Saturday, April 27, 2013

Crazy Men!

Great photo of Arthur C. Clarke (L) and Ray Bradbury (R) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California, at the time of the first Mars lander landing in 1976. Their facial expressions reflect their characters, as evident in the feel of their writings; ACC is tight and focused, RB is rather loose-lipped and more visibly emotional.

From ACC we received the film and book "2001: A Space Odyssey" and from Ray Bradbury, dozens of penetrating stories about the human condition: not long before dying RB wrote that "I do not try to predict the future, I try to prevent it." Most of what these 'crazy science fiction writers' proposed decades ago have materialized, in your daily email, cellphones and other gadgets.

Of course, those gadgets are of little to no importance. What these 'crazy' writers did was expand the mind of the reader in time and space, reminding us of what astronomers, centuries before, had already known, but could not communicate; an iPhone is not needed for that and is just a distraction from the real and interesting frontiers of the universe. AAC and RB only were able to spread their words widely because of the technology of paperback books and the machinery of wide distribution. Good going AAC and RB!

Now, however, the ability to spread ideas and information widely will go largely to digital formats, e.g. Facebook, Twitter and so on. Like it or not, that is the future :)

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