mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

This Day in History, 2008: Arthur C. Clarke Dies

A year ago today, the world got the news that the last of the Big Three science fiction writers, Arthur C. Clarke, had died.

Growing up, I wasn't much of a Clarke reader. I loved Asimov's work, though, and Asimov himself used to say that people who liked his work also liked Clarke's. But for the most part, I never enjoyed Clarke's books as much as I did Asimov's. However, I did find Clarke's ideas mind-blowing, and I did enjoy Clarke's short stories more than his novels. (Who could forget "The Star" or "The Nine Billion Names of God"?)

I also loved Clarke's essays on science and the world. He seemed to have an innate inability to grasp the direction in which we were going as a species.

Oddly enough, when he died last year, I was in the middle of trying to figure out the plot of a new short story, the story that would give its title to my collection I Remember the Future. As I said in the book, Clarke's death somehow triggered in my mind exactly what I needed to write the story, and so I dedicated it to him.

As I noted last year when Clarke died, many people liked to quote his Third Law ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic") but I was more interested in exploring the ramifications of his Second Law: "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

It's something I try to do every day.
Tags: books, history, i remember the future, personal, science-fiction, stories, writing

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