Also Sprach Zarathustra

One of my favorite authors has died.

Arthur C. Clarke passed away Wednesday in Sri Lanka at the age of 90. He created the concept of satellites and Geosynchronous orbits. He won an Oscar, Nebula and Hugo.

My favorite Clarke book is 3001: The Final Odyssey and I’m inspired to pull it off the shelf and crack it open. Of course, I can’t imagine anyone reading this hasn’t seen 2001: A Space Odyssey. I might have to go and buy the two-disc version of the movie on DVD now. It never was my favorite movie of all time, but the older I get the more I appreciate the amazing vision of both Clarke and Kubrick.

The last time I saw the movie, I was at the Roger Ebert Overlooked Film Festival being held at the historic Virginia Theater in downtown Champaign. The overlooked part was seeing a 50 mm print which was monstrous, visually stunning and inspiring. You know the moment in the movie when Hal says, “I became operational at the H.A.L. lab in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January, 1992.” Well, in Champaign-Urbana that small little comment drew tremendous cheers.

While the movie was a trip, the best part of the evening was listening to Arthur C. Clarke, by phone, speaking to Roger and the crowd. He was entertaining, thoughtful and just the fact that he was willing to talk with us, several time zones and half a world away, blew me mind.

One of my favorite quotes from Clarke goes like this, “Perhaps it is better to un-sane and happy, than sane and un-happy. But is is best of all to be sane and happy.”

Thinking about Clarke and his works makes me very happy.

UPDATE: Arthur Clarke’s video goodbye.