March 18, 2008

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

Arthur C. Clarke has died, at age 90.

21 comments:

rhhardin said...

Dying, of course, is itself going where one cannot go.

The Drill SGT said...

The last of the big 3 (Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein) goes out into the great unknown. Three giants of science and fiction.

Smilin' Jack said...

"The Edge...there is no honest way to explain it, because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over it." Hunter S. Thompson

Tibore said...

Oh... what a shame. His work has provided me many a fine hour of reading. To this day, I endeavor to distinguish between "science fiction" and "science fantasy" on the strength of his argument alone.

Farewell to one of the grand writers of the genre. He'll be missed.

Paddy O. said...

I never knew he had polio.

A sad loss. Ultimately, I think he knew and loved technology more than he understood people, but he certainly knew enough to provoke the imaginations of many and many.

He was a great. Very sad loss.

ricpic said...

Dying I thought would be
Like falling free
Into the firmament.
Death surprised me:
Falling off a log
Into a bog:
Lights out permanent.

Elliott A said...

At about age 9, my father bought me a book with his first three great novels, Childhoods End, The City and the Stars, and Songs of Distant Earth. Since that time, I consume at least 500 pages of science fiction per week. It also led me to interests in quantum mechanics, astronomy, and physics, all quite different from my education in Biology and Dentistry. What many who do not read science fiction do not realize, is that it is a wonderful vehicle for philosophical discussions concerning man's place in the universe, war and peace, and possible futures. He had a real influence on many of us.

Rick Lee said...

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible." This might not have anything to do with anything, but that quote applies to lots of different things. In photography, a wise photographer once explained to me that you don't know if something is dark enough until you've seen it too dark. You don't know if it's light enough until you've seen it too light. You don't know if it's contrasty enough...

cushing said...

A favorite quote. "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering."

cushing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger said...

As the commenters abover have rightly observed, we have lost a giant. I grew up reading Arthur C.Clarke's magnificent works--he painted a tapestry of future worlds and they always raised questions, and were always full of humanity and humanity's striving for more. A great writer, and a great human being--RIP, Sir Arthur.

Cedarford said...

Saw the Clarke estate once on a visit to Sri Lanka. It meant a lot because I always thought he was a very decent, optimistic writer, and among Sci Fi's best.

A productive life finally ends. His fiction, science contributions, the many days he spent with his beloved coral reefs and enthralling his pederast boys...

My favorites were Childhood's End (one of the top 5 scifi novels ever) and the "9 Billion Names of God", a short story about Western computer scientists called to a remote Himalyan monestary to put the computers in that would allow monks to give the 9 billion possible permutations of God, which, when the right name was pronounced would end Mans purpose and service to God. As the monks proceed, the scientists flee in a caravan under a black, starry night - fearing the monk's anger when the 9 billion possible names are spoken, and nothing happens.

As they flee, one scientist stops the caravan, pointing to the night sky. Eyes wide with shock. "Look!!!"

overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out."

Simon said...

I join Elliot's comment - a terrible loss. :(

Mark Daniels said...

I'm surprised to learn that he was only ninety. He seemed ancient back in 1969, when CBS used him as part of their team covering the moon landing.

Lawgiver said...

"9 Billion Names of God" is only 2,577 words long. What an unforgettable short story!

Now, if Neal Stephenson can write 10 or more books as good as "Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, or The Diamond Age" he'll be able to step up in class with Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein.

TMink said...

He and Asimov were the real deal for me. God rest them both. They meant so much to me and my late childhood/adolescence.

It is a sad night for my heart.

But it is not surprising to see so many of the names of posters who I most appreciate above me.

Trey

Abhay Parekh said...

While this is a terrible loss, he did live a great life!

I've collected some links about him...it's in a new format called a Flowgram. http://beta.flowgram.com/fg/FQMZZD09B379B4/play/

Palladian said...

Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite.

Rest in peace.

Joe said...

I loved Asimov, but never quite got into Clarke. His plots seemed heavy on pointless ramblings with a little too much deus ex machina for me. I found his quazi-God enlightened aliens will save us from ourselves resolutions a little tedious (and lazy.)

(Yeah, Asimov resorted to some of the same tedium at the end as did Herbert and many other Sci-Fi authors. I suppose you could get your PhD writing a thesis on this.)

Chip Ahoy said...

*grieves*

Original Mike said...

Damn.