When Damien was young

From: Jim Fehlinger (fehlinger@home.com)
Date: Tue Mar 20 2001 - 19:28:36 MST

I spent some time recently browsing in the "Damien Broderick
Unofficial Homepage" that Barbara Lamar created to showcase
the man and his work, at http://www.thespike.addr.com/ ,
and while doing so I stumbled across the most beautiful
and moving homage to Arthur C. Clarke that I have ever seen
( http://www.thespike.addr.com/biography.htm , search down
the page for "When it was young").

Damien himself reaches heights of lyrical ecstasy
in describing the impact on his young mind of Clarke's
ode to the far future _The City and the Stars_ and
his nonfiction work of speculative futurism, _Profiles
of the Future_. The adagio passages in these works are
melodic expressions of cosmic awe counterpointed with
the most profound obbligatos of sadness and longing
to be found in the literature of science fiction. This
is the stuff that makes my throat ache and my eyes glisten.

"Our galaxy is now in the brief springtime of its life, Arthur Clarke
wrote, two-thirds of my lifetime ago, in the closing passage of _Profiles
of the Future_. With the lyrical melancholy that marks the finest
scientific and science fiction writing, he had kept the strangest magic
until last. It is not until these stars have guttered out, he told us,
not until Vega and Sirius and the Sun have burned low, that the true
history of the universe will begin:

     It will be a history illuminated only by the reds and infrareds
     of the dully-glowing stars that would be almost invisible to
     our eyes; yet the sombre hues of that all-but-eternal universe
     may be full of colour and beauty to whatever strange beings
     have adapted to it ...
          They will have time enough, in those endless aeons, to
     attempt all things, and to gather all knowledge. They will not
     be like gods, because no gods imagined by our minds have
     ever possessed the powers they will command. But for all
     that, they may envy us, basking in the bright afterglow of
     Creation; for we knew the Universe when it was young."

Jim F.

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