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פגישה עם סופר המדע הבדיוני ארתור ס. קלארק Arthur C. Clarke

בספרו של סר ארתור סי. קלארק (1917־2008) מ-1952 "Islands in the Sky", מוזכר קומנדר דויל, הנע במהירות ובזריזות בספינת החלל שלו. המעניין הוא שדויל הוא קטוע רגליים. נכותו על פני כדור הארץ, הופכת ליתרון בתנאי אפס כבידה. גופו קטן, ושרירי ידיים מפותחים, מאפשרים לו להיכנס לכל פינה ואף הקטנה ביותר, בספינת החלל שלו.

(מקור צילום: ויקיפדיה)

ניוח (אימוביליזציה) נכפה על פני כדור הארץ, למשל, על נכים משותקים, או אנשים לאחר ניתוחים או תאונות, החשופים לדלדול שרירים ועצמות, שינויים במאזן נוזלים ולחץ דם, עימדון נוזלים (דם, שתן, לימפה ועוד), נטייה לזיהומי דרכי שתן ונשימה ועוד. לנוסעים "בריאים" בתנאי חוסר משקל, קורים סיבוכים דומים, אך הפיכים עם חזרתם לכדור הארץ. הבעיה עם נכים שישהו בחלל לזמן ארוך משלושה שבועות, שהנזקים המשניים לא ייעלמו עם חזרתם לתנאי כוח הכבידה. יש לקחת בחשבון עובדה זו.

נפגשתי עם קלארק בסרילנקה (לשעבר, ציילון) בחודש מרס 1989. חברי המנוח דר' מוריס עזריה ואני נשלחנו על ידי משרד החוץ לעזור ולייעץ בענייני שיקום נכים באי, שהיה נתון אז במלחמת אזרחים קשה. קלארק הסכים להיפגש איתנו בתנאי שיוכל להתייעץ עמי בעניין תסמונת שלאחר מחלת שיתוק הילדים, שבה לקה בצעירותו. הוא שימש כנשיא כבוד של אגודת הנכים באי.

(מימין לשמאל): דר' מוריס עזריה, סר ארתור סי. קלארק פרופ' אבי עורי המשכנו להתכתב כמה שנים. מספר רב של המצאות מדומיינות שלו שנכתבו בספריו בשנות ה־50, הפכו למציאות. בשיחתנו, הבהרתי לו שהספר היחיד שכתב וקראתי (עד אז), בתחום הספרות בדיונית היה: "2001: אודיסיאה בחלל" (שקלארק עיבד על פי סיפורו המוקדם, "הזקיף", והיה לסרט בבימויו של סטנלי קובריק בשנת 1968).

קלארק באחד הסטים של הסרט: '2001 - אודיסיאה בחלל' (צילום: James Vaughan via Flickr) שאלתי אותו כמה שאלות הבהרה לחידות שפיזר בספרו ש'עברו' גם לסרט, אך לשווא. לא נעניתי. הוא רק הקרין לנו קטעים נבחרים מהסרט, מתקליט בצבע מתכתי — ששנים אחר כך הפך למה שאנו מכירים כתקליטור קטן מידות. בעזרת שלט רחוק, שהיה בידו, בחר את הקטע המתאים לשיחה באותו רגע.

(מקור הצילום: אתר הספרייה הפנטסטית)

(מקור הצילום: הספרייה הלאומית) במכתביו, קלארק סיפר לי היכרותו עם אלן טיורינג בזמן מלחמת העולם השנייה. במכתב אחר, העיר כי בעקבות התכתבותנו בנושא "מובי דיק", שלח מחקר שהעברתי אליו על תאונות צלילה לידידו ריי ברדבורי. שמחתי כשכתב לי, שהוא בדרך לאנגליה לקבל אות אצולה מהמלכה. ומאוחר יותר, כתב לי על חוויותיו מנסיעותיו המעטות מחוץ לאי האהוב עליו, סרילנקה. :Sir Arthur C. Clarke : personal reminiscences


" The only way of discovering the limits of the possible, is to venture a little way past them into the impossible" [AC Clarke's second law]

הנה טעימה מההתכתבות שלי עם ארתור סי. קלארק:

"Dear Mr Clarke march 20th 1989


"On behalf of Dr Maurice Azaria and myself, , I want to thank you again for your kind hospitality and the exciting moments you have shared with us. I hope your medical condition will improve …the horrible stories that Hector told us about the abuse of the amateur young divers shocked us... if you will write about your " medical experiences" , please send me a copy of your comments…


During February 1989, we spent exciting time in Colombo, SriLanka. By invitation of the Military Medical Corps we lectured , operated on, and discussed with civilian and military medical and surgical teams , various topics related to spinal cord injuries and limbs' amputations, comprehensive rehabilitation team approach and prevention of various complications.


