19 March 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

Posted by Ryan Anderson

I am saddened to report that science fiction author and visionary Arthur C. Clarke passed away today. AP has more information.

If you are not familiar with his writing, Clarke was one of the founding fathers of modern science fiction. Of his stories, my favorites are Childhood’s End, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Rendezvous with Rama. He had a way of seizing upon an idea, whether simple or complex, and then writing a compelling story by exploring the results of that idea. He also had a contagious optimism about how technology will, literally and figuratively, take the human race to new heights. I highly suggest reading any of his books.

Clarke is responsible for some of the coolest ideas in science fiction or fact. He was one of the first people to propose using communications satellites. He also was the first to propose the space elevator, a structure that would simultaneously be in orbit and touching the ground, allowing cargo to be lifted directly to space.

Finally, since I love quotes, and I think they tell a lot about the person who said them, I will leave you with Clarke’s three Laws of Prediction:

  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.

Words to think about from a science fiction giant. He will be missed.