By now everyone should have heard that Arthur C. Clarke passed away a
couple of weeks ago. Please join me in a toast to his memory and his
accomplishments. He was a great writer, scientist, and an amazing mind.
Not only did he give us scores of wonderful books, but also his
research paper on geosynchronous satellites eventually lead to the
establishment of world-wide satellite communications networks. Thank
you, Arthur, for everything. You will be missed.
I have many fond memories of Arthur's novels. "Childhood's End" and
"Against the Fall of Night" were among the earliest paperbacks that I
ever bought during my Elementary School years. By the time I was in
High School and in College, I regularly searched the libraries and
bookstores for more of his books. Clarke has always been among my top
ten favorite writers. While I am saddened by his passing, I am grateful
for his 90 years among us. Rest assured, he has been a great influence
upon several generations of writers. His work will live on, influencing
many more people, for years to come. He set the bar rather high for
those of us who follow his path. But that is how it should be
Great writers should always challenge the minds of their readers.
Arthur wrote things that made me think. Sometimes in new ways,
often insightful ways, but always I was inspired to examine what I
thought I knew in a way that enabled me to grow as a person. Every book
had something that provoked me to wonderment. There will be one more
new book - one he was co-writing with Fred Pohl. It is titled "The Last
Theorem" and will be published later this year. I look forward to
adding this last Clarke novel to my collection.
If you want biographical details, or a bibliography of Clarke's work,
there are scores of web pages that can provide them. A quick Google
search will no doubt give you thousands of links to check out. For
choose to celebrate his life and work by rereading my favorites of his
books, re-watching the movies "2001" and "2010" and his "Mysterious
"Mysterious Universe" TV series.
It is interesting to note that astronomers started detecting an
increase of gamma ray bursts throughout the universe right after news
of his death became public. It's as if he was being welcomed into the
afterlife by an enormous party featuring exploding stars as fireworks!
So let us all join in celebration of his life and his works. Remember
Arthur C. Clarke in the way that you see fit. A great man has passed,
but we can be thankful that he was ours for almost a century.
We should be happy that we had him among us, for as long as we did.
Now only Ray Bradbury remains on my list of favorite Science Fiction
writers from my childhood... Sometimes it really hurts to be a
grown-up. I've had to write far too many of these obituary editorials
over the last few years. None of them are easy, and none of them will
ever be fun to write. But they are necessary. Sometimes one needs to
find a good way to say goodbye to someone. This is my way. You, the
Reader, must find a way that works for you.
Now I must return you to your regularly scheduled reading.