I can’t claim to have been a huge fan. I think you need read more than one of someone’s books and seen one of their movies before you can claim to be a superfan, even if that book is one of your favorite ever. Still, a giant among men is a giant among men even if I can only point to his footprints as evidence of his passing and not my own experience.
Arthur C. Clarke passed away yesterday at the age of 90, an age we are all more likely to reach because of minds like his. Certainly Clarke’s main contributions were not scientific but speculative, but without a bold imagination able to grasp the current state of technology while not being bound by it, the brilliant men and women who make things happen would have less to spark their own imaginations. In the world of science fiction, Clarke was a colossus.
He worked in a time when the field had no shortage of great minds, yet still he managed to distinguish himself among them. His novel Childhood’s End is a classic, even if people inspired by it managed only to steal the first half. The second half remains entirely his, and it’s here that the challenging brilliance of the novel lies. And 2001: A Space Odyssey is the granddaddy of modern filmed science fiction, even if – once again – people steal the look and feel but leave its difficult-to-grasp ending alone. Even when he confused, he still inspired.
It’s difficult to lose someone, especially someone of his caliber. Let’s remember, though, that we had him with us for 90 years; his voice was not silenced too early nor were his words ignored. He lived, I hope, a happy life. For someone who has brought so much joy to others, it’s the least the world could have done.