Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

Yes, I know it's a week since his death, but given my preoccupation with Sci-Fi lately, it's probably bizarre I haven't mentioned it before now. Sadly a giant of Sci-Fi, Arthur C. Clarke died on the 19th of March aged 90.
The thing is I have never read an Arthur C. Clarke novel. I have read many of his short stories (obviously works like 'The Star', 'The Nine Billion Names of God', etc.), but I can't remember reading a novel. Then of course there was '2001: A Space Odyssey', but I think more of Kubrick when it comes to that movie. (My understanding is that Clarke explains much in the novel left mysterious in the film, and that's probably why the movie does me.) What I loved as a child was 'Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World'. THAT captivated me. I never missed it, with its Fortean elements (was that an Arabic battery from the Middle Ages?), monsters (ah, that Bigfoot home movie; the giant monkey sitting on the crate; the aerial shot of the giant snake; that weirdo with the monstrous wig going into the jungle in search of dinosaurs) and strange powers (apparently Clarke distanced himself from Geller later, but still had an interest in psychic powers). But as to the novels, well, the fact is I always associated him with hard Sci-Fi, and I prefer soft Sci-Fi. It's the people and the questions, not the technology, that give me the greatest enjoyment. The more I read about Clarke now though the more I realise I may have misjudged him. Certainly 'Childhood's End' and 'Rendevous with Rama' (to be made into a movie by David Fincher, I hear) seem well worthy of investigation. I remember seeing a bizarre installation in some gallery in Australia (or was it the Netherlands) where the entire sculpture was covered in the text of 'Rendezvous with Rama'. Okay, I give in. I promise to read some of his novels.
Yes, he's up the pantheon of Sci-Fi writers, I mean. As to whether he's up there there is a matter of personal belief. Now if only we could come up with a machine to test for that kind of thing once and for all.

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