Sir Arthur C. Clarke's EGOgrams
for 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003 & 2004
Friends, Earthlings, ETs -- lend me your sensory organs!
2004 was a quiet year until its last week. I am enormously relieved that my family and household escaped the tsunami that hit most coastal areas of Sri Lanka on Boxing Day. But many others were not so fortunate. For millions of Sri Lankans and a large number of foreign tourists, the day after Christmas was a living nightmare reminiscent of The Day After Tomorrow.
My heart-felt sympathy goes out to all those who lost family members or friends. Among those who directly experienced the waves were my staff based at our diving station Scuba Safari in Hikkaduwa, and my holiday homes in Kahawa and Thiranagama -- all beachfront properties in the south. We are grateful that we didn't lose anyone � but some of our survivors relate harrowing accounts of what happened. All our diving equipment and boats at Hikkaduwa were washed away.
This is indeed a disaster of unprecedented magnitude for Sri Lanka, which lacks the resources and capacity to cope with the aftermath. We are encouraging friends to contribute to the relief efforts launched by various national and international organisations. I can recommend the local charity Sarvodaya, www.sarvodaya.org.
Peace in Sri Lanka has been my number one wish for many years -- there is now renewed hope that the lashing from the seas will finally convince everyone of the complete futility of war. I am optimistic that the New Year will bring better news.
Although I am completely wheel-chaired (even walking a few paces with leg-braces and
I also realized that December marked the 50th anniversary of my own personal `discovery' of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). It was in December 1954 that I had my first glimpse of the island from out at sea. The P&O liner Himalaya, which was carrying me to the Great Barrier Reef, paused at the Colombo Harbour for half a day. I came ashore, and had a quick tour of Colombo with diver and zoologist the late Rodney Jonklaas. He infected me with his enthusiasm for the Indian Ocean and I came back a year later. The story of our first expedition is in The Reefs of Taprobane (1957), which has recently been reprinted.
In June I lost my beloved Chihuahua Pepsi; she was 12 years old, which isn't bad for a tiny dog. That void was filled by another Chihuahua Dainty, who lasted only a few months. No more dogs for me -- I have wept at too many little graves. But I demand hound-hugging rights for all the canine companions of my friends (first priority: Chihuahuas and Ridgebacks).
My adopted family - Hector, Valerie, Cherene, Tamara and Melinda Ekanayake � are keeping well. Hector has been looking after me since 1956, and with his wife Valerie has made a home for me at 25, Barnes Place. Cherene graduated this year and may return to Australia to pursue a higher degree in 2005.
Brother Fred, Chris Howse, Angie Edwards and Navam Tambayah look after my affairs in England - and, as they have done for many years, my agents David Higham Associates and Scovil, Chichak, Galen deal with rapacious editors and media executives. I have given them a general directive: No reasonable offer even considered.
I am also well supported by my staff and take this opportunity to thank them all: Executive Officer: Nalaka Gunawardene
Personal Assistant: Rohan De Silva
Secretary: Dottie Weerasooriya
Valets: Titus, Saman & Chandra
Drivers: Lalith & Anthony
Domestic Staff: Kesavan, Ramani, Jayasiri & Gunawardene
Gardener: Premasiri, Jagath
I receive a new media proposal almost every day: it's nice to be wanted, except by INTERPOL... However, now that I have reluctantly accepted my limitations of time and energy, most enquirers receive my 'Kindly Drop Dead' reply form. Herewith my current obligations, which are not really as demanding as it may appear, since almost all the work is already done - at least as far as
THE LAST THEOREM (co-authored) A TIME ODYSSEY (with Stephen Baxter) comprising: NOVA ( Ballantine Books, Gollancz) WOLFLINGS
RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA (Morgan Freeman: Revelations Entertainment) CHILDHOOD'S END (Universal/Beacon) THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE (Vikas/Phillips) A FALL OF MOONDUST (Vikas/Phillips) MAELSTROM TWO (I.L.M.) ASTOUNDING DAYS
8 January 2005
Friends, Earthlings, E.T.s - give me your eyes!
Looking back on the year which has gone wherever it is years go to, I am happy to report that it has been a fairly quiet and productive one. Best of all, peace does appear to have returned to Sri Lanka: I wish that could be said for the rest of the world, though at least it seems to be emerging from the long shadow of 9/11. (Has any day in history so imprinted itself on the racial memory? And I am still spooked by the fact that, exactly 30 years ago, I chose that very date for the catastrophe which opens RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA....)
