Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur Clarke and 2001 cover

ARTHUR C. CLARKE

Dec 16th, 1917 to Mar 19th, 2008

by Bill Jordan

He never grew up, and never stopped growing

British born, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, 90, was the kind of person most of us aspire to be and led the kind of rich life most of us would aspire to lead. He was laid to rest in Sri Lanka, attended by his many friends and adopted family.  The entire island observed a minute of silence as friends paid their respects. The event was not broadcast, had no officiant, and was completely secular according to Arthur Clarke’s will. A plaque on his grave will read: “Here lies Arthur C. Clarke. He never grew up, and never stopped growing.”

Most well known for his science-fiction novels, Arthur Clarke was as much a man of science as fiction. He is considered one of the fathers of modern science fiction alongside Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. He wrote more than 30 novels and 13 short-story collections. Many of his works are considered the finest in any genre.

His visionary masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey

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Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax

GARY GYGAX

July 27, 1928 to March 4, 2008

By Bill Jordan

Hundreds of millions know his name

A legendary character, whose name will forever ring out in hearty toasts in the festive mead halls of the imagination, joins other demigods in having his image raised into a constellation to inspire future generations. The hand he played in shaping modern culture was as powerful as it was invisible. Most who were not part of a particular subculture will not recognize his name without his creation also being mentioned. Who, for example, knows Charles Darrow—The creator of Monopoly? Who knows Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Melin—The inventors of the Hula Hoop? Who knows all the other creators of cultural phenomenon? Well hundreds of millions know the name Gary Gygax—The creator of Dungeons & Dragons.

It’s hard to write a tribute to a man who I only saw through the lens of his brainchild. Like legions of others, I was part of that lost generation that spent not hours, but tens and hundreds and probably thousands of hours role-playing. How not to sound like a gushing fan-boy? How not to reduce a man of parts to a single vision? Get the vision out of the way first. Though this is not a passing for the game, it is a moment to mark its importance to many people since it would never have come to be without Gary Gygax.

Make of yourself a hero like Aragorn or Frodo

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Roger Allen Johnson

ROGER ALLEN JOHNSON

1947-2003

Repaying a debt of joy

By Bill Jordan

from-bill.jpgInsurance adjuster, X-ray technician, Hypnotherapist, Roger’s legion of friends knew him best as an affable host, always up for making whatever room he was in a better, happier place. So, it would be criminal ingratitude for me to repay a debt of joy with the currency of tears. Roger provided me many happy memories and I will repay him with the interest on that debt and in kind, but never have I found words so heavy than when I tried to lift sad ones to find the happy ones crushed beneath. So I’ll refer to this as a celebration since Roger would be appalled to find himself the cause of an unhappy gathering. He wouldn’t hesitate to remind any of us this is his party and everyone should be having fun. He’d also be asking why there isn’t an open bar, a dance floor, and shouldn’t there be more people here.

I’m not sure he knew middling adjectives

Roger Johnson possessed an audacious enthusiasm for life. Better, faster, more. I never saw his attention waver from living to the fullest every minute, always doing whatever could be done in a single day, and often more. All the things he did were experiences to be shared, breathed through other lips. Even the ones he did alone were so he could go to all his friends and say “You’ve got to try this! It’s amazing!” Few things were “Really good” or “Quite nice” to Roger. I’m not sure he knew middling adjectives. In Roger’s dictionary, the definition of adequate says See amazing. He flung his arms wide and said “Give it to me Life. All of it. I want everything you’ve got.”

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