Sunday, December 05, 2004

Lewis and Clarke

This recent article from Popular Science had this C.S. Lewis anecdote in an article about sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke:
As a young man, Clarke was pals with some of Britain’s fastest-rising literary stars, including C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. That was before he made a name for himself in 1953 with Childhood’s End and before he fell in love with the Indian Ocean’s coral reefs. “I came for the sea diving,” he told me of his move to Sri Lanka in 1956. “Underwater was the closest I could come to the weightlessness of space.”

While we talked, something reminded him of his London days, and although he could hardly recall his latest book, conversations from decades ago still rang clear in his mind. “C.S. Lewis! I just remembered our parting words,” he said. “We were at a pub. The Eastgate. Fleet Street.” He leaned back in his chair, chasing the memory down the street and finally cornering it. “Ah,” he continued. “As we staggered out into the street, Lewis turned to us. He said, ‘I think you are very wicked people, but wouldn’t the world be a dull place if everyone was good?’ ”

Clarke laughs uproariously at this gentle rebuke, slapping his desk and shaking his head.


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