R.I.P. Science Fiction

Just a word folks on Arthur C. Clarke who passed away yesterday at the age of 90.

Arthur C. ClarkeNow I know it’s hyperbole to talk about the ‘death of Science Fiction’ or the ‘end of an era’. There are many fine SciFi writers out there, but Clarke was the last of a generation that had a gift for remarkable story telling, and the man himself was one of the best.

The Songs of Distant EarthMy example? Well it’s not 2001 or Rendezvous With Rama. It’s The Songs of Distant Earth, a book written toward the end of Clarke’s career that surrounds humanity’s forced exodus from our planet. Without bending the laws of physics, a last set of generation ships leave earth heading for the systems where ships before them went to set up colonies. The description of Earth and the people left behind in the final years, days, and hours before the planet’s destruction is one of best in the genre. Clarke’s story of the refugees finding a lost colony on their way to their new home is suffused with guilt, regret, bitterness, determination, and hope…all the qualities that make for great writing, not just great science fiction writing.

I don’t read much science fiction anymore, but I wish that the genre still had the vitality that it seemed to have when giants like Clarke were in their prime.

5 thoughts on “R.I.P. Science Fiction”

  1. Fortunately Arthur C. Clarke will live for many years yet. For anyone touched by his writing, his speculations and insights, now or in the future, he will exist in a truly tangible way.

    Like you I don’t read sci/fi now, but I always thought Clarke was his own genre anyway.

  2. It seems like all the great sci-fi writers have died as of late. Carl Sagan was my favorite though.

    Good to see you’re still blogging the interwebs, Kvatch. Stop by my site sometime if you want.

    Drew – (Weapons of Mass Distraction on Blogger)

  3. Drew… Sagan was certainly a great writer and advocate. I wasn’t a huge fan of his fiction, but his non-fiction? Outstanding!

    Cartledge… Agreed. Clarke in many ways stood above the rest.

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