News just came across my wire that sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke passed away today. And when I say that he died today, I actually mean tomorrow because as crazy as it sounds, one of the finest minds in science fiction was living in Sri Lanka. So it's morning there.
Clarke wasn't just a writer either. He made contributions to the scientific community that can't truly be quantified in numbers. He was a visionary thinker who pushed boundaries and laid the groundwork for the furtherance of scientific thought.
Ars Technica has a excellent write-up about many of the the accomplishments credited to Clarke. Writer Ben Kuchera concludes with this insight:
One of the striking themes of Clarke's work was the moment where we made contact with another intelligence, and what it might do to us. This lead to powerful scenes, but the thought behind it was almost plaintive. Technology is getting more powerful, and yet we're still our normal, violent and hateful messes. Clarke seemed sometimes to be looking into the stars and wishing for help. What he may not have realized is that with his fierce intelligence and limitless imagination he was helping us, and in the work he left behind he will continue to help us. He knew that technology can make the world better, and that a rational mind was no less beautiful than any other.
It's a fine testament to a great man. Most casual fans will be familiar with the Space Odyssey series, I would heartily recommend Childhood's End as one of the best sci-fi novels I've ever read.