About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

Once upon a a time there were the Big Three: Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein. Andrew Wheeler, a much better blogger than I, offered some reflections on a look back in the NY Times Book Review at a week that saw two of them on the list. And now there are none. Those halcyon days of my youth when science fiction writers appeared on the list have been replaced by days in which fantasy writers appear. The sf writers that do, like William Gibson, often get that way with the help of a critical establishment that claims they no longer write sf, which was a very hard thing to do with the Big Three.

Of the three, Clarke was the one I knew the least. I read lots of Asimov; the Foundation Trilogy was one of my first purchasers as a new member of the SF Book Club some 28 years ago. I read lots of Heinlein. Rather less, much less even, of Arthur C. Clarke. But his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey leaves me enough in his debt all by itself, and those 2001 royalties helped pay for my salary at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency when I was but a wee lad of a newbie to the field.

And then there were none...


Laurel Amberdine said...

Rendezvous With Rama showed me that you can have a great novel with very little plot and no interesting characters if the setting is neat enough!

Okay, maybe that wasn't the best lesson to take away from it... but man, it was so incredibly cool.

The Brillig Blogger said...

If a writer, it's a great lesson to take if you can figure out what strengths compensate for the weaknesses, and realize how your own strengths can compensate for your own weaknesses. It's an awful lesson if you can't.

Peat said...

Isaac Asimov... he's the guy that wrote that Will Smith movie about robots, right? It was okay, I guess.