Communion Of Dreams


I have been *really* enjoying the audio version of Communion of Dreams, which I discussed in my last post. And I think you will too, once we work out some additional logistical things on the hosting end (the files are very large, relative to the .pdf files of the text, and necessitate increasing my bandwidth allotment significantly.) With a little luck, we should have that ready to go by this weekend. My friend’s interpretation of the characters is quite interesting – some of them have caught me a bit by surprise, though I cannot object in the slightest to his artistic decisions. And he is very good, really getting into the pacing and mood of the story the further he goes.

In fact, listening to the book, and the need to catch up on book conservation work from the long break last week through this weekend, is responsible for my not posting anything yesterday. And that’s OK, since I would have been tempted to do what just about every other SF blogger on the planet seems to have done: write a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Beyond being one of the best Science Fiction writers of the 20th century, Sir Arthur had an impact on the larger society, changing not only how we see space, but how we actually use it. It is completely understandable that everyone wants to write about him, and how his writing changed their lives (and writing). I did so in some discussion forums. And I have written about him here, and noted on my CoD site just what his influence has been on me as a writer.

But after I heard of his death all I really wanted to do was sit back and enjoy his vast vision. Tuesday night I popped open a beer, popped 2001 into the DVD player, and paid homage to the narrator of Tales from the White Hart.

Then yesterday, as I worked in my bindery, listening to my own story of humanity’s first encounter with an alien artifact, I thought about Clarke. A lot. And in thinking of him, and all that he accomplished, there was a danger, a tendency: to despair, to feel unworthy, to judge my own writing by his measure. Because I fall short, no matter how you look at it.

But that’s not what it’s all about. We all fall short of the best, at least in some areas. That does not negate the good work we do. Even Arthur C. Clarke had his failings. That does not change the fact that the world now is a poorer place for his absence.

Farewell, my old friend and mentor, though we never met.

Jim Downey

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While I was looking for something suitable by Clarke to put into my .sig file earlier this week, I came across this quote from a speech he gave before the US Congress in 1975:

“I’m sure we would not have had men on the Moon if it had not been for Wells and Verne and the people who write about this and made people think about it. I’m rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books.”

I am sure there are scientists who say the same thing – not to mention writers and so many others. He’s truly one of the people that has touched layers of society, and all over the world.

Comment by ML

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