I’m saddened by the recent passage of the science and science fiction (SF) writer Arthur C. Clark. I blundered into the SF works of Clark, Asimov, and a few others as a high school sophomore. Freshly relocated from the midwest in 1971, I fell into a social group that was largely scientifically and technically oriented. We shunned hippies, pot, and cigarettes in favor of electronics, SF, chess, and physics.  We were juvenile scientists and engineers.

I have always enjoyed the narrative style of Clark. He was able to write thought provoking SF with dialog that was comfortable yet focused. He could manage plot development with technical subjects without collapse into a pedantic or evangelical tone.

What I am left with from my years of reading SF is a particular world view.  My vision of the future is greatly shaped by numerous SF stories written over the last 75 years. It is an egalitarian world where people have reasoned their way around nuclear self-immolation. A world where the quest for knowledge is prized and where the extinguishment of pain and suffering is sought by all. Greed has been abandoned as a way of life.  People spend the bulk of their lives seeking pleasure and understanding, not just the next meal.

But, it’s just science fiction.

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