Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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By now everyone should have heard that Arthur C. Clarke passed away a couple of weeks ago. Please join me in a toast to his memory and his accomplishments. He was a great writer, scientist, and an amazing mind. Not only did he give us scores of wonderful books, but also his research paper on geosynchronous satellites eventually lead to the establishment of world-wide satellite communications networks. Thank you, Arthur, for everything. You will be missed.

I have many fond memories of Arthur's novels. "Childhood's End" and "Against the Fall of Night" were among the earliest paperbacks that I ever bought during my Elementary School years. By the time I was in High School and in College, I regularly searched the libraries and bookstores for more of his books. Clarke has always been among my top ten favorite writers. While I am saddened by his passing, I am grateful for his 90 years among us. Rest assured, he has been a great influence upon several generations of writers. His work will live on, influencing many more people, for years to come. He set the bar rather high for those of us who follow his path. But that is how it should be - Great writers should always challenge the minds of their readers. Arthur wrote things that made me think. Sometimes in new ways, often insightful ways, but always I was inspired to examine what I thought I knew in a way that enabled me to grow as a person. Every book had something that provoked me to wonderment. There will be one more new book - one he was co-writing with Fred Pohl. It is titled "The Last Theorem" and will be published later this year. I look forward to adding this last Clarke novel to my collection.

If you want biographical details, or a bibliography of Clarke's work, there are scores of web pages that can provide them. A quick Google search will no doubt give you thousands of links to check out. For myself, I choose to celebrate his life and work by rereading my favorites of his books, re-watching the movies "2001" and "2010" and his "Mysterious World" / "Mysterious Universe" TV series.

It is interesting to note that astronomers started detecting an increase of gamma ray bursts throughout the universe right after news of his death became public. It's as if he was being welcomed into the afterlife by an enormous party featuring exploding stars as fireworks! So let us all join in celebration of his life and his works. Remember Arthur C. Clarke in the way that you see fit. A great man has passed, but we can be thankful that he was ours for almost a century. We should be happy that we had him among us, for as long as we did.

Now only Ray Bradbury remains on my list of favorite Science Fiction writers from my childhood... Sometimes it really hurts to be a grown-up. I've had to write far too many of these obituary editorials over the last few years. None of them are easy, and none of them will ever be fun to write. But they are necessary. Sometimes one needs to find a good way to say goodbye to someone. This is my way. You, the Reader, must find a way that works for you.

Now I must return you to your regularly scheduled reading.