Arthur C Clarke died on March 18th.
And being a big science fiction fan, I was a big appreciator of his work. And I will miss him.
To me, Arthur C Clarke was the best of the "hard" science fiction writers. The ones that dealt with strongly with science and technology. Strangely enough, even though he was writing about science and technology, his books could take on a rather mystical bent, as Childhood's End obviously showed.
He was one of the few writers, in my opinion, whose work improved as he got older. Some people will complain about him writing a bunch of sequels and remakes, but the sequels and remakes had some interesting new ideas - and the plot, characterizations, mood and just plain storytelling was much better than in the earlier work. His best ideas for stories may have been in the past, but his best STORIES were the later ones!
Below are some excerpts from remembrances written for him. - OlderMusicGeek
The Science Friday Blog
Thank You, Arthur C. Clarke
posted by Ira Flatow on Tuesday, March 18. 2008
Arthur C. Clarke, author of more than 100 books including the one that made him known to many more millions, "2001: A Space Odyssey," has passed from us.
Thank you for your passion and your prose. Thank you for your vision.
Thank you for speaking out on important issues, for not keeping silent.
We all have favorite scenes, chapters or quotes from his novels or movies.
But my favorite remains this one not published in any novel: Years after missions to the moon had ended, Clarke was asked what he thought was the most amazing part of the whole race to the moon.
What's most amazing to me, he said, was that we could go there...and not go back.
Posted by Ira Flatow on Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 3:40 PM | Comment (1)
From BBC News...
British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died in his adopted home of Sri Lanka at the age of 90.
"Sir Arthur has left written instructions that his funeral be strictly secular," his secretary, Nalaka Gunawardene, was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
She said the author had requested "absolutely no religious rites of any kind".
He served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, and foresaw the concept of communication satellites.
When asked why he never patented his idea for communication satellites, he said: "I did not get a patent because I never thought it will happen in my lifetime."
In the 1940s, he maintained man would reach the moon by the year 2000, an idea dismissed at the time.
"I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these, I would like to be remembered as a writer."
Clarke says goodbye to fans in 2007
David Eicher, editor of Astronomy magazine, told CNN that Clarke's writings were influential in shaping public interest in space exploration during the 1950s and '60s. Watch how Clarke stands among sci-fi giants »
"He was very interested in technology and also in humanity's history and what lay out in the cosmos," Eicher said. His works combined those "big-picture" themes with "compelling stories that were more interesting and more complex than other science fiction writers were doing," he said.
More from Jeff VanderMeer's Arthur C. Clarke: An Appreciation of a Life Well-Lived on Omnivarious: Hungry for the Next Good Book...
Over his lifetime, Clarke received many honors, including being knighted and having the Apollo 13 Command Module and the Mars Orbiter both named "Odyssey" in appreciation of his work. Clarke remained a vital force up until his death. He authored books, made appearances via videophone from his home in Sri Lanka, and continued to deny the polio that had kept him mostly wheelchair-bound for two decades.
Arthur C. Clarke's fiction embodied a fundamental optimism about the future, tempered by a healthy skepticism about the human condition and an ongoing fascination with certain forms of spirituality. Unlikely to indulge in dystopic visions, but rarely sentimental or unrealistic, Clarke was, quite simply, curious about the world.
From the New York Times....
An Appraisal: For Clarke, Issues of Faith, but Tackled Scientifically
By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN
Published: March 20, 2008
Such apocalypse is the bread and butter of science fiction, but sometimes with Mr. Clarke it is also the communion, the sharing of a moment of transcendence in which some destiny is fulfilled, some possibility opened up. Hence the fetus of “2001.” That transformation may also not be something to be desired by current standards. The prospects are just too alien, like the ineffable Overmind in “Childhood’s End” that propels humanity to a new evolutionary stage, inspiring as much horror as awe.
This side of Mr. Clarke’s work may be the most eerie, particularly because his mystical speculations accompany an uncanny ability to envision worlds that are eminently plausible. It is Mr. Clarke who first conceived of the communication satellites that orbit directly over a single spot on Earth and allow the planet to be blanketed in a network of signals. There are many other examples as well.
But acts of reason and scientific speculation are just the beginning of his imaginings. Reason alone is insufficient. Something else is required. For anyone who read Mr. Clarke in the 1960s and ’70s, when space exploration and scientific research had an extraordinary sheen, his science fiction made that enterprise even more thrilling by taking the longest and broadest view, in which the achievements of a few decades fit into a vision of epic proportions reaching millenniums into the future. It is no wonder that two generations of scientists were affected by his work.
For all his acclaimed forecasting ability, though, it is unclear whether Mr. Clarke knew precisely what he saw in that future. There is something cold in his vision, particularly when he imagines the evolutionary transformation of humanity. He leaves behind all the things that we recognize and know, and he doesn’t provide much guidance for how to live within the world we recognize and know. In that sense his work has little to do with religion.
But overall religion is unavoidable. Mr. Clarke famously — and accurately — said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Perhaps any sufficiently sophisticated science fiction, at least in his case, is nearly indistinguishable from religion.
A remembrance for Arthur C Clarke from NPR's Morning Edition