Arthur C Clarke, 1917-2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
My obituary for Clarke is up at Pajamas Media.


Knucklehead said...

Liked the guy, didja? I never paid much attention to his writing (not out of any animosity, I just was never much of a science fiction fan). Loved 2001 of course.

But I have read a bit of your writing, Charlie Martin, and I find I like it. Your admiration for Arthur Clarke is clear. But more importantly to this fan you touched on a some things that I frequently ponder.

For example...

In this simple paper, Clarke described, for the first time, the idea that communications relays could be put into high orbits, allowing radio and television (itself still just a curiosity then) braodcasts to cover the entire earth without relays and without the constraints of the shrt-wave radio of the time.

What makes some people able to think about legitimate potential that others can't even begin to imagine?

He moved to Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) in 1956...

The year is was born!?! OK, I don't ponder that much but, well, just sayin'. This guy headed for the hinterlands when I was a polliwog.

...he visited Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Air Force Academy.

OK, I don't ponder this either but there's a connection...

I was out that way for a while once upon a time and I also visited the Air Force Academy. I did it on a motorcycle 'cause I needed a place to hole up from a hail storm with my Bride-to-Be. We were soaked to the gills, colder an' heck, and in need of Shelter From the Storm.

Anyway, I stashed My Love, no kidding, in a toilet stall (this was NOT the days of a coed Air Force Academy) while I dried our clothes in, of course, the barracks clothes dryer (we didn't have barracks clothes dryers in my Neck o' Da Service!). We got through it and still laugh - neither of us escaped attempted scrutiny.

But my favorite was the opening bit...

It’s hard today to imagine what the world was like in 1917. There were few telephones; radio was mainly a curiosity; what we think of today as minor infections were often fatal; an airplane was a wonder that could bring an entire town outdoors; a child born in 1917 could expect to live about 50 years.

This I ponder often. Very often. This is the world of my Mom although she isn't quite that old. But she saw the Hindenburg pass over her at the end of its final voyage. Why? Because the thing was Wonder and folks poured into the streets to watch it pass.

My grandparents watched a world go from horses (if you had enough money) to Men on the Moon.

Both my parents lost grown (or nearly so) siblings to illnesses that people don't even blink at anymore. Infant mortality was MUCH higher than now.

We frequently see the bits about college frosh and the things they don't know. Or the Kids Of Today and "how do they survive" or, rather, the things My Generation did as yutes. The generations before mine didn't do that stuff. The generations after don't do it either.

The world is hurtling ahead... really fast. I wish the nest were safe like every other year, but it ain't.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

"But I have read a bit of your writing, Charlie Martin, and I find I like it."

You too, Knucklehead, you too.