Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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December 16, 1917 - March 19, 2008

90 1/4 Orbits

I met Sir Arthur in 1983 at his home in Sri Lanka. My mission was  to help install some satellite antennas at the University of Moratuwa, The Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies and at Sir Arthurs home. I also carried on my lap a piece of art I had made for him in New York.

I took a  photo of him holding the original article from 1945 which was a road map to the future built on trails his imagination blazed for others to pioneer. The Geosynchronous Satellite Orbital belt was named the Clarke Orbital Belt in his honor. During the years he introduced me to 3D Random Dot Stereograms (he faxed me one) and Chaos theory (he said I was now lost forever). He told me  the music I compose reminded him of Dave Brubeck. He was generous enough to put me in a book (How The World Was One). He wrote '2001 A Space Odyssey' in the Chelsea Hotel in NYC. He kept chocolate in a safe and his passport on the desk.

He had the unique ability to distill technology and conjure tales which reveal the consequences of a carbon based bi-ped's race towards his wildly uncertain future. Whose destiny may very well  bring him brain to brain with alien life. The existence of which he pondered while secretly evolving to meet. And when that day comes then most of all he'll need...his luck. Or some chocolate.

As a side note, through contacts that I have it almost came to pass that Sir Arthur was to drop the ball in Times Square for 2001. Never mind why it didn't happen other than to say, rack another one up for Mohammad Ali. 

I received a letter from him the week after he passed. He concluded with a poem by another Englishman who spent his life in the east. Rudyard Kipling.

If I have given you delight, by aught that I have done.

Let me lie quiet in the night which shall be yours anon;

And for the little, little span the dead are borne in mind,

Seek not to question other than, the books I leave behind.


Thank you Sir Arthur, for your friendship, your time and the books you leave behind.

Your Carbon Based Bi-Ped Friend,

John J. Zelenka, New York 2008