Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

The Colour of Infinity: Arthur C. Clarke on Fractals

the_city_and_the_stars.jpgMany people know of Arthur C. Clarke through his science work and his science fiction, especially 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I was but twelve or thirteen, I read another science fiction novel he wrote that captivated my imagination and has remained my favourite to this day in that genre, The City and the Stars.

Not long after that, a most serendipitous thing happened, and wondrous coincidences have also attached themselves to my other favourite novel read at about the same time, called Masha, which I’ve posted on here.

My friends and I had befriended a student from another school who caught the same bus. She–her name is Annoushka– and I got to talking about science issues as we not uncommonly did and must have mentioned Arthur C. Clarke at some point, at which point I would have mentioned my love for this novel. To my delight, Annoushka’s aunt happened to have been his secretary in Sri Lanka and promised to pass on his address so I could write him. Annoushka had a Sri Lankan background herself, where Clarke lived and lives to this day I understand (though she has a Russian first name–I always find peoples backgrounds interesting).

So I did write to him as a teenager, thanks to dear Annoushka, expressing my appreciation for this great imaginative novel set in the very distant future, and he was very kind to write back. He even mentioned that he had largely written The City and the Stars in Australia, on Heron Island. I still have his note, and will never forget his kindness to a teenager who is but one of many fans of this sci fi great.

All this is a personal preface to the following video Arthur C. Clarke presents on the weird and wonderful world of fractals (esp the Mandelbrot Set) and the implications for cosmology and our worldview (53 m).

See Arthur C Clarke related videos here.

6 comments on “The Colour of Infinity: Arthur C. Clarke on Fractals

  1. Dave Bath
    13 July, 2007

    For those wanting to make pretty pictures themselves, I can point to fractint, (home page here, with pre-built executables available for WinDoze, and Linux). Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s I used this to make some spiffy T-shirts for my daughter (who, being in kindergarten, didn’t appreciate iterative functions but loved the psychadelia and preferred Julia sets to Mandelbrots).

  2. Dave Bath
    13 July, 2007

    Drat! meant too include samples from a fractint competition here

  3. michaelgreenwell
    13 July, 2007

    thanks fo rthis. never read any of his stuff but i will try something soon

  4. Ann El Khoury
    14 July, 2007

    :) Dave, thanks very much for those links. They are pretty and psychedelic (and pretty psychedelic!) images, indeed. Anything can renew our wonder and awe and reenchantment in a very disenchanting era is a good thing.

  5. Ann El Khoury
    14 July, 2007

    Michael, that’s great, hope you like whatver you may dip into. I’ve tried some of his other big novels but admittedly not been able to get into some of them as I did City and the Stars.

    Exception: the absolutely amazing Childhood’s End, which I read much later.

    He also has several collections of short sci fi stories which might serve as a good appetizer, and some of them are just brilliant.

  6. Dave On Fire
    20 August, 2007

    Finally got around to watching this… wow!

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This entry was posted on 13 July, 2007 by in Books, Hegemon-watch, HPST, People, Science, Science fiction, Video.

Timely Reminders

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