Jesurgislac’s Journal

March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke: 1917-2008

Filed under: writers and books — jesurgislac @ 1:11 am
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“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.

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