After Chicago, I moved on to Washington, D.C. with my faithful minion Sid. There, on the evening of October 17, the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation presented me with the 2019 Sir Arthur Clarke Imagination Award. Scott Shannon of Random House, my publisher, came down from New York to introduce me and help present the award, to my delight.
(It should be noted that there is another Arthur C. Clarke Award. That one is a juried award given in the UK for the best novel of the year. This award is not that award, though both of them are sponsored by the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation).
I never had the honor of meeting Sir Arthur C. Clarke, but of course I read his work… pretty much all of his work, to the best of my recollection. Clarke was one of the giants of science fiction, and his stories and books had a profound influence on generations of writers who came after him. CHILDHOOOD’S END, A RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA, “The Nine Billion Names of God,” “The Star,” 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT… the list goes on and on, a body of work that has few equals. He was also an articulate and progressive voice on the issues of the day, and an unfailing champion of science… something sorely needed in these troubled times. I am pleased and proud to be the winner of an award bearing his name.
Imagination is also sorely needed in these times, a subject I spoke about after receiving the award, while being interviewed by Alyssa Rosenberg, the arts and culture columnist for the Washington Post. This was the first time I’d met Alyssa, but I’ve been reading her for years; her columns about GAME OF THRONES were always accurate and insightful, and she conducted a terrific interview… albeit one that got somewhat dark towards the end, as I contemplated the future of our planet. Not a lot of laughs there, truth be told, but I hope we gave the audience some things to think about. Clarke was all about thinking.
I did not attend any baseball games in Washington, but it was a kick being in town when the Nationals won the pennant and punched their ticket to the World Series. The whole town was giddy. And we also enjoyed our visit to the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum. It’s being renovated at the moment, so some exhibits were closed… but the remainder was just as wondrous as I recalled it from my last visit, years ago. The curators seemed somewhat surprised that I knew so much about the Bell X-1 and Friendship 7 and the various rockets on display. Hey, long before I set foot in Westeros, I was writing SF about starships, aliens, and distant suns. Pinto Vortando loves his rocket ships!
Thank you, Washington, for the warm reception, and thank you, Clarke Foundation.
Current Mood: thoughtful