On Arthur C. Clarke and Anthony Minghella

Two deaths in the past twenty-four hours to report.

Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001, Rendezvous With Rama, and a wealth of other science fiction, has died at his home in Sri Lanka. He was 90.

I read a great deal of Clarke’s science fiction when I was younger. 2010 was amazing. I liked Imperial Earth, though I’ve since learned that the science in it is pretty dire. The Fountains of Paradise was remarkable, but not really an inspiration on my own Ring Around the Sky. Oh! And The Songs of Distant Earth. And his short stories! “The Nine Billion Names of God,” and its chilling last scene. The melancholy of “The Star,” and its revelations about the Star of Bethlehem.

I’m not sure, but I think the last Clarke novel that I really enjoyed was 2061. In the 90’s I’d moved on to other things.

He was very good with ideas.

Clarke will be missed.

The director Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient and The Talented Mr. Ripley, has also died. He was 54.

I loved The English Patient. Minghella’s screenplay was the first screenplay I bought, because I wanted to see how he’d taken that very remarkable novel and translated it into a film that was just as remarkable.

I’d never read the source material for The Talented Mr. Ripley, so I came to that film fresh, and I was quite impressed with it. I seem to recall that reviews on it were mixed, but I can’t see why. I really liked it.

Raise a glass.

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