Arthur C. Clarke – A Tribute

20 03 2008

I hadn’t intended to write anything about the recent death of one of my long time favorite authors Arthur C. Clarke but I find I must. Next to Robert Heinlein he influenced me more than any of the other authors I read when young, and I learned from him much about the kind of science fiction that I would continue to enjoy for all the years to follow. I first ran across Clarke in my elementary school library. I think in a science fact book called ‘The Exploration of Space’, though this is from memory and I had to check because I wanted to say ‘The Prelude to Space’ another of his books, but that one was fiction.

I was reading Rand Simberg’s Transterrestrial Musings, and saw his post relating his memories, and commented to that. Here is what I said:

By the late 50’s or early 6o’s I had read a couple of Clarke’s books, those in my elementary school library and likely the science fact section, and kept looking for more. I must have been in my early teens maybe 12 when I found his ‘A fall of Moondust’ delivered straight to my house in a Readers Digest Condensed Book. My Dad was a constant reader so there were always books and magazines coming in.

It was the first “Adult” SF novel I think I ever read, and it did nothing but make me want to read more. Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov, Van Vogt, I started spending my lunch money on books. I just checked the list I keep, and have 25 of Clarke’s books on my shelves today. I felt sad and old when Heinlein died and again when Asimov passed away, then Gordon Dickson and Poul Anderson. They all live in memories. A greater tribute on Earth is beyond our power to render.

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