Friday, December 31, 2004

Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!

Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! Collected Essays 1934-1998 (St. Martin's Press, 1999) by Arthur C. Clarke.

If you're going to own only one book of Clarke's non-fiction, this is definately the one to look for. Heck, it's worth it for Extraterrestrial Relays alone, the place where Clarke came up with the idea for satellites that "hover" over one place on the Earth...and have spawned a multi-billion industry of satellites for communications, televsision and other uses. Essays on books (The Conquest of Space), essays on people (Dunsany, Lord of Fantasy), autobiographical essays (You're on the Glide Path, I Think), math, science, society. A great reference book, a great book for inspiration. It's a dangerous book, though. Read about fractals and you may be tempted to start exploring them buy a few a few programs...and Clarke has sent you off on another trip!

Counts as 59 essays for the 2004 Short Story Project.

Contents: Introduction: Part 1: The 1930s and 1940s: Rockets and Radar; Dunsany, Lord of Fantasy; Rockets; The Coming Age of Rocket Power; Extraterrestrial Relays; The Moon and Mr. Farnsworth; The Challenge of the Spaceship; First Men in the Moon; The Problem of Dr. Campbell; The Lackeys of Wall Street; Voyages to the Moon; You're on the Glide Path, I Think; Morphological Astronomy; The Conquest of Space; Introduction: Part 2: The 1950s: Beneath the Seas of Ceylon; The Effect of Interplanetary Flight; Space Travel in Fact and Fiction; Review: Destination Moon; Interplanetary Flight; The Exploration of Space; Review: When Worlds Collide; Review: Man on the Moon; Flying Saucers; Review: Flying Saucers Have Landed; Undersea Holiday; The Exploration of the Moon; Eclipse; Astronautical Fallacies; The Star of Bethlehem; Capricorn to Cancer; Keeping House in Colombo; The Reefcombers' Derby; Rest Houses, Catamarans, and Sharks; The First Wreck; A Clear Run to the South Pole; The Isle of Taprobane; The Great Reef; Winding Up; Introduction: Part 3: The 1960s: Kubrick and Cape Kennedy; Failures of Nerve and Imagination; We'll Never Conquer Space; Rocket to the Renaissance; The Obsolescence of Man; Space and the Spirit of Man; The Uses of the Moon; The Playing Fields of Space; Kalinga Prize Speech; More Than Five Senses; Son of Dr. Strangelove; Possible, That's All!; The Mind of the Machine; God and Einstein; Introduction: Part 4: The 1970s: Tomorrow's Worlds; Satellites and Saris; Mars and the Mind of Man; The Sea of Sinbad; Willy and Chesley; The Snows of Olympus; Writing to Sell; Introduction: Part 5: The 1980s: Stay of Execution; The Steam-Powered Word Processor; Afterword: "Maelstrom II"; Mother Nature Got There First; Message to Comsat, February 18, 1988; Graduation Address: International Space University; Back to 2001; Coauthors and Other Nuisances; The Power of Compression; Life in the Fax Lane; Credo; The Colors of Infinity: Exploring the Fractal Universe; Close Encounter with Cosmonauts; The Century Syndrome; Who's Afraid of Leonard Woolf?; My Four Feet on the Ground; Introduction: Part 6: The 1990s: Countdown to 2000; Macroni Symposium; Introduction to Charlie Pellegrino's Unearthing Atlantis; Tribute to Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988); Satyajit and Stanley; Aspects of Science Fiction; Save the Giant Squid!; A Choice of Futures; Gene Roddenberry; Introduction to Jack Williamson's Beachhead; Scenario for a Civilized Planet; NASA Sutra: Eros in Orbit; Minehead Made Me; Good-bye, Isaac; Encyclical; Letter from Sri Lanka; Message to Mars; Preface: The War of the Worlds; Preface: The First Men in the Moon; The Joy of Maths; Tribute to Robert Bloch; Spaceguard; Foreword: Encyclopedia of Frauds by James Randi; Bucky; Homage to Frank Paul; Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!; The Birth of HAL; The Coming Cyberclysm; Tribute to David Lasser; Toilets of the Gods; When Will the Real Space Age Begin?; Review: Imagined Worlds by Freeman Dyson; Eyes on the Universe; Walter Alvarez and Gerrit L. Verschuur; The Gay Warlords; More Last Words on UFOs; Carl Sagan; Introduction: Part 7: Postscript: 2000 and Beyond; For Cherene, Tamara, and Melinda; Science and Society; Is There Life After Television?; The Twenty-First Century: A (Very) Brief History.

Re-read in 2008!

Re-read in 2010! Seemed the appropriate thing to do, given the year.

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