Although I am completely wheel-chaired (even walking a few paces with leg-braces and *two* helpers tires me) otherwise I'm feeling fine - both eating and sleeping well. And dealing with the couple of hundred e-mails, faxes and cards for my 85th birthday (December 16) has exhilarated rather than exhausted me. Apparently many world newspapers listed my arrival as one of the events of 1917... (Wasn't there a war on at the time as well?)
Brother Fred, Chris Howse, Angie Edwards and Navam Tambayah look after my affairs in England, and, as they have done for many years, my agents David Higham Associates and Scovil, Chichak Galen deal with rapacious editors and media executives.
More important, all but one of my adopted family - Hector, Valerie, Cherene and Melinda Ekanayake - are here for Xmas: only Tamara is in England, and I hope to see her in the New Year. Hector has been looking after me since 1956, and with his wife Valerie has made a home for me at 25 Barnes Place.
My beloved Chihuahua Pepsi is never far from me, night or day: she is now over ten years old and spends 90% of her time sleeping - but is always ready to pick a fight with Minnie, our Yorkshire terrier. After a succession of sadly-missed Shepherds and Ridgebacks, I never imagined I would lose my heart to so tiny a canine person.
I am also well looked after by my staff and take this opportunity to thank them all:
Executive Officer: Nalaka Gunawardene
Personal Assistant: Rohan De Silva
Secretaries: Tony Thurgood & Dottie Weerasooriya
Aide: Lenin Kumarsiri
Valets: Titus, Saman & Chandra
Drivers: Lalith, Anthony & Ranjith
Domestic Staff: Kesavan, Ramani, Jayasiri & Gunawardene
Gardeners: Jagath & Premasiri
I receive a new media project almost every day: it's nice to be wanted, except by INTERPOL... However, now that I have reluctantly accepted my limitations of time and energy, most enquirers receive my 'Kindly Drop Dead' reply form.
Herewith my current obligations, which are not really as demanding as it may appear, since almost all the work is already done - at least as far as
THE TREASURE OF THE GREAT REEF (Byron Preiss)
ARTHUR C CLARKE & C.S. LEWIS: A CORRESPONDENCE
A TIME ODYSSEY (with Stephen Baxter)
TIME'S EYE )
NOVA) ( Ballantine Books)
PRELUDE TO 2001 (Roger Caras Interviews)
TOMORROW'S WORLDS: with Michael Benson (Abrahams)
SOFTLY COME THE DRAGONS: with Charlie Pellegrino
THE POWER AND THE GLORY: with Stephen Baxter
FROM THE BEGINNING - PREFACE: with Vickers-Rich, Fedonkin, Gehling
MOVIES / MEDIA
RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA (Morgan Freeman: Revelations Entertainment) CHILDHOOD'S END (Universal/Beacon) THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE (Susan Phillips) MAELSTROM TWO (I.L.M.) IBM - TELEPORT: Feb 18
1 Jan 2003
PLEASE NOTE: Sir Arthur did not issue an Egogram for 2002.
Obviously this year, of all years, deserves an Egogram but it will be a short one, as befits a year indelibly stained with the events of 11 September. (I am still spooked by the fact that, in 1973, I chose that very date in Rendezvous with Rama for the worst disaster in human history.)
I am happy to say that my adopted family is fine we were all together for Christmas, as the two older girls, Cherene and Tamara, were back from University in Australia. They are now beautiful young ladies, and Melinda is already over 12. My beloved Chihuahua, Pepsi, must be nearing that age, but is still quite active, which is more than I can say for myself as I am now completely wheel-chaired. However, I can still play a vicious game of Table Tennis, as long as I can lean on the table.
I lost one good friend during the year Roger Caras, on 19th of February. He was Stanley Kubrick's Vice President and I am also grieved that Stanley did not live to see the year he made famous.
Although I hope never to leave Sri Lanka again, I did the next best thing by appearing as a convincing 3-D Hologram at the Comdex Exhibition in Las Vegas on 13 November. That same week, 16th November, brother Fred represented me very adequately at the Arthur Clarke GALA at the Playboy Mansion, and was able to hobnob with the people who were really there, such as Patrick Stewart, Buzz Aldrin, James Cameron and Morgan Freeman who is now filming RAMA.
