Science, Fiction, and points in between
§ Free Inquiry Spring 1999
A rare interview with Arthur C. Clarke.
By the way, I was - in a strange way - involved in a cloning project. There was a project afoot to send me into outer space along with a lot of other people. Not the whole me, though - just a hair from my head, while I still had some. It was quite a serious project by a company that launched a lot of spacecraft. The idea was that maybe in a hundred million years or so, an advanced civilization would find this little space capsule containing my hair, an Arthur C. Clarke would be cloned from it, and I would thus pop up in another galaxy in the distant future. Interesting thought.
§ Time April 19th
Arthur C. Clarke turns up here too, in one of two letters responding to Bruce Sterling's essay on science fiction in the March 29th issue, noted here. Both take issue with issue with Sterling's praise of J.G. Ballard. Clarke writes ''I must take exception to Sterling's incredible statement that 'Ballard was the first SF writer to realize that there was something basically lunatic about space travel.' This is a lunatic statement... Space exploration is merely a continuation of our biological imperative.'' Also in the issue: an essay by Robert Wright about Susan Blackmore's new book The Meme Machine, and an article about the metaphysics of The Matrix.
§ Washington Post Book World May 23rd
Michael Dirda considers For the Love of Books edited by Ronald B. Schwartz (Grosset/Putnam), a collection of essays by writers about their favorite books. At the end he reviews the tally of works most frequently cited -- The Bible, Melville, Joyce, Proust, etc.
''Nothing too surprising there, I suppose. Still, shouldn't each of us resolve to read at least one such masterpiece this summer? Come July or August we might emulate the young Mark Strand who carried Wallace Stevens's Collected Poems "wherever he went, reading it with the avidity that religious people reserve for the Bible." Personally, though, I have my
eye on Bomba, the Jungle Boy at the Giant Cataract. Either that or
Spengler's Decline of the West. It's hard to choose.''
§ New York Times Magazine May 23rd
This article about Ralph Ellison's just-published unfinished novel Juneteenth is by SF writer Gregory Feeley.
(posted Tue 25 May 1999)