Arthur C. Clarke vs. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien

Arthur C. Clarke was a a relentless advocate of the exploration of space from the mid 1930s forward. He corresponded with C.S. Lewis,who, in addition to writing one of the best fantasy books ever written The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, wrote Perelandra and Out of the Silent Planet – two good SF novels. Lewis believed that it was bad to spread the evils of humanity to other worlds. He thought that the history of man was one long evil conquest of the earth and that it would be terrible if we started conquering other beings in space. Clarke and Lewis finally met in a pub to argue it out – with the help of a few pints.

From Voices in the Sky by Arthur C. Clarke:

An extensive correspondence with Dr. Lewis led to the a meeting in a famous Oxford pub, the Eastgate. Seconding me was my friend, Val Cleaver, a space buff from way back (and now chief engineer of the Rolls Royce Rocket Division). Supporting Lewis was Professor J. R. R. Tolkien, whose trilogy, The Lord of the Rings created a considerable stir a few years ago. Needless to say, neither side converted the other, and we refused to abandon our diabolical schemes of interplanetary conquest. But a fine time was had by all, and when, some hours later, we emerged a little unsteadily from the Eastgate, Dr. Lewis’s parting words were "I’m sure you are very wicked people – but how dull it would be if everyone was good."

I am enjoying Voices in the Sky, but sadly I will finish it on this evening’s bus ride.


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I started reading Science Fiction in the 1950s. I started Writing SF in the 1960s. Then, I had a life. Now I am retired, raising chickens and keeping bees. I am still an avid reader and I have sold about 70 stories in the last 20 years.
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