I've now become involved in the Internet and took part in a Web discussion with Leonardo DiCaprio, on 28th September, in aid of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Apparently there are numerous Websites devoted to me, but I have never had time to look at them.
I have managed to get away from my Colombo office several times to stay at Scuba Villa, 101 kms south of here, and to visit the Arthur Clarke Model School at Baddegama, celebrating its first anniversary.
Now that I am safely past my 84th birthday, I really have nothing to grumble about except embarrassing lapses of memory: events which happened only last week seem to have mysteriously disappeared. However, as long as I can still spell `Alzheimer', I am not too worried.
My best wishes to everyone! Arthur Clarke
28 December 2001.
THE SPACE TRILOGY (Islands, Earthlight, Sands: Gollancz)
THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE (TimeWarner, Fall 2001)
CITY & STARS/SANDS OF MARS "
MEDUSA/OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY "
GHOST FROM THE GRAND BANKS/DEEP RANGE "
LION OF COMARRE/AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT "
THE COAST OF CORAL (Byron Preiss: Jan 2002)
THE TREASURE OF THE GREAT REEF (Byron Preiss)
THE REEFS OF TAPROBANE (Byron Preiss)
THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE (eBook: Time Warner)
ASIA TODAY (BBC TV: 2002 Jan 02)
ZERO GRAVITY (video: Michael Benson)
*TIME'S EYE (novel: with Stephen Baxter)
*NOVA (Novel: with Stephen Baxter)
*ASTOUNDING DAYS (TV documentary)
*MARS BRAT (TV/Movie/NHK)
*2001: THE GREAT BOOKS (Cronkite-Ward, Discovery TV, Jan 02)
*INDIAN VILLAGE COMPUTER PROJECT (Documentary: Rossellini, Mar 03)
RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA (Morgan Freeman: Revelations Entertainment)
INTO THE COMET (video: M Perera)
ENCOUNTER PROJECT (ACC DNA launched out of Solar System: 2002+)
OPTIONS NOW AVAILABLE FOR RESALE
*CHILDHOOD'S END (movie)
*THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE (Movie)
*A FALL OF MOONDUST (TV/Movie)
*THE WORLDS OF ALEXANDER (TV/Movie)
*FOOL'S GOLD (TV/Movie)
*THE CAVES OF ICE/GOLDEN AGE (TV/Movie)
*SKIN DEEP (TV/Movie)
*THE TRIGGER (TV/Movie)
*DEPLORABLE INVENTIONS (TV/Movie)
2001 Dec 22
ARTHUR C. CLARKE EGO-GRAM covering 2000
Well, I missed Egograms 1999 and 2000--which already seem to belong to a distant century. But obviously I can't fail to send out one on this year, of all years!
When 2000 began, I had only recently returned from my visit to Johns Hopkins, where a team headed by Dr. Dan Drachman, and assisted by some charming nurses, probed and prodded me, but decided there was nothing much that could be done to affect the progress of my "Demyelinating Polyneuropathy" (fortunately described as `indolent.') During my stay at Johns Hopkins, I had the pleasure of visits from NASA Administrator, Dan Goldin and Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin, who outlined his plans for Space Tourism.
My partner Hector Ekanayake and valet Lenin Kumarasiri were with me all the time, so I was well looked after--not only at Johns Hopkins, but also in New York, where I was happy to stay in the dear old Hotel Chelsea of so many memories. There I was visited by the Sri Lankan Ambassador and Rupert Murdoch--both of whom were surprised to find out where I was staying. I also met most of my (surviving!) New York friends. But the most memorable encounter was with Woody Allen, who was filming in the Chelsea. He looked more like Woody Allen than I would have believed possible....
Running through my Diary for 2000, I am mortified to see how many meetings, filmings, interviews, etc. I have now completely forgotten. But here are the most important.
In February, my Washington friends established the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Telecommunications and Information, (CITI) for which I feel deeply honoured. And INTELSAT gave me a splendid reception in their magnificent headquarters, where I was happy to see many friends I had never expected to meet again.
In April, EUTELSAT launched a communications satellite dedicated to me, at 36* East. I should be able to see this through my telescope--when the skies are clear.
