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Noted science fiction author Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died. When I started reading sci-fi in fifth and sixth grade, it was all Clarke, Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein.

Clarke lived a good portion of his adult life in Sri Lanka, and continued writing and encouraging other science-fiction writers until his death. He seems to have hoped at least somewhat seriously for the possibilities of extra-terrestrial life such as those described in his stories and books:

Clarke did not rule out the prospect of resurrection – cloning by highly advanced aliens being, predictably enough, his favoured method.

In the late 1990s he donated a few of his remaining strands of hair to be launched into space as part of the AERO Astro Corporation’s “Encounter Project” which, after a boost from Jupiter, was intended to travel deep into the Solar System.

Clarke hoped that, “maybe a million years from now, some super-civilisation will capture this primitive artefact from the past. Recreating its biological contents might be an amusing exercise for their equivalent of an infants’ class.”

To which we respond with the words of Don Henley:

To this garden we were given
And always took for granted
It’s like my daddy told me, “You just bloom where you’re planted.”
Now you long to be delivered
From this world of pain and strife
That’s a sorry substitution for a spiritual life

They’re not here, they’re not coming…

But the stories were entertaining and intriguing, all the same. C.S. Lewis explained the appeal long before Clarke began writing them (thanks to Jeffrey Overstreet for the link.)

Santiago Ramos comments further on Clarke’s “faith.”

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