Then Arthur C Clarke, aged 90, finally gives up his struggle with gravity and decay and leaves the planet by the conventional route. I read everything of his I could lay my hands on when I was a teenager. Like P G Wodehouse, Douglas Adams, and (to a lesser extent because I read him later in life) Terry Pratchett, his ghostly presence shapes what I do and how I think about how writing should be.
If not from him, where else did I get this:
- Studied physics at King's College London and then became a writer
- Was passionate about good, hard, accurate science and maths
- Was fundamentally optimistic about human beings and the future and the galaxy
- Saw technology as a navigable route to magic and wonder and aspiration
Clarke has left instructions for a strictly secular funeral. As a younger man he had a correspondence with CS Lewis which resulted eventually in a meeting in a pub. Each brought along a companion (Lewis brought J R R Tolkien). Lewis was the better theologian; Clarke the better scientist. Each adorned the worlds of fiction and popular apologetic. Each is so close to my heart. I am so privileged and enriched to have been able to drink deeply of them.