Arthur C Clark: The Final Odyssey

Sir Arthur C Clarke 1917–2008 departed the planet yesterday for his rendezvous with Rama in geosynchronous orbit.

Like millions of others of my generation, I grew up reading science fiction. I liked Arthur C Clarke the best. Based on his story “The Sentinel,” the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey,” is one of my all-time favorite movies. He collaborated with Stanley Kubrick on the book and the film. I suppose I will have to watch it again soon in his memory.

Whenever I am astounded by technology, I am reminded of Clarke’s Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

He was a true visionary. He is called the godfather of the communications satellite; he outlined the idea in a paper in 1945, and the first geostationary comm sat was launched in 1963.

Just the other day I was wasting time on the web researching stuff on the web and came across this site Kubrick2001: The Space Odyssey Explained. Be careful: the site has spoilers. So watch the movie first if you ever intend to watch the movie. Here are some screen shots from the flash presentation.

Here are two obituaries: BBC and LA Times.

Author: Atanu Dey

Economist.

5 thoughts on “Arthur C Clark: The Final Odyssey”

  1. Why refer to him as sir?
    If you like his work good say so and praise it.
    I find that more annoying than rajiv speak especially considering the arcot bit recently
    For the record, for me the annoyance includes all titles his holiness dalai lama, mother teresa, sir naipaul, sir rushdie, reverands, mahants, etc

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  2. knighthood is probably one last straw left in the fast flushing waters of pompous british royalty where kitchen maidens can cook better stories than can the queen ever dream of. the borders are disappearing (have disappeared) and the one is merging into the lowly other thereby averaging it out to be one hell of a low life. so sirs exist to continue the memory of the glorious royal excursions?

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  3. I remember there were allegations of Mr Arthur Clark molesting/sexually abusing children in Sri Lanka where he was living. I did not follow up on those stories and I am not sure if they are just allegations or if they have some truth to it.

    If true, I must say, for all his ideas and talent, he doesn’t deserve any praise.

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  4. DP Chalasani:

    There were allegations and the investigation exonerated him. Was there truth to it? A human being is a fairly complex entity and the smarter they come, the more complex they are. But even then, the humanity of a human being can be estimated by looking at the total person, what he did, how he behaves, and so on.

    Here’s a bit from Harlan Ellison writing about ACC (quoted in Wired.)

    Sci-fi is a moron’s neologism and Arthur hated it. He was a serious writer and a serious man, and when he wrote about the future, he took it seriously. He had very little patience for those who call it sci-fi. I suppose what passes for attention in the glare of his brilliance and erudition is the singular ability to extrapolate what our lives would be like down the line. He was not just a gentleman: He was an elegant and steadfast friend, a supporter of the arts and a gracious man, a quality that was in the bone and marrow of his demeanor. The passing of that graciousness from our common everyday life troubled him.

    And he was steadfast. I met him when I was 18, your basic pencil-neck geek. In those days, he was still a youngish man and everyone referred to him as The Great Ego; he had to suffer that for decades. Arthur really did not like stupid people, but he would always talk to them as if they were Nobel laureates. I asked him where he got the patience, and he would answer that it’s not nice to kick cripples.

    Arthur and I were once talking about the responsibility of being an icon, how it’s easy for people to take umbrage if you don’t live up to their preformed concepts. It’s hard to codify, without meaning to be self-serving, but we were discussing the burden of public identity. And he said that we are like two survivors of an oceanic flight who end up on a lost island, watching the tides go in and out. And we don’t realize that time is passing and behind us there is a continent being built. Arthur became that continent, and he wore it with grace, aplomb and wisdom. He was a smart cookie.

    I think that the man was too good a person to abuse children, sexually or otherwise.

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