Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Sci-Fi Science

Arthur C. Clarke Is Dead At 90 538

Posted by kdawson
from the pod-bay-doors-are-open dept.
Many readers are sending in word that Arthur C. Clarke has died in Sri Lanka. He wrote over 100 books including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous With Rama, and popularized the ideas of geosynchronous communications satellites and space elevators.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Arthur C. Clarke Is Dead At 90

Comments Filter:
  • Mortality (Score:5, Funny)

    by SIGALRM (784769) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:28PM (#22788980) Journal
    It can only be attributable to human error.
  • Not Just the Fiction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fishybell (516991) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (llebyhsif)> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:29PM (#22788994) Homepage Journal
    The biggest addition to society that Clarke, and all other science fiction writers, have added is not in the works of fiction themselves, but the spark of imagination infused in those reading it. Some will take that spark and build their lives around it turning fiction to fact.


    The world will miss him.

    • by Trails (629752) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:03PM (#22789456)
      A good point. A lot of ideas he conceived/incubated/popularized have done much for humanity. Aside from his watershed prose, his ideas are a testament to human ingenuity and imagination.

      God speed, Mr. Clarke.
      • by gsslay (807818) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @05:33AM (#22793490)

        God speed, Mr. Clarke.
        As an atheist, I'm not sure he'd appreciate your wishes.

        He was a imaginative and intelligent man. He contributed a lot. He's gone, but he's not going anywhere.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Trails (629752)
          As an atheist myself, I'm sure he would take it in the spirit it was given, one of respect and admiration for his accomplishments, and sadness at his passing, the opinions of a semantic nitpicker and pompous shithead(i.e. you) notwithstanding.
    • by Veggiesama (1203068) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:50PM (#22789998)
      You seem to have dismissed the entire art of literature in one fell swoop. I find it somewhat condescending to only appreciate a great writer such as Clarke (or anyone else) insofar as they act as cheerleaders for other professions or ideals.

      That said, I do share your opinion in part, and I don't want to sound like I'm flaming. I do think that his stories, and the field of science-fiction in general, has not only inspired budding scientists and engineers, but also ordinary people to develop an interest in the role of science in our society, as well as its prominent role in humanity's future.

      That is one way of appreciating Clarke's writings. It can also be appreciated for its historical significance, having been written in an era of unprecedented American optimism. Just a year after both the book and movie were written, the Americans landed on the moon, after all! The stories' popularity can also be seen as a reflection of our self-image, value systems, or even fears through the themes and issues it raises. And if the HAL 9000 isn't an expression of our fear of technology, then I don't know what is!

      (as written on Wikipedia, because I'm too lazy to do any of my own analysis, one theme that the book examines is the way that "troubles... crop up when man builds machines, the inner workings of which he does not fully comprehend and therefore cannot fully control"--sounds like my mother trying to work her DVD player, but I digress)

      Once again, I'm not trying to criticize your feelings, but I merely wish to nitpick and point out to others that it is possible to appreciate authors and the works they create in more ways than a pragmatic, utilitarian, "what have they done to improve our world" sense of appreciation. Literature is more than just a tool...
      • by Zantetsuken (935350) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @07:24PM (#22790318) Homepage
        As I read it, the GP didn't dismiss any kind of literature as not having artistic value. He put the artistic value and "cheerleading" aspect of Clarke's work next to each other on a bar graph and said that the inspirational value is higher than the artistic value. In other words, if the artistic value is a fantastic contribution to society, the inspirational value to society would then be astronomical...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Gideon Fubar (833343)
        HAL probably would have been fine, if not for it's conflicting directives.. It was more a commentary on how non-technical 'requirements' (in this case, by politically driven military supervisors with insufficient technical insight) get in the way of things..

        If nothing else, hopefully it will serve as a reminder to AI developers not to expect an AI to simultaneously 'protect the lives of the crew' and 'fulfill the mission, even if it costs the crew's lives'.
    • by alshithead (981606) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:09AM (#22792170)
      "The biggest addition to society that Clarke, and all other science fiction writers, have added is not in the works of fiction themselves, but the spark of imagination infused in those reading it. Some will take that spark and build their lives around it turning fiction to fact."

      Respectfully, I'm not trying to argue against your point. It is valid. But please, let's not diminish the pleasure derived from being able to escape the real world by diving into another. I find myself pulling a Heinlein, or Clarke, or Niven and Pournelle down from the shelf when I've had all I can tolerate in the real world.
  • by Paranatural (661514) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:31PM (#22789016)
    Who actually has done a lot to promote science. Ok, so he did a lot of Sci-Fi. But most scientists I know were drawn to it *because* of some of the sci-fi they had seen. A sad passing, not just for the cause of geeks and entertainment, but nerd and science.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Arthur C. Clarke was the archetypical hard science-fiction author. Science-fiction, if you please. In his stories, the math always worked, the science was as real as it could be. Since I was a kid I read everything he wrote that I could get my hands on ... and now I think I'm going to go select one of my favorites and re-read it.

      Rest in peace, Arthur.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MagusSlurpy (592575)
      Being a scientist, I have found a lot of joy in the sci-fi stories where the exploration is as much of the adventure as aliens and action, such as Rendezvous with Rama, The Andromeda Strain, and Robinson's Mars trilogy. . Recently, my English professor friend asked me to introduce him to my favorite sci-fi books. I gave him some Heinlein, Card, and Rendezvous with Rama. He got about halfway through Rendezvous and asked me when the aliens were going to wake up and start killing people. It broke his litt
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by STrinity (723872)
      Unfortunately he did a lot to promote pseudoscience. I remember watching his TV series as a kid and thinking, "Wow, if Arthur C. Clarke believes in UFOs and yeti, they must be real."
  • Farewell (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Dobber (576407) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:33PM (#22789038)
    Off to that big old Monolith in the Sky, I suppose
  • by cybrpnk2 (579066) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:34PM (#22789040) Homepage
    ...Are Yours. Except for 2001 - attempt no more sequels there.

    RIP, ACC.
    • by Lu (6239) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:14PM (#22789608)
      I would argue it is precisely that movie that made him into the giant that he was. It was a synthesis and evolution of many previous works into a larger, more important, and more cohesive vehicle. The reason it exists at all is because of Kubrick. The books were great, but except for that movie he was just a very good science fiction writer. It was Kubrick's vision and execution that lifted him. And it was Kubrick that was responsible for its polished final form, as he kept rejecting Clarke's drafts and insisting that he could do better. The book was written along with the development of the movie. It was published after the movie was released, but it was finished beforehand and is in fact the basis of the movie, instead of the reverse, which is a common misconception.

      And the morons, the geeknobs, the imbeciles that self-award themselves for movies, completely blew it. Do you know what won the Oscar for the best movie of 1969? You might look it up. No one remembers it. 2001 didn't even win an award for best costumes, that went to the inane world of Roddy McDowell and his geriatric simians for Planet of the Apes. They gave 2001 an award for special effects, and you can argue almost everything important until CG was done in 2001. It didn't make it onto that stupid list of 100 best films (give me a break). And compared to other films made the same year (how about the ludicrous 'Robinson Crusoe on Mars'?) it was just miles and miles ahead of anything anyone else could imagine.

      Most importantly, much of what Clarke/Kubrick presented was righteously and vigorously dismissed as bunk, especially w.r.t. the early hominid sequences. Remember this was the era of arguing over "Killer Apes" or gentle pre-humans. His presentation of pre-humans' war-like behavior was ridiculed, and his presentation of weapons development as the nucleus of development of greater intelligence was mostly scorned.

      Today we can watch some of the nature channel films about chimpanzees going out on "war patrol." They act almost exactly like the prehumans did in the film. They said bands of apes wouldn't fight, well, they do. They said apes don't fight over water, well, they do. They say they don't use tools as weapons, well, they do. In the end, Kubrick and Clarke were right about almost everything.

      To this day, from watching his film, almost no one can grasp his biggest concept on their own (that when we encounter a greater intelligence we will have no greater understanding of it than an ant would walking about on a tank). And to this day almost no one can spot the aliens right there in plain sight (and no, they aren't the monoliths).

      You will be missed, Arthur and Stanley.

      -Luen
      • by Scaba (183684) <joe&joefrancia,com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @07:59PM (#22790572)

        Do you know what won the Oscar for the best movie of 1969? You might look it up. No one remembers it.

        Uhh, it was Midnight Cowboy. Hardly a forgotten film.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by 1u3hr (530656)
          Do you know what won the Oscar for the best movie of 1969? You might look it up. No one remembers it.
          Uhh, it was Midnight Cowboy. Hardly a forgotten film.

          Yeah, but 2001 was released in 1968, the "best picture' that year was the musical "Oliver".

      • by Neop2Lemus (683727) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:54PM (#22791386) Journal
        I assume that the top 100 film list you are referring to is the AFI list (American Film Institute).

        Ignore them. Their work is ignorant garbage. When they published their first list it (or at least the first one I read) there were TWO non-American films on it (IIRC so +/- 2) The AFI is an MPAA sales group and have absolutely no idea of what has cultural and entertainment value. Hope that explains your 2001 omission.

        On another topic, RIP Mr. Clarke, I hope when I get to heaven I'll get to read the new works that you, Asimov, and Wells (with perhaps a little sex and dialogue from Heinlein) will hopefully have written.

        /Great monolith in the sky.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:13AM (#22792194)
        "And to this day almost no one can spot the aliens right there in plain sight (and no, they aren't the monoliths)."

        at no risk of sounding stupid -- AC here! -- could you clarify that statement, please? Or perhaps you're talking about us? Even if we were seedlings of extra-terrestrial intelligences, Earth has been our home for millions of years and I'd feel uneasy at calling ourselves aliens in our home planet...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jmv (93421)
      It's [wikipedia.org] too [wikipedia.org] late [wikipedia.org]
  • Don't worry (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tanman (90298) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:36PM (#22789072)
    in a few years, perhaps longer, he will be reborn to lead the xenu empire on its glorious crusade.

    sorry, couldn't resist.
    • Re:Don't worry (Score:4, Interesting)

      by xtracto (837672) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @07:34PM (#22790376) Journal
      I will use your introduction of the product of the SciFi-fantasy writer Ron Hubbard to remember that Asimov along with Heinlein distantiated from John Campbell (one very famous Science Fiction editor) when he started getting into the weird Hubbard's ideas, and publishing his psyche related novels (not Science fiction but more fantasy)...

      That goes to show that not all science fiction writers gave left good things to humanity.

      Oh and for those that are saying Science Fiction is a promoter of real science, there is an anecdote of John Campbell being visited by the FBI because in a story in "Astounding" magazine, because they got the details of the atmoic bomb very clear... Also, Asimov was a PhD in Chemistry, he based his psychohistory in the theory of gases, stating that you can not predict the specific path of a particle but you can predict the overall movement of a big set of them (or somethin like that... IANAC).

  • This one hurts! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kclittle (625128) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:37PM (#22789086)
    I see a notice of passing of this or that "famous" person every day. But this one hurts...
    Bon Voyage, Sir Arthur! Many of us will truly miss you...
  • by Doofus (43075) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:38PM (#22789104)
    Coverage from several sources

    AP/Washington Post [washingtonpost.com]

    BBC [bbc.co.uk]

    LA Times [latimes.com]

    Bloomberg [bloomberg.com]

    National Post [nationalpost.com]

  • From TFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:38PM (#22789108) Homepage
    "Clarke's best-known novel, "2001: A Space Odyssey," became the basis of the 1968 film of the same name, directed by Stanley Kubrick."


    It's such a shame, isn't it, that they can't get things right in these articles, even when the slightest research would have shown the writer that the novel Space Odyssey [wikipedia.org] was written as a novelization of the classic movie. The movie itself was based mostly on Clark's short story, The Sentinel. Furrfu!

    • Huh. (Score:5, Informative)

      by jd (1658) <imipak@nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:56PM (#22789362) Homepage Journal
      My understanding was that he wrote sections of the book alongside the movie, making the script/book a joint effort, although the book was actually finished and polished later. Well, the only two people who know for certain are now working on a prequel (not available on Earth), from the Monolith's perspective.
    • Re:From TFA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Deadstick (535032) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:17PM (#22789642)
      Much like Fantastic Voyage. The film producers hired Isaac Asimov to do a novelization from the screenplay, and not knowing the first thing about Asimov, told him he'd better hurry up on it because the film release was only six months away.

      Asimov dropped off the manuscript the following week, and it was promptly serialized in a magazine, leading many people to believe the film was made from an Asimov novel. Harry Kleiner, who wrote the original screenplay, was not amused...

      rj

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rmdir -r * (716956)

        The film producers hired Isaac Asimov to do a novelization from the screenplay, and not knowing the first thing about Asimov, told him he'd better hurry up on it because the film release was only six months away.

        Asimov dropped off the manuscript the following week,

        I'd never heard that before, but I believe it. Isaac Asimov was a beast.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Jason Levine (196982)
          I can't remember where I read it (probably I, Asimov), but Asimov used to have three typewriters set out on three sides of him. He would type one story on one, swivel around in his chair and then work on another story, then swivel again and work on a third. He would be working on three completely different stories at the same time! He was probably one of the original multi-taskers.
  • Friend of my youth (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZonkerWilliam (953437) * on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:39PM (#22789124) Journal
    His and Asimov's books were what I read growing up.

    "Time is the fire in which we burn..."

    RIP
  • by _bug_ (112702) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:41PM (#22789150) Journal
    Here is a video from ACC [youtube.com] made in December 2007 in which he reflects upon his life and how he will be remembered.

    His Kipling quote at the end should help bring closure to all his fans.
  • RIP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fhic (214533) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:41PM (#22789152)
    I hope wherever he's gone, it's full of stars.
  • by Dread_ed (260158) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:46PM (#22789234) Homepage
    My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans. He was one of the first writers I experienced that changed the way I thought and felt about the world in a drastic way.

    I can still remember hollowness in my chest from "Childhood's End," the wonder and fear from the "Odysseys", and the rompy fun from "Rama."

    Though we can all take some solace from the immortal parts of him that live on in all of his books and in us, his readers, I for one will surely miss him.

    Thank you Sir Clarke and peace on your eternal rest.
  • by dgerman (78602) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:47PM (#22789256) Homepage
    His long lasting legacy is that he taught many computer sciences (and electrical engineers) how to dream.

    many of those dreams became a relaity.

    And we are still pursuing some of them.

    --dmg
  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:49PM (#22789292) Homepage
    My 3 favorite, and the 3 who most influenced me are now gone... Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein..

    But their stories, intellect, and vision for the future will inspire generations more.
  • by jd (1658) <imipak@nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:51PM (#22789318) Homepage Journal
    ...it had better have stars and monoliths. I was a fan of many of his books - Islands in the Sky, 2001, 2010, Rendezvous with Rama. They were brilliant, detailed, imaginative and really achieved what they set out to. Some of his other stuff - Cradle, 2061, Imperial Earth, and the later Rama books - didn't really appeal to me in the same way.

    In terms of his factual writings, I have many of his articles that were written for Wireless World, including the letter and two follow-up articles on geostationary satellites. Those three in particular can be found on the web - many people have scanned them in. They're well worth reading. He was a highly skilled writer on technical stuff. Technical writers today should pay attention to them and learn.

  • ...I shed a tear - and then I felt...ashamed...why?

    Why is it that when one cries at a movie involving war heroes or romance it is socially acceptable, but when I become choked-up not just about the passing of one of our greats - as I have today - but at the whole of scientific discovery I feel somehow, I'm not sure...I guess just ashamed.

    This happens to me now and then. Like when I saw a documentary on mitochondrial eve, and I became full of such emotion about the interconnectedness of us all that I had to leave the room lest my wife see me weep (not that she would ridicule me, just because).

    Why should I not be proud of my tears? Why, even in this day, surrounded by so much intellect and accepting cultures should I still not disclose this little secret to anyone except the pseudo-anonymous like-minds on this website?...

    Why should we not all weep at the stars?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KlomDark (6370)
      You forgot to take your Paxil again today, didn't ya? ;)

