When I was about 8, I read in a newspaper that one of my favourite short stories, "The Sentinel", by Arthur C. Clarke, was to be made into a movie by some film maker I never heard of. I had to wait 5 years to see 2001, A Space Odyssey. The last of the golden age science fiction writers, who thought that anything was possible, has died.
I was lucky enough to see 2001 once in the full original Cinerama format. It was the nearest thing to a transcendental religious experience I've ever had.
Clarke may not have been the greatest writer of dialogue or character but he created worlds of the near future with a vividness and clarity that grabbed my imagination in a way that few other have equalled.
It is a sad loss.
I saw the movie in 1968 at the Cinerama theater in Los Angeles and I still remember how stunned my friends and I were by the experience. While it may seem dated and ho-hum now, at the time it was fresh, sometimes beautiful, thought provoking and just a little confusing.
Clark also wrote one of my favorite science fiction books, "Rendevous with Rama".
He was one of the great visionaries. The Fountains of Paradise is still one of my favourite novels.
But there's at least one Golden Age writer still kicking about... Ray Bradbury is alive.
I happened across The City And The Stars in a used book store last year. I had read the book when I was about fifteen, but I didn't have any specific impression of it. Rereading it last year, I was stunned at what a moving work it was.
I've been a big fan of Clarke ever since I read Rendezvous with Rama when I was about ten years old. His later work (the stuff with Gentry Lee comes to mind) was disappointing, but his work during his prime stands as some of the greatest achievements in Science Fiction.
I share your perspective, John. I too "met" Arthur Charles Clarke when I hadn't run out of fingers to count my age. I came to regard him, as well as certain other authors and scientists as friends. Because they either wrote lucid accounts of the latest discoveries or they were there at their first conception. Clarke did both.
I will miss him not only for his memories sake, but for the things he didn't live to say. Now it is up to us.
I was one of the few in my crowd who read the book 2001 before seeing the movie. Consequently, I was the one who got to explain WTH was going on to all my friends.
But I was a Clarke addict from then on, until at least my 20s.