Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Last of the trio.

Arthur C. Clarke died this morning, the last of three greats of science fiction. Heinlein died in 1988 when I was in El Paso. Asimov died in 1992, when I was in Norman. It's odd that I know when and where I was when I read of each ones death. Sort of like baby boomers and John Lennon. Between the three, they constituted probably 20% of my reading between the ages of 14 and 25.

Clarke had a great run. Not only some of the best SF novels and short stories of all time, but part of the team that won the Battle of Britain. (Not the guys in the planes, the guys inventing radar.) Worked out the math for the geosynchronous satellite, and popularized the idea of the space elevator. His work with Kubrick on 2001 helped bring SF out of the pulp ghetto, although it is by far his weakest novel. Of the three greats, Clarke was most wide ranging. He could base novels around a big piece of technology (The Fountains of Paradise), yet not have the novel be about the technology. He was the first SF writer to write anything original, or interesting about religion.

He will be missed. RIP Sir Arthur.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

No comments: