Jesurgislac’s Journal

March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke: 1917-2008

Filed under: writers and books — jesurgislac @ 1:11 am
Tags: ,

“It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.” – The Exploration of Space (1951)

“I dearly wish to see lasting peace established in Sri Lanka as soon as possible,” he said, referring to Asia’s longest-running war in which the Tamil Tigers’ campaign for an independent homeland has left tens of thousands dead.

Although the conflict started in 1972, fighting has been escalating in the island since late 2005, when a Nordic-brokered truce unravelled.

“But I’m aware that peace cannot just be wished — it requires a great deal of hard work, courage and persistence,” he said in a taped message released to reporters here before the celebrations.

Clarke, who also wished for evidence of extra-terrestrial life and for the world to adopt cleaner fuels on his birthday, said he did not feel “a day older than 89” as he completed “90 orbits around the sun.”

“I have no regrets and no more personal ambitions,” said the writer, who was confined for the past three decades to a wheelchair because of the effects of post-polio syndrome. Sydney Morning Herald, March 19 2008

I was re-reading Imperial Earth just recently. He wasn’t an especially good writer of fiction: while his sexual orientation didn’t intrinsically have to be a handicap – a good writer can transcend the social restrictions, a great writer transform them – I notice the real feeling between Karl and Duncan, and wonder if Clarke could have been better at writing human relationships if he had not grown up in a country, at a time, when his normal sexual orientation would have got him two to five years in jail. But he was an astonishing writer of ideas.

“No, merely mildly cheerful.” – Arthur C. Clarke, if questioned on his sexual orientation. Bless.


  1. I don’t need you to find out for me who’s in the closet, thank you.

    Comment by Ryan — April 22, 2008 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

  2. I find this comment saddening and amusing, in equal measure.

    Saddening, because it betrays that there are still people out there who think, deep down, there is something wrong with being gay.

    Amusing, because huh, a drive-by commenter drops in at my journal and complains that he didn’t need me to write this post?

    Still. Arthur C. Clarke is in his grave, and therefore by definition not in the closet any more: he did not wish to be outed in life, but now he is dead, we can remember the whole man, including, yes, his sexual orientation.

    Comment by jesurgislac — April 24, 2008 @ 11:09 am | Reply

  3. Okay, it just sounded like you were trying to “out” other people for them, and that bothers me. I think people should be able to keep secrets if they really want to.

    Comment by Ryan — April 30, 2008 @ 12:20 am | Reply

  4. Ryan, I think you didn’t read this post properly.

    Arthur C. Clarke is dead. The title of this post “1917-2008” was not a prophecy: it was a record.

    When someone is dead, they are no longer in the closet. By definition. There is no longer any reason in the world why people who know Arthur C. Clarke’s sexual orientation should treat it as if it were anything to be ashamed of, or kept secret.

    While he was alive, Arthur C. Clarke preferred not to discuss his sexual orientation publicly: that was his choice, and everyone who knew his sexual orientation respected it. But now he is dead: a long and honourable life. He can now be honoured for all that he was: which includes the fact that he was gay.

    (Obviously, had he a wife or a husband who shared his preference for his sexual orientation to be kept private, the situation would be different: but he didn’t.)

    So your comment makes no sense, unless it’s possible you read my post without understanding that Arthur C. Clarke is dead.

    Comment by jesurgislac — May 1, 2008 @ 9:44 am | Reply

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