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.
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