Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke - A Lifetime of Imagination

"Somewhere in me is a curiosity sensor. I want to know what's over the next hill. You know, people can live longer without food than without information. Without information, you'd go crazy"

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Who engaged in family history and genealogical research does not also feel this hunger to know? Whether the topic is genealogy or science, an active mind continually searches for a vision of things to come, as well as for what has passed. Arthur C. Clarke's decades of science and science-fiction writings have inspired events of the present day, much in the same way Leonard DaVinci imagined helicopters and a myriad of other modern inventions many years before their time.

I was saddened to learn of Arthur C. Clarke's passing earlier today. He was an icon in both the worlds of science and science-fiction, and influenced the imagination of countless individuals, including this one. Some of the happiest moments of my youth were spent reading Clarke's science fiction tales. His vision of the future influenced my preferences and decisions in ways that I will never fully be aware of: an integral part of my personal history.

"The truth, as always, will be far stranger"

I am reminded of a genealogy/family history meme making the rounds right now, where bloggers are challenged to write a compactly descriptive six word biography of someone. Clarke attempted to write a six word story as part of a Wired Magazine article but ended up writing ten words instead. ("God said, 'Cancel Program GENESIS.' The universe ceased to exist.") He refused to lower the word count [1]

You can read more about Arthur C. Clarke and his many contributions to world society in this Wikipedia article.

[1] Wired, v.14, no. 11. "Very Short Stories."

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