04 05/08

The Nine Billion Names of God (Arthur C.Clarke)

| Categories: science fiction


I want to inaugurate a new section on my blog. This idea come up since A. Clarke passed away, as a manner to share with everyone interested on, one of my little passions: Science fiction.

As starting point I chose one short story written by Clarke: The nine billion names of God written in 1953, which in 1954 won the Hugo award in the category of Best Short story, this story is about a company that sells a computer to a group of Tibetan monks, they use this machine to speed up their holy task: compiling and listing all the possible names of God and by doing so fulfil the cosmic fate of mankind.

The story begins when Dr. Wagner is refining the details of a computer’s sale to a lama from the monastery, then the story moves to the Tibet shortly before the machine finishes its task: to print out all nine billion names of God.

Here an excerpt:

“Call it ritual, if you like, but it’s a fundamental part of our belief. All the many names of the Supreme Being — God, Jehovah, Allah, and so on — they are only man-made labels. There is a philosophical problem of some difficulty here, which I do not propose to discuss, but somewhere among all the possible combinations of letters, which can occur, are what one may call the real names of God. By systematic permutation of letters, we have been trying to list them all.”

With an exciting and typical Clarke’s end is a highly recommend short story, an on-line version can be read here.

20 03/08

R.I.P Arthur C. Clarke

Tags: , , | Categories: science fiction

Ayer en la mañana muy temprano por intermedio de mi buen amigo Hugo me enteré del fallecimiento de Arthur C. Clarke.

Uno de los más influyentes escritores de ciencia ficción dura y una de las figuras que más me han inspirado y cuyos escritos, ideas y libros de divulgación científica hicieron parte de mi niñez en la biblioteca de mis padres. Entre sus trabajos el más recordado tal vez sea 2001: Una odisea del espacio que en 1968 fue llevada al cine por Stanley Kubrick.

Para recordar esa última charla entre HAL 9000 y Bowman:

HAL: I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.

HAL: I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.
Dave Bowman: Yes, I’d like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.
HAL: It’s called “Daisy.”

[sings while slowing down]
HAL: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

2001 A Space Odyssey – Hal 9000 part 2
by non-humain

Hace un par de años por fin pude leer otra de sus obras cumbre, se trató de la tercera parte de la saga Rama, El jardín de Rama, ahora me queda la tarea de conseguir las otra tres partes de esta saga, también quiero recomendarla a aquellos interesados en la literatura de ciencia ficción, a Clarke también le debemos el desarrollo del sistema de comunicación de los satélites (1945), en fin a los 90 años murió una de las grandes figuras de la ciencia, la tecnología y la ficción hecha realidad.

Un humilde tributo mio a 2001 aquí