I confess I was confused when I read this morning that legendary science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke had died, having thought he passed away years ago. Clarke had been out of the literary firmament for many years, especially since he suffered from post-polio syndrome beginning in the early 1980s, a result of his bout with polio in 1962. But Clarke was a seminal writer for my childhood.
Like many young boys, I immersed myself in the distant galaxies of Clarke’s imagination. His novelization of 2001: A Space Odyssey for me was far more memorable than Stanley Kubrik’s more celebrated film. And his classic Rendezvous with Rama is still one of the only sci-fi books I can remember from my childhood, which says something considering that my main reading focus was in that genre. I recently reread the book as an adult, and while it didn’t capture my imagination like it had in my early years, Clarke’s writing was as crisp and evocative as always.
I must confess that outside of the two works above, I am mainly unfamiliar with much of Clarke’s prolific output. However, that doesn’t tarnish the memory of two books that remain fond memories of a more innocent time in my life. For a man who always looked to the stars, Arthur C. Clarke can now reach out and touch them.