May the 4th was the fiftieth anniversary of my very first television appearance - plastered with horrible green paint in the BBC studio at Alexander Palace. I was live on camera for thirty minutes, talking about the Fourth Dimension. After that ordeal, no subsequent programme has ever caused me a moment's nervousness.
On 26 of May, the U.K. High Commissioner, Linda Duffield, formally presented me with my Knighthood, and I was able to enjoy a pleasant meeting with Prince Charles.
In August, I was presented with the four volumes of felicitations, which had been secretly collected by my friends over the previous months. This was really a most moving experience, and I must confess I couldn't recognize the person described in some of the more flattering documents. It took me weeks to acknowledge them all--I hope there were no omissions, and apologize to anyone who never received my thanks!
In September THE LIGHT OF OTHER DAYS was published--my joint novel with Stephen Baxter (who did all the work). I really think this is my last fiction, apart from the COLLECTED SHORT STORIES, which are due out at any moment. Perhaps the most memorable event of the year was the visit of Jean Michel Jarre who arrived in late October, to film my commentary for 2001:Rendezvous in Space, which lit up the skies of Okinawa at New Year's Eve. It was a great pleasure working with JM, and despite my limited store of energy, I have ideas for future projects together.
I did one SCUBA dive during the year, for the benefit of Stern magazine and wish I could do more, but the problem is getting in and out of the water: I need a mobile crane!
In December, two days before my 83rd birthday, I opened the Arthur C. Clarke Model School at Beddegama in the deep south. This was again an honour, and I was delighted to meet so many enthusiastic young people. Although it is a long trip from Colombo, I hope to visit them at least once a year.
The year ended with a remarkable coincidence--the Cassini spacecraft flew past Jupiter, receiving a gravitational boost which sent it on to Saturn--exactly the same manoeuvre which Discovery carried out in the first Space Odyssey! I enjoyed greeting my friends at JPL during this event.
2001 opened with an explosion of film related publicity--at one time I was receiving fifty e-mails a day from people wanting interviews etc. Thank goodness that is now over--and how sorry I am that Stanley Kubrick is not here to enjoy the praise he deserved.
My Washington friends are planning an elaborate "Arthur C. Clarke Day" at the National Air and Space Museum on February the 7th. I wish I could be there - but I will be competently represented by brother Fred and hope to join the proceedings at least by telephone or even live video. Closer to home, Fred will also be handling the arrangements when the Arthur C Clarke Centre opens in Taunton. Altogether 2001 looks to be a very interesting year, and my main problem now is learning to say "No" as politely as possible. Though I am feeling fine, I am completely wheel-chaired, which does not stop me from playing an illegal form of table tennis, leaning on the table, so that my serves completely confuse any hapless opponent.
The most important thing is that the family is fine. And my beloved "Pepsi" -- my one-eyed killer Chihuahua -- is warming my feet at this very moment. So what more could I ask for?
Well, the Minister of Science has announced that the Cabinet is allocating $20 million for the development of the Arthur C. Clarke Technology Township. My greatest hope is that it will contribute to the economic growth of Sri Lanka--and thus to its peace and stability.
Arthur C. Clarke 18 January 2001
ARTHUR C. CLARKE EGO-GRAM for 1998
Received from Colombo, Sri Lanka via the ether:
1998 opened and closed well, but contained the most unpleasant episode of my life, which now seems like a bad dream.
On New Year's Day the British High Commissioner gave me the splendid news that Her Majesty was awarding me a Knighthood for "Services to Literature". I regarded this as a compliment to the entire genre of science fiction as much as to myself. The Eng. Lit. mandarins could put this piece of news in their pipes and smoke it....
I was looking forward to meeting Prince Charles at the official investiture when he came to Sri Lanka for the Independ- ence Day celebrations on February 4th, and wondered if he would recall our previous encounter in 1985, when he and Princess Diana attended the Premiere of 2010: Odyssey Two. However, just four days before the planned ceremony a London tabloid printed such disgusting allegations about me that I requested a postponement to avoid possible embarrassment.
Thanks to excellent work by the Sri Lankan police, who had more urgent calls upon their time, the whole edifice of lies was quickly demolished. I would also like to express my grati- tude to my Colombo, London and Washington lawyers, as well as to Rupert Murdoch for a much appreciated message of support.
