I felt very sad to learn of the death of Arthur C. Clarke on 19 March. Like many people, I grew up with his books. I was born in 1952, the year that he wrote .http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif As a tribute, here are some of the other books that I grew up with, and shaped my mind. Some of these books are out of print, so even though I read them when I was a child, it was so long ago and my brain is leaky!
1. Childhood's End - Written in 1953, it really blew my mind. I think I was in junior high when I read it. I remember putting it down after humanity has ascended to a pure-mind, non-physical realm in the Overmind, and thought, "Is this where it's all going?" Clarke himself thought that this book was one of his best.
2. Against the Fall of Night was originally a novella about Earth one billion years in the future, when humans are in their twilight. Clarke expanded it, and later rewrote it.
3. The City and the Stars was a rewrite of Against the Fall of the Night. Both books explore the drives and the fears that make us human, as Alvin - a unique - fights against the limits that the elders say exist.
4. 2001, A Space Odyssey is probably Clarke's best known work because of Stanley Kubrick's film; Clarke had worked on the film, which was actually based on some of Clarke's earlier short stories. 2001 itself was not published until after the film came out. The book and film explore so many areas - the nature of exploration itself, evolution, the relationship of man's creation - the AI Hal - with man himself. Every few years, I watch the film again and it still makes me shiver.
5. Rendezvous with Rama is a believable scenario, which we all fear and hope for. An alien space probe travels through the solar system, and a group of humans travel to it to probe its mysteries.
6. takes place in the past and the 'present' Sri Lanka. In this book, Clarke proposes how a space elevator could work.
7. 2010: Odyssey Two is the first sequel to 2001, however, it doesn't have the same mystery of the original.
8. The Light of Other Days was a collaboration between Clarke and Steven Baxter, an engineer turned science ficiton writer. This book explores a wormhole technology, the technology of which gets out of control. While it fist gets used for research of the past, it ends up getting used to find out secrets. There is no such thing as privacy, where people can observe others, or themselves be observed, without knowing.
9. Expedition to Earth I know I read it but I can't remember any of the stories!
10. The Nine Billion Names of God is a book of short stories, the lead story being another mind-blower - a religious group hires a computer firm to put together all the possible names of God.
11. A Fall of Moondust about people who get trapped on a colonized moon after an earthquake. I remember reading this when I was a kid but not much else.
12. Imperial Earth. This book, written in 1975, is one of the first science fiction books that not only has a main character who is black, but also bisexual. It also explores the issue of cloning, which was newly discovered at that time.
13. Earthlight is another oldy, about the colonization of the moon, where tension between the earth controlled moon and the needs of the colonists is the center of the book.
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