Thanks Arthur for all the great stories

I couldn’t possibly let today pass without noting that Arthur C. Clarke died yesterday at the age of 90. I read it first last night when Scott Beale twittered it and my first emotion was shock, and then of course sadness. I don’t know how many Saturday mornings I spent in Cork City Library looking through the science fiction section for his books. Then it was back on the bike and off home to devour my latest find if I was lucky and found one I hadn’t already read.

His Mysterious World tv series was compulsive viewing for a young fella like me (and I’m not the only one!). All I remember of it now is a rotating crystal skull but every week I was glued to the tv screen. Ah, Youtube to the rescue. Here’s that programme about the crystal skull:

Here he is years later on his 90th birthday last December, sharing his reflections and thoughts.

Wired interviewed him way back in 1993 and Jeff Greenwald asked him the following,

WIRED: As a futurist, do you spend much time thinking about your own death?

ACC: I think about it more than I ever did in the past, of course, since I’ve had these brushes. It doesn’t worry me; I hope I won’t have any discomfort, is the main thing. And I’m more concerned with the people I love, and the animals I love, than myself, in a way.

WIRED: What is it that you’d most like to be remembered for?

ACC: I’m happy that people are calling the stationary orbit the Clarke Orbit. I think that’s enough. And of all my books, The Songs of Distant Earth. It’s got everything in it that I ever wanted to say.

WIRED: Have you given any thought to what you’d want your epitaph to be?

ACC: Oh, yes. I’ve often quoted it: “He never grew up; but he never stopped growing.”

I have to go dig out Songs of Distant Earth again. That was an amazing story, and so sad too.


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Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

2 thoughts on “Thanks Arthur for all the great stories”


  1. And the album by Mike Oldfield based on Songs Of Distant Earth is also cool.

    I’m also a huge fan of Clarke. Together with Asimov and Heinlein, he formed a huge part of my childhood. I scoured all the Tallaght libraries as a youth, and read everything that I could.

    I remember reading a Reader’s Digest once which included part of The Sentinel (the precursor to 2001) – I was so disappointed that the full story wasn’t in there! I can’t remember now whether it was because it was a damaged copy of the issue, or the Digest had only included part of the story.

    And his three laws (as opposed to Asimov’s) – precious. Even today, we already think of mobile phones, email, and other modern conveniences as “magic” – how many people other than us “technomancers” (to borrow from Babylon 5) actually study enough to understand these? To most people, they simply work with no need to understand /how/, and that is a definition of magic.
    Related is the fact that I really hate the word “impossible” – ask any of my co-workers – when they say to me that something related to my work is impossible, I immediately set to work proving them wrong – the result has different connotations depending on the audience – to someone in my field, they’re usually interesting. To someone else. it’s just another “magic” thing.

    Bye Arthur. Thanks for all the tales.

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