Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Great Arthur C. Clarke Passes at Age 90

Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, one of the leading lights in the SF field and a man of great intellect and integrity, has passed away at his home in Sri Lanka. Clarke co-wrote what I consider to be the most important film of the 20th century, "2001 A Space Odyssey," with director Stanley Kubrick. "2001" was based on the infamous Brookings Report, which plays a major role in the story told in Dark Mission.

Richard knew Arthur personally from their time together at CBS covering the Apollo missions in the 1960's and early 1970's, and Clarke cited Richard's article "The Europa Enigma" as the inspiration for his follow up to 2001, "2010, Odyssey Two."

Richard and Arthur had exchanged emails fairly frequently in the last few years, and Clarke, after examining the Enterprise Mission web site, wrote that "Five percent of the information [on it] may be among the most important in human history." (I'm paraphrasing, because I don't have the exact quote handy.)

Unfortunately, he never answered the next question that I had: Which five percent?!

RIP Arthur, you will be sorely missed.

UPDATE: Richard forwarded me the emails, and I thought I would post them here.

Dear Dick,

Thanks for yours of 30 August.

I leave you to fight it out with Skeptical Inquirer!

Anyway, I’ve had a quick glance at the Enterprise website ... my quick estimate ... 5% true but perhaps not important - and 5% true and possibly extremely important. Anyway, time will tell.

Meanwhile, all best,

1 Sep 2001


Dear Dick,

Quick follow up - some items I forgot -

Appreciate your congrats, but I'm not in the 'Peerage' (yet!) Only a Sir, not a Lord....

Were you responsible for the beautiful 'Earthlight' relief Map signed by the Apollo 15 crew, which has place of honour on my office wall?

If so, many thanks - as well as for the naming! July/Aug PLANETARY REPORT has a piece about the Mars Prime Meridian – key element in my 1960 story 'Trouble with Time' (a.k.a. 'Crime on Mars') - sorry I didn't put *my* (rather smaller) Mars head in Cydonia...then I could have claimed a first...

Wish I had time to write a piece by a Martian archaeologist proving That the odd images from the third planet were all geological. (update of 'Report on Planet Three.')

Hope you're right about stem-cell research (lunched with Reeve once) but doubt it will be in time to help me...

Just occurred to me that the 'Enterprise' Website is a good example of My little-known 2nd Law...

And what ever happened to 'The Thing in the Ring'?

All best,

Arthur 1 Sept 2001

Recent e-mail from CinC Atlantic, Adm Bob Natter, saying he was off on Walter's boat. Sent back reply addressed to 'Those in Peril on the Sea'..no news since!

For those of you aren't familiar with "Clarke's Second Law," it reads, "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

In other news, Expat has accused me of "lying" because I didn't remember Arthur's email exactly and because he thinks 2001 isn't recent enough to qualify as "the last few years."


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