Thursday, March 20, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

As you are probably aware by now, Arthur C. Clarke has died.

During last week's column, I mentioned that Arthur C. Clarke was one of the first speculative fiction authors I ever read. Let me amend that. Arthur C. Clarke was THE first speculative fiction author I ever read. Dad was rereading 2001, A Space Oddessy, and it piqued my interest. I had started moving away from teen fiction (as they called it then) and was exploring romance (Kathleen E. Woodiwiss), general fiction (Clan of the Cave Bear, which can nominally be called speculative), plus lots of historical fiction (John Jakes). I had not tried science fiction, so I absconded with Dad's book when he had finished.

I couldn't put it down.

Clarke made space travel so real. He had captured the excitement of the moon landings, which I am just old enough to remember. (If you are not old enough to remember the moon landings, rent the movies, The Right Stuff and Apollo 13. They will give you some idea of the excitement, but there's nothing like living through it.) It was so cool, the mysterious monolith which stood there as a sort of an alarm, which when struck by sunlight, blared a radio alarm that must have said something like, "Hey guys! Humanity's rooting around in space now! Better do something about it!" The novel just got better from there. I read both 2001 and 2010.

Then, a few years later, I got into the Rama novels. Just this past year, I returned to Clarke when I read The Songs of Distant Earth.

I didn't read a lot of Clarke's novels, but each one that I did read was unforgettable. What a storyteller.


Kimber An said...

A beautiful tribute to an amazing man, Tia.

Anonymous said...

FYI it's "Clarke"

Tia Nevitt said...