Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C Clarke 16 December 1917 - 19 March 2008

In the postscript to one of his masterpieces, Rendezvous with Rama, I think, Sir Arthur C Clarke talks about a modern day epiphany that he and a friend of his had in early 1940. Trekking around Buckinghamshire at dusk, conversing about the future (what else), the two came across a small hill. As they cleared its crest, they were confronted by a view that would haunt both men for the rest of their lives. There, in the distance, illuminated by the dying beams of a crimson sun, and ripping through the thick evening fog like Excalibur, were giant barrage balloons. Forgetting for a moment the destructive war the blimps heralded, the two men imagined a future with spacecraft punctuating the sky, signalling to the universe that man had set aside all his differences, and was ready to take that next step.

One of my favourite authors, and arguably the greatest visionary of the 20th Century, Sir Arthur C Clarke is dead. I am at a loss for words, and I must turn to him once more. How does The Nine Billion Names of God end, again? Ah, yes:

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



Anonymous said...

Odd, Ali, you suggest a big announcement, then nothing . . . ?