      (I once forgot my Paxil for a couple days, and cried at the end of The Goonies. Really... Made no sense.)
    • by Gazzonyx (982402) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:39PM (#22789878)
      I think that there are two different kinds of emotions here; with a movie, you're being 'forced' to feel the way you do, so it doesn't seem to be a 'real' emotion although it feels the same.
      In real life, if you will, these events cause really deep, pure emotions that are... well, difficult to handle at times.
  • by LoveMe2Times (416048) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:56PM (#22789366) Homepage Journal
    StarChild, are you now speeding amoung the stars
    finding your great connexion
    with the majesty that lies buried in mens' hearts
    watching and waiting to see if those you left behind
    will understand your message before it's too late

    arthur c clarks should have been done in threes
    a backup seer always ready
    to disarm warmongering nukes from Mercury or even Imperial Earth
    leading us across a bridge to the heavens and a rendezvous with destiny
    counting the nine billion names of god as they are one and none

    now we carbon based bipeds must confront childhood's end
    with a memory in our hearts
    of one who changed the world with intelligence, nobility and grace
    rest in peace, arthur c clarke, you will be forgotten all too soon
    but not for a little while yet
  • by Zaatxe (939368) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:57PM (#22789390)
    ... he even died tomorrow!

    The article states he died on wednesday, but it's still tuesday!
    (I know, I know... it's due to the time zones...)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RobertB-DC (622190)
      (I know, I know... it's due to the time zones...)

      Perhaps that's the real reason he moved to Sri Lanka? So he could be ahead of our time, as well as his own?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by meringuoid (568297)
      The article states he died on wednesday, but it's still tuesday! (I know, I know... it's due to the time zones...)

      So the news reached you that quickly? From Sri Lanka to you in a matter of minutes... What a wonderful invention allows instanteneous intercontinental communication! Who is it that we have to thank?

  • Death in threes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cheebie (459397) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:58PM (#22789410)
    First Gygax, then Clarke. Who will be geek number three?

    Stallman [xkcd.com] had better keep an eye out for ninjas.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thelexx (237096)
      I think it was Roy Scheider. Lots of geeks/nerds love horror films too, not the least reason for which is that they generally have more effects, which are fun to think about. Jaws was significant in that regard. And he was in the SeaQuest series and 2010. It was definitely Scheider. So, no more big-name deaths in geekdom this year dammit!
  • One of the masters (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SystemFault (876435) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:04PM (#22789470)
    Clarke was certainly one of the masters of SF and popular space writing; also, he was my personal favorite.

    His story "How I Lost a Billion Dollars in My Spare Time" about his failure to patent his geosynchronous communication satellite network concept is simultaneously sad and funny. He got everything right except he thought that the satellites needed to be crewed because of the requirements of changing burnt out vacuum tubes! Too bad the transistor was still ten years away at the time.

    More than once in his writings he made the claim that he was proud to be an atheist. Somehow I hope that he wasn't disappointed being wrong and instead was pleasantly surprised.
  • by fermion (181285) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:05PM (#22789502) Homepage Journal
    Clarke is part of a select group of people who really thought about what the machine might do, and what is might do to societal norms, and how things might go down differently given the use of the machines. It is not just space opera. It is not just a plot device. It is a deep thought of the long term impact of the industrial revelation. At the time when thes Clarke and other were writing the full effects of the industrial revolution and the possibilities were just becoming fully apparent. We know has machines and the learned techniques to build cylindrical shells big enough to construct a machine that would take a person to the moon. We were beginning to develop machines that would allow us to build a autonomous programing computing machine, that we would someday, we thought, lead to machines that would help us in our daily lives.

    They got so much wrong, but the issues they got right. We don't have flying cars, but we are different people due to technology. We do not get our food from cubes, but the fast food is just presented manner meant to imitate the food it replaces. We had pocket calculators long before the cleaning work was autonomously taken over by machine, but the roomba exists. Children are being trained in ware fare using video games. The basis of our interactions are being changed by rapid instantaneous communication. Our basic functions, such as sex, have been changed by the picture phone and internet. No longer must anyone settle for the person next door, when one can surf for an attractive specimen in the morning, text during class, and set up the date for the evening at a bus stop midway between the two of you. In fact, we never have to settle when everything can be custom made to out specifications.

    There are two things that disappoint me about many so-called intellectuals. The first is that they don't seem to read enough history. The second is that don't seem to read enough science fiction. To me this strikes me as a person who knows not where they came from, and who knows not where they are going. All they know is what is happening at the moment, their immediate desires, and all they care about is what they must do to fulfill those desires.

