The Dead Robots' Society

Writers on Writing


Graham wrote:

From BBC News:

British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died in Sri Lanka at the age of 90…

Sir Arthur’s vivid – and detailed – descriptions of space shuttles, super-computers and rapid communications systems were enjoyed by millions of readers around the world.

He was the author of more than 100 fiction and non-fiction books, and his writings are credited by many observers with giving science fiction – a genre often accused of veering towards the fantastical – a human and practical face.

I think there are few writers that I could name who have been more influential on my own worldview than Arthur C. Clarke. Although his writing has never really influenced mine – I tend to write in a different strand of his genre if at all – it did instil into me some basic rigours of the rule of writing: Be truthful, within your own universe; once you’ve set the rules for yourself, don’t break them and, most importantly of all, Science Fiction is about the people, not the science. The science is incidental.

I remember a line from his book of essays, Greetings, Carbon-based Bipeds!, specifically from his epitaph to Isaac Asimov. It went something like this:

I once introduced Isaac to a dinner by saying “Ladies and gentlemen, there is only one Isaac Asimov.” Well now there is no Isaac Asimov and the world is a poorer place for it.

I think that you could pretty much use his own words to describe how a lot of science fiction readers and writers feel right now.

And so one of the greats of our age passes into history. But, as always, his legacy remains.

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