March 26, 2001

Arthur C. Clarke, Tom Hanks, and Me

I was watching the Oscars last night and I had this moment where I felt in connection with two other people … not a really strange thing actually when you know the circumstances but still the moment itself felt good :-) But where should I start? Well, it all began when Tom Hanks came to announce an award and he said that Dr. Arthur C. Clarke will actually be presenting it from Sri Lanka – my homeland. I then suddenly realized that separated by distance and time (since Sri Lanka is 10 or 11 hours ahead of EST and California is 3 hours behind <g>) I was connected to these two people (Tom Hanks and Dr. Arthur C. Clarke) by a set of circumstances which were not exactly strange but hmm … curious maybe? :-)

Some years back, when I was still in Sri Lanka, I had done a series of articles on science fiction and the authors that I considered to be some of the most influential in the field. I have always thought of Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov as the triumvirate that was at the pinnacle of science fiction writers of all time and what was more fitting than to do a personal interview with Dr. Arthur C. Clarke himself since he also happened to live in Sri Lanka? I contacted the great man and was actually able to obtain an interview with him and I did the article. When the article appeared in print, Dr. Clarke wrote to me to tell me that he had sent the article to Tom Hanks since he was in communication with him. I had forgotten all about that incident till yesterday when I was suddenly reminded of it when I was watching the Oscars. I don’t know why it affected me but it did as I felt this strange connection with two other people in the world who were oblivious of me :-) But the feeling was good and so I thought I’d put it down for later …

Of course, the incident made me kind of nostalgic since I began thinking of all the great science fiction that I had read as a kid since I basically read everything by Dr. Clarked from the time I was about 7 or 8 years old … I remembered some of his novels like "Dolphin Island" and "The Deep Range" that I hadn’t thought of in years. It also made me think of all the other great writers and I felt as if an era had passed because so many of the greats of science fiction are no more. This year another one of my favorites and one of SF’s greatest, Gordon R. Dickson, passed away … I feel so old sometimes and yet, I’m only 30+ … Am I becoming maudlin in my not so old age? :-) I guess I’ll snap out of it now … :p

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Posted by Fahim at 8:58 am   Comments (0)