Wednesday, March 19, 2008

R.I.P. Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke passed away early this morning. While I rarely listed him on my list of top 5 authors. He was always on my top 10.

I was required to read Childhood's End when I was in high school. It was one of the first full length Sci-fi books I ever read. I was disappointed. There were no space battles. I few years later I had to read it again for a class in college. I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around.

I never really cared for 2001 - A Space Odyssey, the book nor the movie. But I loved Rendezvous With Rama and it's sequels.

Many people who have never heard of, or read any of Clarke's books may have heard of him from his three "laws" of prediction:

1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

The first law provided sci-fi fans countless of hours of entertainment when Arthur C. Clarke and Issac Asimov would start discussing this theorem. But then anytime those two men were in the same place hilarity ensued.

I respected Arthur C. Clarke for his choice to live the last 58 years of his life in Sri Lanka. He could have been swamped by adoring fans throughout the western world if he chose to. He chose not to. I liked that.

For those of you who may think, "Ok, so he wrote a few sci-fi novels, big deal." Arthur C. Clarke is universally credited with developing the idea of Communication Satellites in the 1940s. So the next time you use your cell phone - Say thanks to Sir Arthur.

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