RIP Sir Arthur C. Clarke

A Titan Passes

In recent weeks, I’ve been re-reading some of my favorite older science fiction, including some of Sir Arthur Clarke’s works: 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010, Childhood’s End, Songs of Distant Earth, and Fountains of Paradise. These works, and many books by Robert A. Heinlein were among the first science fiction books I read.

Clarke’s visions of the future were amazing, and I come back to his stories again and again. This is largely because they posited a future with possible things, like the geostationary satellites we now all take for granted for telecommunications and weather studies. And, Arthur wrote evocatively, something that (as a fellow writer) I can appreciate.

This re-fascination with his works presages news today from the the Associated Press, which reports that Sir Arthur Clarke has died at the age of 90. He had not been well for some years, but he kept on cranking out work. (His quite extensive biography on Wikipedia has already been updated with news of his death.)

I never had a chance to meet him personally, but we corresponded briefly back when I was an editor at Sky & Telescope. We adapted some of his work for a special edition of SkyWatch, and it was my pleasure to work with him on that project. I heard from him a few times after I left the magazine, but mostly kept tabs on his health and work through the Internet. When the tsunami hit Sri Lanka in 2006, he wrote a quick note to his wide circle of correspondents, reporting on conditions and letting people know he was all right.

It’s with great sadness I salute the passing of Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Here’s to ya, lad!

One Comment

  1. Martin Ratcliffe

    Hi Carolyn
    Sad news indeed. Arthur C. Clarke was an inspiration. He imagined an electronically connected world long before it was possible. I had the privilege of working on his scientific autobiography, Ascent to Orbit, on behalf of the British Astronomical Association of which he and I were members. His brother, Frank, later invited me to the London Premier of 2010: Oddyssey 2. Some years later, on the day Arthur was awarded his knighthood, he attended a meeting of the British Astronomical Association, and this was my second and last meeting with him, and he proudly showed me his medal. These memories and a signed copy of his book are treasures of mine. Arthur was an inspiration to so many, his book Report on Planet Three was a visionary classic that captivated me about our future. His words will always live on.

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