Posts Tagged ‘popular literature’
Peter Watts has a wonderful, terrible short story up at his blog.
I cried for the Chimp, once.
I was there for his birth. I saw the lights come on, listened as he found his voice, watched him learn to tell Sunday from Kai from Ishmael. He was such a fast learner, and an eager one; back then, barely out of my own accelerated adolescence and not yet bound for the stars, I felt sure he’d streak straight into godhood while we stood mired in flesh and blood.
I didn’t feel the slightest hint of envy. How could I? He seemed so happy: devoured every benchmark, met every challenge, anticipated each new one with a kind of hardwired enthusiasm I could only describe as voracious. Once, rounding a corner into some rough-hewn catacomb, I came upon a torrent of bots swirling in perfect complex formation: a school of silver fish, in the center of Eri‘s newly-seeded forest. The shapes I glimpsed there still make my head hurt, when I think about them.
“Yeah, we’re not quite sure what that is,” one of the gearheads said when I asked her. “He does it sometimes.”
“He’s dancing,” I told her.
Sad news, reported by the Toronto Star‘s Murray Whyte.
Austin Clarke, the acclaimed Toronto-based novelist of books such as the 2002 Giller Prize-winning The Polished Hoe, died early Sunday morning after a long illness. He was 81.
Clarke’s passing was confirmed by Patrick Crean, his long-time friend and former publisher. He is survived by four daughters, a son and his former wife, Betty.
Clarke, who was born in Barbados, moved to Toronto in 1955 to study at the University of Toronto. A handful of brief digressions aside, he never left, evolving here into a frank and forthright literary voice and a champion of black rights.
But he was leery of taking Canadian citizenship, acquiring it only in 1981, explaining later that “I was not keen on becoming a citizen of a society that regarded me as less than a human being.”
Indeed, Clarke’s observations of the splintering of Canadian society in the ’50s and ’60s gave voice to a new version of a country in its earliest stages of becoming.