Hal Cries by Kris StraubFans of great science fiction lost a giant yesterday (03/18/08) when Arthur C. Clarke, best known for the novel and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, died at 90 years of age. I’ve been a huge fan of his short stories and novels since I was a kid, my favorites being the 2001 and Rama series of novels and I recommend them wholeheartedly. I never did get around to reading the last of the 2001 series, 3001: The Final Odyssey, or the final Rama book, Rama Revealed, but they’ve both been moved up the reading list now.

It’s amazing just how many movies, television shows and videogames owe a debt to Mr. Clarke’s works. I see his influence all the time, from the unknown, alien crafts in the Star Trek movies (especially The Motion Picture and The Voyage Home) to the technomages and energy beings of Babylon 5, to (most recently) the advanced technologies left for younger races by elder, alien species in Mass Effect on the XBOX 360, so many countless themes and grand ideas in today’s science fiction were inspired by his works.

He was a pretty amazing guy, even apart from his literary works, with his knowledge as a physicist and mathematician used to theorize how satellite technology could be instrumental in global communications (see Clarke Belt) and his work helping gorillas in Sri Lanka, where he lived since 1956.

Just an incredible guy with an incredible life. I’m going to go dig out my ACC hardcovers and get to reading! If you haven’t read any of his novels yet, you should get thee to a bookstore immediately – I suggest starting with Rendezvous With Rama or Childhood’s End and be amazed.

The “crying HAL” image above was done by Kris Straub of Starslip Crisis fame. I thought it was pretty eloquent.