Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, R. I. P.

Awwwwww, heck. Arthur C. Clarke is no longer among us.

I grew up on his books. The man was my first real intellectual crush. I graduated from Madeline L'Engle to him in about the sixth grade, and never did I feel more hope for humanity than when I voraciously consumed his SF novels. His characters were full-blown, not two-dimensional caricatures, as were so many other SF novelists' works before and since. And his characters led the way to a better future. Even the Frankenstein's monster that was 2001's HAL eventually was proven to be on the side of life, in a later book of the Space Odyssey series.

Arthur Clarke was like that, too. He was a dreamer in a way that no politician could be... he may have seen a bit of the seamier side of life, but his eyes were not on any earthly prize. Clarke's heart was among the stars. His active mind would have been enviable, were it not for the way his ideas led back around to benefit us all, from communication satellites flying in geosynchronous orbit, to new discoveries, new worlds, new freedom in the depths of the oceans.

I guess today must truly mark Childhood's End. May it begin again, someday, for him and us all.

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