The one heart-warming aspect of the whole miserable affair was the sympathy and good wishes I received from family, friends, and many complete strangers. And I was still able to have a pleasant meeting with Prince Charles: when he asked "Are you still writing?" I had to confess that I had just sent half a million words to my long-suffering agent. This (I'm so glad you asked) was the raw material for "Greetings, Carbon-based Bipeds!", a selection from my non-fiction over the last 65 years, plus an extensive collection of photographs recording my progress from first to second childhood. My old friend Ian Macauley (who astonished me by popping out of the woodwork in Buckingham Palace immediately after I'd received my CBE from the Queen) is now wrestling with this mass of material, scheduled for publication in August. Also due in 1999 is "Trigger", written by Michael Kube-McDowell from my outline.
I was involved in several satellite link-ups during the year: to the American Film Institute for the 30th anniversary of 2001; to NASA in connection with Galileo's survey of Europa; and to my old employer the Institution of Electrical Engineers for an evening of nostalgic reminiscences. To deal with the backlog of graduates, the University of Moratuwa had Convocations in May and Decdember, so the Chancellor had to give two performances....
More than half my time is now spent dealing with mail and visitors, and at least twice a week I have to send out a printed reply - the "Kindly drop dead" letter or the more polite "You may resume breathing" version - saying that I cannot con- tribute introductions or plugs for books. Especially fiction, which, alas, I now find almost unreadable. (I did manage to get through one novel last year, but can't remember what it was.) The only exceptions to this rule in 1998 were for "Justice with- out Frontiers" and "Dancing Naked in the Mind-field". I was flattered by the request from Judge Christopher Weeramantry, Vice-President of the World Court; and I couldn't turn down a "struggling young writer" (his description) who had won both the Nobel Prize and the Japan Prize for revolutionising medicine, genetics and criminology by his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Kary Mullis tells me that my blurb for his very entertaining book "didn't hurt sales too badly."
The year ended with an unique tribute from my adopted country, when a stamp was issued showing my portrait superimposed on the geostationary satellite configuration. I certainly never imagined that this would happen, when I sorted the mail in Bish- ops Lydeard Post Office 65 years ago.
Though I am no longer able to walk without assistance, I still play table tennis daily, leaning against the table. Apart from occasional coughs and colds my health has been quite good: I wish I could say the same about my memory...
I have a couple of books and about ten TV and movie projects lined up, so boredom is the least of my worries. (One recent disappointment: although Steven Speilberg optioned "The Hammer of God", it received no credit in his "Deep Impact". I wept bitterly all the way to the bank.)
Perhaps surprisingly, I don't spend much time thinking about the future, though I have every intention of seeing a good deal more of it. I very seldom leave the comfort and convenience of the large house I share with my adopted family - Hector and Valerie Ekanayake and their three lovely daughters Cherene, Tamara and Melinda, who are growing up with terrifying speed. We will miss Cherene badly when she goes to college in Sydney, but at least we will be able to see and talk to each other through the video links on our computers.
Day and night (except when Melly steals her) I am seldom more than a few feet away from my beloved Chihuahua, Pepsi -- the most intelligent, endearing and demanding dog I've ever known, as well as the nearest approach to an ET you'll meet this side of Alpha Centauri. Though I never dreamed I would defect from German Shepherds and Rhodesian Ridgebacks (I still mourn my gentle, beautiful Rikki) Pepsi is the right size for me to handle now.
Finally, if I could be granted three wishes for the coming year they would be:
1. Peace in Sri Lanka - and the whole world, if that's not asking too much.
2. The first commercial prototypes of the clean, virtual- ly infinite energy devices which will end the fossil fuel age.
3. Proof of life elsewhere -- preferably intelligent, though I'd settle for anything that can put a couple of cells together.
There are indications that the first may be in sight - and I've been expecting No 2 "real soon now" for the past five years. As for the third -- well, your guess is as good as mine!
Arthur Clarke 1 Jan 99
EGOGRAM - 1995
This Egogram (the first, I am embarrassed to find, since 1992) is in part acknowledgement of the many Xmas - and birthday-cards received last December. I won't attempt to summarise 1992-94, and couldn't do so even if I wished, as several years ago I ceased to keep a daily journal. Having a life seemed more important than writing about it - and to hell with Posterity. (As has been well said, what's it ever done for us?)
