Happy Birthday Sir Arthur C. Clark!

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Sir Arthur C. Clarke
Photo by Anuradha Ratnaweera

The knighted science fiction author turns 90 years old today.

His book 2001: A Space Odyssey was made into a very trippy, far-out and visually stunning film, but also one that left out so many of the important plot elements that made Clarke’s novel so great. All that flashy, psychedelic stuff happening at the film’s end? That was the astronaut becoming ambassador to the human race, existing at all stages of a human lifetime at once.

2010: Odyssey Two was made into a straightforward science fiction film, with great special effects, but again failed to explain what was going on in the film’s final moments, when Jupiter gets turned into a star in order to thaw out Europa and promote the evolution of life there. We know this, because, in a crucial scene from the novel that gets left out of the movie, an alien life form emerges from the ice of Europa to swallow a Japanese spacecraft that has landed there, attracted by its lights, leaving a sole astronaut to describe what he has witnessed.

2061 and 3001 were also great books, hard SF, and very thought provoking. While I’ve read countless short stories by Clarke, the only other novel I’ve read was Childhood’s End, about an evolutionary leap in the human race and a great, quick read.

Clarke is also an official knight, which isn’t as cool as being a ninja, but pretty dang-gone cool nonetheless.

Happy Birthday and thanks for the futurist inspirations Sir Clarke!!!