RIP: Sir Arthur C Clark

I caught the news last night on my cell phone - British author Sir Arthur C. Clark died yesterday at the age of 90.

Honestly, I'm upset. Clarke has long been a favorite author of mine, ever since I read his brilliant short novel 2001, and numerous short stories and novels that he's penned over the years. 2001 is by far one of my favorite science fiction movies of all time, and the book is just as good. Of all his short stories, I don't think that I can pick out a favorite - there are so many good ones.

This is a huge blow to the Science Fiction community - Clark has long been regarded as one of the biggest figures in the genre, with his expertise and sheer brilliance when it came to what the future might hold. Clark was one of the giants, right up there, if not surpassing Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. There will never, ever be anybody else like him, or one with his stature.

In addition to his Science Fiction, I've come across Clark a number of times when I've been reading about the development of the space program, to various capabilities in the development of Rockets and a proponent of space travel. So far as I know, he's been active in space exploration and in science fiction.

May the stars never go out for him.

RIP Gary Gygax

Yesterday, the co-creator of the fantasy roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax, died at his home after lengthly illness. Dunegons and Dragons is possibly one of the most important and relevant aspects of fantasy geekdom. The game, invented in 1974, has become an enduring and massive cultural phenomenon, which has taught like minded people imagination and creativity. I first started playing at Camp, with a couple of friends - we were known as the geek squad - nearly eight years ago. I look back on those gaming sessions with fondness, and look forwards to picking it up again sometime in the future. D&D seems to be an almost universal bonder for a huge number of geeks out there. Most geeks have dabbled in it at some point, and it's a source of many hours of entertainment. In a world where that term increasingly means whatever is displayed on a television screen, it's a shot of imagination. The game has gotten a bad rep from a number of groups, who've insisted that the game leads to violence, satanism and the whole nine yards. I've always stressed, in camp classes devoted to D&D and other fantasy games, that these games teach creativity, adventure and imagination. Gary will be missed by fans of the game all over the world - he apparently played the game regularly with fans until January, and was always excited to learn when the game helped somebody or made an impact in their life. In the wise words of Penny Arcade this morning, he'll be rolling in his grave.

Paul Tibbets

I just heard the news via the AP - Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the B-29 Enola Gay, died earlier today at the age of 92. The Enola Gay was the plane that dropped the first atomic warhead on the city of Hiroshima, Japan on August 8th, 1945. An estimated 70,000 to 100,000 people died in the initial blast.

I first read his book that he wrote - I'm blanking on the title at the moment, but it was an interesting insight to the training and the dropping of the bombs. Interestingly, Tibbets said that under the same circumstances, he would do it again. Also interestingly, he has requested no service or head stone for his body.