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19 March 2008

Is It Really Full of Stars, Arthur?

The news today is that one of the last great masters of science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke has passed away at age 90.
Honestly, Clarke is one of those authors permanently on my "must read' list, but whose work I rarely get around to. I've read "2001" a couple of times, as well as "Childhood's End" (my favorite Clarke work to date), and some of his shorter pieces, and heard several of his stories dramatized as radio plays, but I've never really gotten around to the Rama series, "The Ghost of the Grand Banks", or any of his many, many other books. Still, his presence was always felt in his influence on other writers I have read, especially "hard" sci fi writers.
I suppose the good news is that all that work is still out there for me to discover. Meantime, the world at large, not just science fiction, has been enriched by Clarke's vision. Like Heinlein and Asimov, he was one of those writers whose influence extended beyond his genre or his medium towards the shaping of reality. I'm tempted to make some analogy about his being a monolith to a bunch of hairy apes, but I wouldn't want to sell the species that short...yet. Nevertheless, in many ways we're still proving the truth of his statement that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

With this, and Dave Stevens in my last post, this blog is starting to get a little morbid and a lot off topic. If this world can keep from killing off any of my literary or artistic heroes for a week, I'll see about getting some lighter fare up here real soon.

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