Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, 1917-2008

Wow, that is news you never want to hear. Sad news; news that leads you to contemplation and remembrance.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke died today. For most people he's going to be best remembered as the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey. But to me, and others of his fans, he was so much more.

He was an author to be sure. He penned hundreds of books, both fiction and non-fiction. His fantastic writings in the mid 1940's predicted communication satellites, and today those satellites reside in an orbit around the earth commonly called "Clarke Orbits."

He was fascinated by everything, and he never lost that fascination. I had always hoped that somehow I would meet him, get to talk to him; heck even receive an email from him. But like with most things, this never happened. I don't know what I would have said to him; I might have been the giddy fanboy. I don't know. But his books meant a lot to me, and still do. Not just 2001, but Childhood's End, Sands of Mars, Songs of Distant Earth, A Fall of Moondust. Too many to mention here, but they all have special meaning to me.

In this day of crappy, meaningless science-fiction, Clarke's works were actually meant to make the reader think. No stupid "fantasy" stuff. No vampires, no dragons. Just "hard" sci-fi.

(But just try to find his work in the local bookstore. Only a few titles. The "modern" bookstore has thrown the "fantasy" books in with the actual science-fiction. Don't get me started on that.)

Clarke was a visionary... a critical thinker. And the world will be a lesser place now that he is gone.

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