Being more and more limited by Post Polio Syndrome (I can no longer stand or walk unaided, and now use a wheelchair) I very seldom leave Colombo - which makes my rare excursions all the more memorable. The first, in April, was a return - after almost a decade - to our abandoned east coast base at Trincomalee. With all the Ekanayake family, I spent several relaxed days on one of our favorite beaches, planning to resume Underwater Safaris' operations. Alas, the unexpected resumption of hostilities put an end - only temporarily, we hope - to these dreams.
Another memorable trip was in September, when Valerie Ekanayake and I took George and Polly Keyworth to one of the world's most spectacular hotels, at Kandalama, a few miles from the rock fortress of Sigirya (see The Fountains of Paradise. Carried by Atlantis during the first, only partly successful,'tether' experiment, and autographed to me by the crew. I hope to join them by video, when deployment is attempted in February.) Between pulling 'Jay's' leg over his authorship of Reagan's famous "Star Wars" speech (perhaps his most difficult task as Presidential Science Advisor) I bounced some of my own equally crazy ideas off him. One of these resulted in the outline for Trigger, now being written by Michael Kube-McDowell (Bantam, 1997).
Two other excursions, in July and October, were made with the Granite Productions crew to wrap up the 26 installments of Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious Universe. We are not likely to forget driving back to Colombo from the final shooting in Kandy: there was a mile-high, black mushroom cloud over the city from the oil tanks the Tigers had blown up on the previous day. It looked exactly like Hiroshima after the A-bomb: fortunately, the fires were put out in an astonishingly short time.
Another reason why it is difficult to get away from Colombo is the continual stream of visitors, (almost) all of whom I would be very sorry to miss. This year I had the pleasure of dining with two charming members of our beleagured Royal Family - Princess Anne and the Duke of Kent. Other visitors have included MIT's digital guru, Nick Negroponte: Apple's inventor Steve Wozniac: astronomers Heather Couper, Garry Hunt and Michael Snowden, and Princess Elettra Marconi, who joined me in a radio discussion of her famous father - the centennial of whose first experiments was celebrated in 1995.
I was also invited aboard the cruisers HMS Sheffield and Liverpool, and was particularly pleased to visit the latter, as this year the University of Liverpool gave me what was probably the first degree (D. Lit) ever conferred by satellite.
Comsats are indeed now making increasing demands on my time,and I sometimes wish that the wretched things had never been invented. (Move over, Dr Frankenstein.) During the year I also addressed an IBM Convention at Eurodisney (making another futile attempt to deny the HAL-IBM rumour) gave Esther Rantzen my opinion of 'abductees' (as politely as possible) and did my bit to save the mountain gorilla at the London premiere of Congo. And though it was made in late 1994, This is your Life was actually aired in January. I am still awed by the plotting and planning involved - I suspected nothing until Buzz Aldrin emerged from behind the Science Museum's Lunar Module - and am extremely gratefulfor the unique opportunity it gave me to meet all my family and many old friends - some for the last time: my physics master, 'Bobby' Pleass, died a few days later.
I returned - via satellite - to the Science Museum in December to open Eye To The Future, which will run until Easter. (On the Web at http://www.nmsi.ac.uk/collexh/clarke/Welcome.htm) My office now looks very bare, sans many valued trophies and souvenirs. Hopefully, one day they'll return from South Kensington.
Earlier in the year I also had a stimulating satellite conversation with Rupert Murdoch, screened when he announced STAR TV's plans to several hundred intimate friends in the superb Westminster Banquetting Hall. (I used to walk past it every weekday, when I started work in H.M. Exchequer and Audit Dept in 1936: little did I imagine...) And a few weeks later I enjoyed a similar meeting with Ted Turner and his top brass, at a CNN symposium in Atlanta.
However, the big event of the year was 18 August's Voices From The Sky, a complex operation linking Colombo, London, Washington and Pasadena, and timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of "Extra-Terrestrial Relays". During this I was able to greet many old friends in the BIS, to hear lots of flattering remarks from Intelsat Director General Irv Goldstein, and to receive NASA's Distinguished Service Award from Administrator Dan Goldin...as well as some beautiful gifts which will one day have pride of place in the Clarkives.