    Clarke's writing clearly defines him as a different sort of person. The Foundation series clearly identifies him as a man who knew history. His life defines him as a man who knew where he as the rest of us were likely going. I wonder what the world would be like if our leaders were like this. People of history and vision, rather than people who apparently do not even both to hold a book correctly [about.com], and proudly states that they never read, or that they read the cliff notes versions. I am reminded of John F. Kennedy, the person who pushed the nation to space, for better or worse. It is claimed in Thirteen Days that JFK had read the Guns of August, did understand that many conflicts start because leaders assume they know what the other party is thinking, and then constructs inflexible plans based on those assumptions. As he knew history, he could do something different in his attempt to achieve a result. Again, history and vision of the future. Something we are sorely lacking, and something that is all too often ridiculed by those who are justing looking at how to swindle their first million by the time they are 25.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TychoCelchuuu (835690)
      You're thinking of Asimov, unless Clarke wrote his very own Foundation series.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      There are two things that disappoint me about many so-called intellectuals. The first is that they don't seem to read enough history.

      Clarke's writing clearly defines him as a different sort of person. The Foundation series clearly identifies him as a man who knew history.

      Says the guy who doesn't read enough SF to know the difference between Clarke and Asimov.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Surt (22457)
      Clarke's writing clearly defines him as a different sort of person. The Foundation series clearly identifies him as a man who knew history.

      Perhaps it identifies him as a person who knew history. Or perhaps it identifies you as a person who does not know science fiction.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_series [wikipedia.org]

      The foundation series was written by Isaac Asimov, and he also wrote a number of history books, and in fact his knowledge of history was quite extensive:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov# [wikipedia.org]
  • by beadfulthings (975812) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:06PM (#22789506) Journal
    My first exposure to Clarke wasn't fiction at all but a non-fiction, non-technical look at the future of space travel called "The Exploration of Space." My father must have acquired it in the early Fifties. It was completely understandable to a young reader, and the beautiful illustrations fired the imagination. I went hunting for it on my shelves just now and could not find it; I'm thinking one of my offsprigs must have made off with it just as I appropriated it from my dad when I left home. I was in grammar school when I first read it--didn't encounter his fiction until I was somewhat older. I treasure the memory of it because it wasn't about "IF" we achieve interplanetary travel but rather about "WHEN" we achieve it.
  • Also, the Newspad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SystemFault (876435) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:15PM (#22789610)
    Let us be reminded that Clarke also wrote about the Newspad back in 1964; it appeared a couple of times in the film 2001, It was tablet computer accessing a world wide web, thirty years before it finally came to life. The only difference was that Clarke thought the URLs were numeric instead of ASCII strings.

    How cool it must have been for him to see so many of his visions turn into reality!
  • by IronChef (164482) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @07:29PM (#22790338)
    Be sure not to share any of his works that you find online, because copyright terms mean the stories cannot be freely distributed.

    So please, please, don't search for The Nine Billion Names of God on Google and read one of his greatest short stories.* By not reading it for free, immediately, you are enriching yourself and protecting our way of life. Observe the reasonable limitations on the distribution of creative works that we have in place in the US, and enjoy sharing this story with your friends when it enters the public domain in 2062... ninety five fucking years after it was written.

    * Really, don't. Don't to it. **

    ** You're going to do it, aren't you? I'm telling.

    PS Yes, this gets my goat.
    PPS Yes, I have written a book, pr8 it if you can find it, I don't care.

    http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/public_domain/ [cornell.edu]
  • Memories of Paradise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Sokol (109591) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:56PM (#22791012) Homepage Journal
    Back in 1997 I did a live internet streaming event with Arthur C. Clarke, it was the first of it's type, and literally sent video across a 12 hr time difference to Chicago, even then Clarke was making internet history and I was privileged to be part of it.

    I actually got to travel to Sri Lanka and meet him. It was truly the experience of a life time. I had been following the foot steps of many other great people. Astronauts, writer, Hollywood types and scientists that have all traveled there to meet him. I had lunch at his home, got to play ping pong with him, it was one of the few physical activities he was still up to. He showed me original sketches of the Space elevator that he and Buckminster fuller had drawn. Even gave me a signed copy of one of his books.
      Unfortunately I was so broke at the time all I could afford was one of those 10 Dollar disposable cameras and none of the photo's I took came out, maybe the X-ray machine zapped em. The grand old British hotel there the Galle Face Hotel built in 1864 was incredible but was killing my finances at $150 per night. http://www.gallefacehotel.com/ [gallefacehotel.com]

        The video streaming even was at UIUC in celebration of Hal's birthday.
    It was amazing to see the turn out. On the large theater screen he was larger then life and it really seems th e internet owes him a large debt of gratitude. For he has been an inspiration for so many.

