Numerous readers have asked me to post Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s letter on The
Corner. I didn’t do this because my default assumption about one-to-one
letters is that their contents are private, at least until one party is dead
and the biographers are at work. However, I don’t believe there is anything
prohibitively personal in the letter, and from what I know of Sir Arthur, he
wouldn’t mind me posting it. My consultant on matters of etiquette and
literary ethics (Mrs. L.R. Derbyshire) sees no problem, so here goes. If,
in your opinion, I am committing a moral faux pas here, just put it down to
hero-worship and bursting pride. Oh, and if anyone can direct me to the Van
Vogt book he mentions, I’d appreciate it.
Dear John Derbyshire,
I much enjoyed Prime Obsession — hope it’s widely reviewed — and bought!
I don’t think you mention the fantasy of the “Ultimate Prime” which was
developed in one of A E van Vogt’s novels.
I’ve no idea whether A E thought that such a thing could exist, or whether
it was pointed out to him that the ancient Greeks had demolished the idea.
Glad Fermat has been finally settled — my next novel, The Last Theorem,
will be about this — whenever I get around to finishing it.
All good wishes,
Arthur C Clarke