Tuesday, March 18, 2008


It's a bad week when talent you respect dies. It's worse when it is someone with whom you've had personal contact.

Dave Stevens, the creator of The Rocketeer, made famous in a film from Disney back around 1990, and an old friend of my husband passed away from a form of leukemia at the age of 52 last week. Dave was a nice, soft-spoken guy who created beautiful artwork.

Today it is Sir Arthur C. Clarke, one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. He was 90 and not in good health, but he seemed immortal. I remember watching Sir Arthur on television with Walter Cronkite during the height of our space program in the 1960s. He would also appear on other television programs talking about science. He conceptualized geostationary satellite communication back in the 1940s. His work, particularly his short stories "The Star" and "The Nine Billion Names of God" have stuck with me since I started to read him when I was in college. Most people will point to 2001: A Space Odyssey as the work they most associate with Clarke. I prefer the short story "The Sentinel" to the novelization of 2001 which represented the cinematic expansion of the shorter piece. His novel "Childhood's End," again an expansion of a short fiction piece entitled, as I recall, "The Guardian," is one of those properties which has been in development hell in Hollywood for decades.

One evening in April of 2001, Sir Arthur called me. I'll write about it as soon as I can do it without crying. At the moment, I feel the need to grieve.

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