Arthur C. Clark – A Great Guru of SF Gets to See What Comes Next

Posted in Mixed Nuts on March 20th, 2008 by MadDog
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It seems my childhood heroes are, one by one, tripping off to the next world. As a kid, science and science fiction possibly kept me sane (this has yet to be determined). Nothing else seemed to be interesting or make much sense. The SF greats, Arthur C. Clark among them, kept me off the streets (mostly). To me, imagination was the secret of life, the universe, and everything.

Arthur C. Clark by Jeff Lemire

The impeccably appropriate drawing above is by Jeff Lemire.

Clark was famous for so many things that you wonder how the guy found time for all that thinking. Most would remember him for his work with director Stanley Kubrick on 2001 – A Space Odyessy.” It was a memorable film that stretched the limits of cinema. It was released in the spring of 1968. I distinctly remember being completely blown-away by it. Oddly enough, the book wasn’t finished until the following year.

The all-seeing eye of Hal

I remember, in the early days of computers, when something went mysteriously and ominously awry, someone would say, “Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave?

He is also known for the introduction to the public of the concept of using satellites in orbit for communications – certainly a cornerstone of modern civilization.

I liked his irreverent attitude towards science. This is nicely illustrated by “Clark’s Three Laws”:

  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 last is, of course, the most well remembered.

So, I bid adieu to Mr. Clark and wish him well in his future life.

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