past, and ultimately we won’t be in the future.  We can only hope for more people as forward thinking.  The New York Times has a fantastic writeup on his life, and accomplishments.  “_…The author of almost 100 books, Mr. Clarke was an ardent _Childhood’s End_promoter of __the idea that humanity’s destiny lay beyond the confines of Earth. It was a vision served most vividly by “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the classic 1968 science-fiction film he created with the director Stanley Kubrick and the novel of the same title that he wrote as part of the project. His work was also prophetic: his detailed forecast of telecommunications satellites in 1945 came more than a decade before the first orbital rocket flight. Other early advocates of a space program argued that it would pay for itself by jump-starting new technology. Mr. Clarke set his sights higher. Borrowing a phrase from William James, he suggested that exploring the solar system could serve as the “moral equivalent of war,” giving an outlet to energies that might otherwise lead to nuclear holocaust. […] Mr. Clarke was well aware of the importance of his role as science spokesman to the general population: “Most technological achievements were preceded by people writing and imagining them,” he noted. “I’m sure we would not have had men on the Moon,” he added, if it had not been for H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. “I’m rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books._”  So while 2001 (the movie and the book) was based on an earlier short story called The Sentinel, time will tell if Mr. Clarke served as a sentinel for us all as our species eventually finds it’s place in the universe.

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