[19 March 2008]
On the passing of Arthur C. Clarke, Alan Stern, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate tells Space.com:
For my generation, the children of Apollo, Clarke’s writings were hugely and deeply inspirational. He was not just a technically competent writer of science fiction, science fact and futurism, but he was incredibly optimistic. I have had many emails in the last 18 hours, from friends of mine, from childhood, graduate school, adulthood. It’s amazing to me how many say the same thing: ‘I wouldn’t be in this line of work if it weren’t for Arthur Clarke.’ People across the world, especially the backbone of American aerospace exploration and space science, were inspired by Clarke’s writings at one stage or another in their youth.
The same article features similar outpourings of respect and gratitude from science-fiction authors and other technologists. For a more standard obituary, the Washington Post is your best resource.
Jeff Greenwald talks about his memories of Clarke at Wired, and at Forbes, David M. Ewatt links to Clarke’s last published story, which “contains chilling warnings about emerging technology, electronic terrorism, and looming threats to life as we know it.”