Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, RIP

I just heard on one of the email lists I belong to that Arthur C. Clarke has passed away. When I was first introduced to science fiction back in the Sixties by my brother-in-law, he considered the three big names of the genre to be Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. I read a great deal by all of them and liked most of it. Clarke was never as much a favorite of mine as Heinlein and Asimov, but I always thought he was a fine writer and still occasionally read one of his novels. And he was the author of "The Nine Billion Names of God", which I consider a great short story. I'm sorry to hear that he's gone.


Randy Johnson said...

Who's left of that generation of writers? Frederick Pohl and Ray Bradbury are all that come to mind. There may be others.

Charles Gramlich said...

I was sorry to hear this too. I actually liked Clarke the best of the three, Heinlien and Asimov. "The Nine billion names of God" was truly a great story.

Lance said...

Bradbury and Pohl are the only two that come to mind as well.

One of my favorite stories of his he wrote for Wired Magazine. The idea was to write a 6 word story but what he came up with totalled 10 words:

"God said, 'Cancel Program GENESIS.' The universe ceased to exist."

The man and his stories truly inspired me and fueled my imagination on a few scriptwriting projects for school.

Clarke lived a full life and will be sadly missed.

Juri said...

Another list had a discussion on this. There are still some SF writers who started out in the thirties: Chester Cuthbert, Forrest Ackerman (who did publish fiction in his early years) and Frank Kelly. No big names, certainly.

Todd Mason said...

Of a similar age to Frederik Pohl (who has a collaborative novel with Clarke coming out later this year, apparently), however, are Jack Vance (who began publishing in the '40s), Philip Jose Farmer (likewise, maybe just over into the 1950s in SF), and someone else who's slipping my mind at the moment...oh, yes, Philip Klass, who preferred to publish as William Tenn, one of the real gentlemen of the field (ditto). Robert Silverberg suggested that Vance is still sharp, as well...I'd heard he'd been ill, and am glad to know he might well be doing better.