Arthur C. Clarke, 1917 – 2008.

Joe Leydon says this is one of his favorite pictures of Arthur C. Clarke, who died today at the age of 90. I agree. Partly because I grew up with an Osborne 1 computer, and I saw several Kaypro machines at the F.O.G. meetings that I used to attend with my dad in the 1980s. And partly because it was during this period that I saw 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984; my comments) and, through it, discovered both the original novel by Clarke and the novel that preceded it. I didn’t get around to seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) itself until a few years later, when it happened to be showing at the UBC theatre, and I didn’t really “get” the film until I saw it again many years after that. But it’s a treasure, and thought-provoking. Sadly, I have only read a few of Clarke’s other books. I own an exhaustive anthology of his short stories but haven’t gotten very far into it. And Kevin Miller reminds me that I still haven’t read my copy (or is it my wife’s?) of The Lost Worlds of 2001, which chronicles the making of Stanley Kubrick’s film, as Clarke saw it. And then there are the books I have only dreamed of picking up, like From Narnia to a Space Odyssey, which collects the letters exchanged by Clarke and — believe it or not — C.S. Lewis. Too much reading to do. Too little time. Sigh.

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  • I’m 53, and I’ve been reading science fiction science I was 8 years old, so I grew up reading Arthur C. Clarke’s fiction. I was never impressed with it–it always seemed quite dry. The film 2001 was another story–even though the pacing is slow, it’s a fascinating film, one that I saw several times in movie theaters. Once, my brother and I were the only ones left who’d stayed for the credits, and two girls who were cleaning the theater got up on the stage and danced to Thus Spake Zarathustra. I like that memory as well as I did the movie, though. I own lots of SF films, but I’ve never bothered to purchase 2001, even though it is probably a critical part of my kids’ knowledge of film history. I have 182 movies in my Netflix queue at the moment, and only about 30 more years left, so I might let them look that one up on their own. Oh–and my brother still owns an Osborne 1; I no longer use my Kaypro, though–that was 4 computers ago.

  • Oddly enough, Pete’s brother probably still has one of their old Osbornes.