1995 also saw me, to my considerable surprise, beginning a new career - acting in a multi-megabuck production, the CD/Rom Rama Tapestry. Under the direction of my co-author Gentry Lee, I was video'd in front of a huge blue screen, pretending to confront monsters who will be added later by the wizards of Silicon Valley. The Rama interiors I've already seen are quite amazing, and I can hardly wait for the final version. It will be Sierra On-Line's major offering in 1996 and will probably be unveiled next Labor day at the World Science Fiction Convention, Anaheim.
Alas, many good friends have passed away since my 1992 Egogram: I particularly miss my regular Tuesday dinner partners, Bill McAlpine and Bill Charig. And a crucial chapter of my life was closed with the death on February 26 of Mike Wilson, my companion on our Great Barrier Reef and Ceylon expeditions from 1954 to 1962. His last words to me, after a long estrangement I deeply regret, were: "See you in the next world."
Though we had never met, I was shocked by the sudden death, in his 40's, of Mike McQuay, soon after he had completed Richter 10. Equally unexpected was the loss of Sri Lanka's greatest scientist, my good friend Dr Cyril Ponnamperuma. I was also saddened by the untimely death of Todd Hawley, one of the three young founders of the International Space University.
And I am still mourning Rikki, my beautiful Ridgeback - the gentlest and most sweet-natured dog I have ever known. Fortunately, though I would never have believed that my heart could be captured by anything as tiny as a Chihuahua, Pepsi has done much to fill the gap. Energetic, intelligent, and demanding love every hour on the hour, she is completely fearless, loudly challenging any strangers who risk entering my office.
I look forward to an interesting and exciting - though hopefully not too exciting - 1996. There appears some hope that the tragic war which cost Sri Lanka so much blood and treasure is finally winding down. It has had surprisingly little effect on tourism, and Underwater Safaris has all the business it can handle (though diving is restricted by Security in some areas.)
As I feared, more and more of my limited time is being lost in Cyberspace, even though my e-mail address is still classified as SLIGHTLY SECRET. And I have barely started to explore the Web, though I occasionally look at the fan club on http://www.lsi.usp.br/rbianchi/clarke/ACCIFC.Homepage.html
After years of often bitter controversy, it seems that the promise of 'Cold Fusion' (which is certainly not cold, and may not even be fusion) is about to be realised - which could be the best news for a long time, as it would mean the end of the Fossil Fuel Age and its concommitant problems. I have already appeared in several TV programmes devoted to this subject, and the New Year's Eve issue of the Sunday Telegraph splashed me right across its front page: "End of the world as we know it, says Clarke." Let's see if my 96 Egogram begins "Told you so!" or "Er, well..."
This is not my only involvement in far-out science: I'm now part owner of a T. Rex (or close relative - you'd never notice the difference on a dark night) embryo in remarkably good condition. At this very moment it's being NMR scanned at Brookhaven National Laboratories; with any luck, Jurassic Park 10 may feature the Real Thing. (Meanwhile I'm still waiting hopefully for Steven to start work on The Hammer of God.)
Finally, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all those who have made it possible for me to function - and indeed to survive! - during the past year. First, of course, Hector and Valerie, and their three lovely daughters Cherene, Tamara and Melinda. They are all well - though despite heroic dieting and exercise, Hector is now circumferentially challenged. My gratitude also to secretary/assistants Manil, Rohan and Nalaka, my two 'keepers' Sriananda and Titus, and all the other members of the Barnes Place establishment.
As well as: Vice-Chancellor Francis de Silva and the staff at the University of Moratuwa: I much regret that my health did not permit me to deliver this year's Convocation address.
The Chairman and Directors of the Arthur C Clarke Centre for Modern Technologies, and all the staff of the ACCMT.
Outside Sri Lanka: Brother Fred, nominally retired as secretary of the Rocket Publishing Company, but busier than ever (he's just published his war-time reminiscences, The Road to Spiderpore). His daughter Angie Edwards, assisted by Chris Howse, has taken over his work, aided by my financial advisor Navam Tambayah. Special thanks to 'Mr Fixit', Brian Thomas, for averting disaster during several satellite links.
And of course, my gratitude to Fred Durant, Secretary of the Arthur Clarke Foundation of the United States, and his indefatigable assistant Miss Pringle (a.k.a. Mrs Pip Durant!)
Arthur C Clarke
Colombo, 1 Jan 1996
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