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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke - RIP

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When I was young and first discovered science fiction, its major appeal for me was the sense of wonder it conjured. I was never really terribly interested in straight fantasy, though. I was looking for the wonder of the possible. No author was able to create that sense of "this really could happen" more than Arthur C. Clarke. And Clarke knew where the action was; out there, among the stars.

Clarke's talent lay in his ability to convincingly postulate the big concepts. In Childhood's End he wrote about man's next evolutionary step. In The Fountain's of Paradise he wrote about a space elevator lifting man and materials beyond Earth's hold. And in one of his later books, The Light of Other Days he speculated about a "WormCam" that gave mankind the ability to see anything, anywhere, even back in time, allowing views of every event in history.

Clarke was one of those few handful of writer's whose fame reached beyond the readership of his books. His is credited with predicting the telecommunications satellite, a decade before its appearance and when the space age dawned he was among its greatest public advocates. His fame grew larger after his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick on the revolutionary film, 2001 A Space Oddysey.

Personally he was private, living most of his life in Sri Lanka. In his later years he was wheelchair bound with post-polio syndrome, a bitter irony for a man whose mind was so unfettered. He wrote up until the end.

Today and forevermore he wanders the stars of which he spent his life dreaming.

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