Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke has passed on at age 90. He was one of the writers that brought me into science fiction, with 2001: A Space Odyssey (The book, in my opinion, was better than the movie, which I encountered years later in college, and the movie wasn't that bad at all). After that I hunted down his collections - Wind from the Sun and Tales of the White Hart, and from Clarke I got into Asimov and Ellison and Bradbury and Analog and Galaxy and everything that followed.

But what I loved about Clarke's fiction was his hooks and his stingers. Clarke could bring you into a story quickly and effortlessly, and leave you a little spike at the end of a short story that would turn it into a tiny epiphany. And his words stay with me long after other stories have faded from my mind.

For example, the first line of 2001 -

Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts

Or the last line of his story, "Reunion", from the collection Wind from the Sun -

If any of you are still white, we can cure you

Clarke had the ability to hook the reader in, and use everything up to last period to serve his story. He will be missed.

More later,