Childhood’s End



This is not an easy post to write.

I just clicked over to the BBC News site to see what was going on in the greater world and it turns out the most influential author in my life has died.

Arthur C. Clarke has passed on in Sri Lanka at the grand old age of 90.

It’s bizarre, I’m just now reading an old collection of his short stories that I bought ages ago in a second hand book store. It covers 1937 to 1971, was published the year after I was born and includes The Sentinel – the story that took Stanley Kubrick’s fancy and was eventually turned into 2001: A Space Odyssey.

He was the man who proposed the idea of communications satellites, believed man would walk on the moon when few others would, wrote extensively on the early years of rocketry and spaceflight and, ultimately, inspired me to read. When I was in 2nd class I took a book of his short stories (I remember the bright yellow cover vividly but not the name of the collection) and ate it up. It started a relationship with his work that lasted my childhood and mostly into my twenties.

Being honest I’ve only started reading sci-fi again recently, it’s bizarre coincidence that I’m reading him now, the day he has died. Most people probably remember him ass a telly presenter, strangely. You might remember being totally freaked out as a kid by this:

He celebrated his 90th birthday at the tail end of last year…

It adds a strange poignancy to it – I just finished a classic of his called Death And The Senator that finishes:

“He was still marvelling at the narrowness of his escape when his time ran out and Death fell softly from the Summer sky….”

5 thoughts on “Childhood’s End

  1. I have read a few tributes to him today, but this is one I have to comment on.

    He was, in my opinion, the greatest science fiction writer of all time. His visions of the future were and are uncannily accurate. I remember laughing when I read one of his books [it was back in the 60’s] where he talked of disposable computers small enough to wear on a wrist. He talked of a time when we could all talk to one another no matter where we were. I laughed then. I’m not laughing now.

    The world has lost one of its greatest visionaries.

  2. Never read any of his books but I do remember watching the TV programme and sending off my postal order for the information pack that accompanied the series. Also remember getting the Orbis partwork “The Unexplained” which was released around the same time as the series aired (I think) – probably have some copies still in the attic!

    Captain Birds Eye died today too.

  3. To be honest Rick, your post and the subsequent comments pretty much summed it up for me anyways. Who will take his place?

Comments are closed.