It was apparent, that we shall not leave the island without visiting the legendary Science- fiction author and futurist-AC Clarke. He was more than happy to host us when he received our short CVs : his new problems with his old- poliomyelitis caused him much trouble. We saw in his "Leslie's House" , his enormous library, we discussed his new functional difficulties and the enigmas posed in "2001"..."


"Dear Professor Ohry, April 3rd 1989

"Many thanks for your letter ..and the enclosure. I was particularly interested in the reference to Moby Dick, because I had a card in the same mail from my old friend Ray Bradbury…so I promptly sent your piece to him. I was naturally interested in your article on diving accidents …my neuro – muscular condition appears to be

stable, and I think it would be actually improving if I was not badly handicapped by a persistent chest and/or sinus infection, which wakes me up in the middle of the night.

…I've started working on the Titanic novel again, and having a lot of fun, imagining diving accidents at 4000 metres!.."


"The most exclusive club in the world meet next month. The 72 astronauts and cosmonauts from 17 countries who make up the Association of Space explorers will gather in Riyadh , Saudi Arabia for their annual congress. There they will confer theifirst "special recognition award" on Arthur C. Clarke , ...on Wednesday the Queen

will confer the CBE on the Somerset farmer's son who won an Oscar nomination for the film 2001 and pioneered the communications satellite. " [ The Sunday Times, October 22nd, 1989]"



" Dear Mr Clarke, November 14th 1989

"We read about your trip to Riyadh…Congratulations for your CBE !..."



"Dear professor Ohry November 5th, 1989


"...I had a most fascinating visit to Riyadh, the enclosed report may amuse you. Incidentally, while I was in Riyadh , I raised the sensitive question of the total lack of diplomatic representation here- for reasons of which you may be aware ! I am feeling much better, and by a tremendous stroke of luck, Dr Daniel Drachman from

Johns Hopkins was in Europe during my visit , and flew over to give me a check in London ("My longest house call") . He confirmed that I am actually gaining strength

,I was saddened to get a fax last night telling me of the death of my oldest Jewish friend, Meir Gillon, you may know the book he and his wife Diana wrote about the early days of Israel, "Vanquish the Angel"..."


Notes from Arabia Astronautica: A desert Odyssey November 28th 1989

"up at 5.30 , after dreaming about deploying vast tethers in the space! Found overnight fax with Isaac Asimov's preface to my forthcoming Tales from Planet Earth.

As expected , it contained some good – natured insults, so I faxed back a quick note threatening to write a preface for his next book…left for Katunayake airport at 6.30 with Dr Theva Buell ( my personal physician) and Hector Ekanayake (my partner and managing director of our company, Underwater Safaris). With the aid of a wheelchair / made swift and painless transit to the beautiful Saudia jumbojet…


" Dear Dr. Ohry, February 13th 1990

I'm glad to say that I am feeling much better now ..I've just had the annual report of

the National Institute for the care of Paraplegics ( NIP) of which I am patron-…''


Dear Abraham March 15th 1990

"(let's not doctor each other anymore!)...I had accepted an invitation to attend the Marconi Award symposium in Washington , as Mrs Marconi Braga had hoped that all the award winners will be there, and I'd planned to visit Jones Hopkins again.."


Notes from the Annual Report of NIP, by Lucian GB Weliwita-Gunaratne FRCS, President: "..the dark clouds that gathered over our beloved country in the form of political unrest, violence and fear took its toll on NIP too…the second important visitor was Professor A Ohry …he was already committed to upgrading the rehabilitation hospital at Talagolla on behalf of the Sri Lankan Army but he expressed

a keen desire to help us too…"



"Dear Abraham, May 20th 1993

"… I can only walk about a 100 meters without assistance…Ragama is operating very well, and alas , is now very busy , so the good work you have started had continued… I spent three hours with Stephen Hawking on my way to Jones Hopkins.

… I am being treated by an excellent physiotherapist..who was trained in UK, and worked with your colleagues when they were here…. You will be amused by this extract from my forthcoming novel The Hammer of God..: " whatever technological aids Chrislam employed, the time was ripe for a new religion , embodying the best elements of two ancient ones ( with more than a touch of an even older one, Buddhism) .Yet the Prophet might never have succeeded without two other factors,

wholly beyond her control. The first was the so called "cold fusion" revolution , which brought about the sudden end of the Fossil Fuel Age and destroyed the economic

base of the Muslim world for almost a generation- until Israeli chemists rebuilt it with the slogan 'Oil for Food-Not for Fire" ! The second was the steady decline in the moral and intellectual status of Christianity,…on October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints Church…"


" Dear Mr Clarke, March 20th 1995

"…we all hope for a comprehensive peace process… last year I've visited Fiji-I had accompanied a Fijian soldier who became accidently a paraplegic, and I was asked to stay in Suva , to teach, instruct and work with the local teams…then I was sent to

Prague to give a course on modern rehabilitation medicine …have you mentioned in one of your books a disabled person?. .."