      Sri Lanka was Paradise. In spite of the Civil war, I have never been anywhere so majestic, the people were so hospitable, even strangers on the street were inviting me to there homes to have some food and drink with them. I must have walked every part of Colombo in the week I was there. The food was fantastic, the women were so beautiful, the ocean breeze and the sun sets. Oh the sun sets they put even the best ones in Santa Monica to shame. I still feel almost home sick for Sri Lanka even though I have only been there the one time.
    I can completely understand why he moved there. I would if I could also.

    Never making it back there is something that I deeply regret. Hearing this news really drove that home this afternoon. Meeting him has been one of the defining moments in my life.

    Godspeed Arthur.

    For Clarke is for us techies far more significant to us then Prices Dianna ever was.

    It's nice to see that this slashdot page it turning into a memorial. I wonder if more formal memorial services would happen around the world.

    http://www.dnull.com/~sokol/clarke.html [dnull.com] This is from the streaming even and some video clips of him.

    I actually think this may be the longest clip up on youtube, somehow they must have allowed it to slip through there size restrictions.

  • Has anyone here... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FridayBob (619244) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:04PM (#22791066) Homepage
    ... not read one of his books of failed to be impressed? I'm sure I've read most of his books, if not all (especially the ones he wrote on his own), but probably my favorite is "Fountains of Paradise" -- I can still remember so much of the story even though I last read it in the 1980s. Maybe not all of it, but who can forget the concept?! Okay, maybe he didn't think of this one himself, but if the space elevator ever becomes a reality, it'll probably be thanks to this book.

    I'm going to miss him. He was one of those people who you've admired for so long that you hope they'll live forever. Of course, nobody ever does, so when people like Sir Arthur start to grow old and you hear that they're becoming weaker, you begin to dread the inevitable years in advance. A world without people like this is so much less interesting. Hell, I still hate the fact that Frank Zappa and Richard Feynman are no longer with us -- two of my other heros. Sir Arthur's passing is also going to take a very long time to get used to.
  • by MrCopilot (871878) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:50PM (#22791352) Homepage Journal
    Its Sir Arthur C. Clarke. And I miss him already.

    http://mrcopilot.blogspot.com/2008/03/sir-arthur-c-clarke-dead-at-age-90.html [blogspot.com]

    Out of all his predictions, I was really pulling for the monkey servants.

    From the wikipedia:

    As featured on Sky One's "50 Terrible Predictions" programme, Clarke once predicted that apes would function as household servants by the 1960's; "...with our present knowledge of animal psychology, we can certainly solve the servant problem with the help of the monkey kingdom" he said, but quipped "..of course, eventually, our super chimpanzees would start forming trade unions and we'd be right back where we started."
  • On Ice? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by quantaman (517394) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:04AM (#22792156)
    For some random reason I was reading up on cryonics today and ran across a supportive quote from Clarke

    "Although no one can quantify the probability of cryonics working, I estimate it is at least 90% -- and certainly nobody can say it is zero. [alcor.org]"

    I didn't see any mention of cryonics in any coverage of his death so I assume he never followed through with it, but if he actually did maybe there's the hope that he's not gone forever and may be back again someday.
  • by Mr Pippin (659094) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:15AM (#22795000)
    Open the Pearly Gates, HAL.
  • by MagikSlinger (259969) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:26AM (#22795888) Homepage Journal
    I wish I could find a handy transcription to quote the conversation between Chandra and HAL, but in 2010, Clarke showed he did know how to write. I'll never forget the chill up my spine when Dave Bowman shows up to warn the crew that they have to leave, and on leaving, the dark spot appears on Jupiter... *shudder* (When 2010 shows up on the boob tube, I tune in just for the ending).

    And the final dialog between Chandra and HAL actually talking with him and being honest. And HAL chosing the right thing. The redemption of HAL is one of my all-time favorite moments in SF.

    That was awesome writing.

"Morality is one thing. Ratings are everything." - A Network 23 executive on "Max Headroom"

Working...