more "sad" for today, as Arthur C. Clarke has died.
While it's easy to remember him for Clarke as "2001: A Space Odyssey", I actually always thought it was my least favorite of his books that I'd read. It's a fantastic story, don't get me wrong, but I always felt it overrated despite the infamous movie adaptation*. Clarke wasn't just a writer, either. He was an avid scuba diver, a respected inventor, and perhaps above all, a wildly gifted futurist. His notes and theories will be in use long after all of us are gone, and that might be the best memorial for him.
In looking something up though I did get to find out that there is an adaptation of "Rendezvous with Rama" in the works (That I would rather see David Fincher complete this before the Torso adaptation says a lot. Because I really want to see that), which is great news for me and a bunch of other dorks out there.
But I digress. Because the real reason I love Arthur C. Clarke is the story "The Nine Billion Names of God". It's not the most well-crafted story, and it certainly doesn't pound you with the logistics of say "Childhood's End", but retains some of that... feeling of something greater that reading someone like Clarke makes you feel. I don't mean in some sort of extra terrestrial bullshit, but that the sky spoke to Clarke, shared with him its calculations and he knew all along what was in store for us.
Anyway, "The Nine Billion Names of God" has without question my favorite ending line(s) ever put to paper. It's a short story, no more than 3-4 pages in a small-format paperback, if I remember correctly. But I will never forget reading that story (first, because it was the shortest in the book) and absolutely freaking out. and so once again, I'm urging you to nerd yourself out and go read something.
As I said, it's not very long and you can probably print it on 2 sheets of paper. and I suggest you do. I love your eyes, see.
But please read it, because I feel like we owe him all that much.
"The Nine Billion Names of God" - Arthur C. Clarke
if you like it, check out "The Star", which you can find here.
*I don't want to sully up this any more than I already have, but you Pink Floyd synch nerds out there, i.e. stoners (and apparently there's a lot of you out there**), "Echoes" and 2001 is probably the closest anything will ever get to being an "official"/intentional one. I'm sure it's on youtube somewhere.
** jesus that is scary. Just the thought that someone out there was trying to synchronize Animals with The Good, The Bad & the Ugly is terrifying.