"Dear Prof Ohry, April 8th 1995

I have had some serious medical problems but at least postpolio syndrome is a good deal better than my first diagnosis- ALS/MND.. My medical history is in the excellent biography by Neil McAleer ( Odyssey) …briefly , the London specialists said it was ALS and sent me back to die, but my friends persuaded me to go to Hopkins where Professor Dan Drachman and his colleagues reversed the verdict. Incidentally my

friend the Nobelist Abdus Salam has been quite ill , and I persuaded him to see Dan.

I thought it was nice having a Jewish specialist dealing with the greatest scientist in the Muslim world!... "



From Clarke's "Islands in the Sky" 1952:

" he moved so quickly that it took me completely by surprise. A moment later I just managed to stifle a gasp of amazement. For as he moved clear of the desk , I saw that Commander Doyle had no legs…it was obvious why he had come to the station; it

was the only place he wouldn't be a cripple. Indeed, thanks to his powerfully developed arms, he was probably the most agile man in the station…"

"Sri Lanka ? it is India without the hastle".


(www.well.com/user/wldtrvlr/clarke.html)



Friends such as the late Issac Asimov who wrote him a limerick:

"Old Arthur C. Clarke of Sri Lanka

Now sits in the sun sipping Sanka

And taking his ease

Excepting when he's

Receiving pleased notes from his banker"

(the same site)



"Clarke's First Law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible , he is very probably wrong"

"I still have fantasies of returning to the Great Barrier Reef. If I can't walk , I can still dive. And I can't think of a better way to go than sinking slowly in the West..."


[Bulletin from Baltimore, January 1st 1989] :

"Arthur Charles Clarke ( 1917- ) British author , resident of Sri Lanka since 1956, noted for his themes of scientific optimism, transcendence , and loss. A central figure of modern science fiction , Clarke is often ranked with Isaac Asimov , Ray Bradbury , and Robert A. Heinlein , and like them, he has successfully reached a broad general

audience. He is also a prolific writer of nonfiction on space-flight , scientific forecasting , and undersea exploration."

( The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by James Gunn, Viking, NY, 1988).


(מקור צילום: המגזין TIME ינואר 2006)

Arthur C. Clarke died aged 90 . In the Times, on March 19 2008 an obituary described Sir Arthur: "He was the foremost science fiction writer of his time. He wrote around 100 books …born in Minehead, Somerset , ….after buying a copy of Amazing Stories at Woolworth's , he became addicted to science fiction magazines….worked as an auditor with the exchequer…member of the British Interplanetary Society //served in the RAF during the war..joined a US team to work on a radar project….took his BSc in physics and mathematics…since 1956 lived in Sri Lanka..because of his post-polio syndrome , he was surrounded by a number of "valets" ..CBE in 1989 and knighted in 1998"…



P.S.


"In 160 A.D., many centuries before the time of Isaac Newton, the Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata wrote an account of how Ulysses' ship had been caught up in a whirlwind and carried on a 7-day flight to the moon. In the early 17th century this work was translated from Greek into Latin by Johannes Kepler, the great early astronomer, in order to make it more widely available. Soon thereafter, Kepler

himself wrote a fantasy of space flight called Somnium…

… Kidnapped by extraterrestrials, star wars, trip to the moon, a story from 160 AD.

Apart from legendary tales concerning extra-terrestrial exploits of the Greek Hermes and daring mortals such as the architect Daedalus, the earliest accounts of journeys through space which have come down to us are those of Lucian of Samosata, a second-century satirist (c. 120 – 180 AD) and prose writer. In his Icaromenippus the

hero of the tale, Menippus, conceives the idea of paying a visit to Zeus and the story opens with a friend observing Menippus walking in the Street of the Tombs at Athens, talking to himself. From what he is saying, it appears that to assist him in his endeavor, the adventurer, like Icarus and his father before him, placed his reliance on a pair of wings, which he himself fashioned by taking one member from a vulture and

another from an eagle. With this hybrid organ of flight buckled about him, he made a number of practice ascents and then set out for his destination from the summit of Mount Olympus. In the vicinity of the moon, finding himself not a little tired , he decided to attempt a lunar landing so as to obtain some relief from his exertion. As a result, he encountered the philosopher Empedocles, who described how, after

accidentally falling into the crater of the volcano Mount Etna, he was hurled so high into the air by its smoke that he found himself on the moon!"..


[http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/LucianSamosata.htm]





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