Table of Contents
Also on this website:
Toby Johnson's books:
GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe
THE FOURTH QUILL, a
novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"
You're Not A Wave
What is Enlightenment?
What is reincarnation?
How many lifetimes in an ego?
Emptiness & Religious Ideas
Experiencing experiencing experiencing
Going into the Light
Meditations for a Funeral
The way to get to heaven
Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal
The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
The Two Loves
Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook
Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer
The Way Out by Christopher L Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson
Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry
Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr
Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois
Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson
Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low
Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman
The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman
Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor
Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine
The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada
The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook
The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther
The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel
Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak
Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez
Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr
Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman
Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano
The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo
The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar
Occam’s Razor by David Duncan
Grace and Demion by Mel White
Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso
The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery
The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass
Clarke was one of the great influences on Toby Johnson. His soft sci-fi novel Secret Matter is a sort of honorific to Clarke, and written in something of the same expository, easy to read, style of Clarke.Arthur C. Clarke: Visionary
Science Fiction is one of the ways in which the mythmaking function of human consciousness appears today.
For an encyclopedic article about Sir Arthur
For an article about Sir Arthur's discretion about his personal life (and political reasons for such discretion) along with an explanation of his cute quip about not being gay, "At my age, now I'm just a little bit cheerful."
For a VERY interesting and illuminating article on the "mystical" aspects of Clarke's world vision at Hannah's Deep Field Space by Hannak Pok.
~ ~ ~
The accumulation of all human experience is one of the insights about spiritual / human experience Toby learned from Arthur C. Clarke. He's written about this by recounting one of Clarke's most famous short stories.
The role of humankind, Alan Watts said, is to be God’s “sense organs,” to experience all that it is possible to experience. I’ve already cited science fiction novelist Arthur C. Clarke as a spokesman of mythological wisdom. This idea too can be found in the metaphor of one of his best known stories, “The Nine Billion Names of God.”
Sir Arthur C. Clarke
16 Dec 1917 – 18 Mar 2008
by Kerry O'Quinn
19 March 2008
I arrived at my Hollywood apartment late yesterday, after a magical weekend in San Francisco with my friend Howard Roffman, who now runs practically everything at LucasFilm.
Howard arranged a tour for me (and my pals Zach, Brian, Noah and Hunter) of the new Presidio offices -- replete with spaceship and dinosaur models, light sabers, trophies and awards, magnificent matte paintings, and vintage movie posters – inside, beyond the Yoda fountain.
Within minutes after returning from this wondrous adventure my phone rang, and my lifelong friend David Houston (first editor of STARLOG) brought tears to my happy face with news that Arthur C. Clarke died yesterday morning.
I want to share a few personal memories.
* * *
Arthur C. Clarke entered my life in June 1973 (three years before the first issue of STARLOG) aboard a Cunard Atlantic cruise to rendezvous with a solar eclipse. I had been hired as Program Director and was responsible for scientific classes and lectures in rooms normally devoted to drinking and gambling on the good ship Adventurer.
I was warned that of all the celebrities on board (including scientists and astronauts) Clarke would be my biggest problem. He had become world famous as Stanley Kubrick’s collaborator on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the trailblazing MGM movie. Passengers on the ship were aware that Clarke had conceived the communications satellite system in a technical paper published in 1945 (before the space program made such concepts plausible) and was author of dozens of books, both science fiction and science fact.
I was told that Clarke was a genius with a colossal ego – and my personal responsibility for 14 days at sea.
I slipped quietly into his first shipboard lecture, "Life in the Year 2001." We had not met, so I stood at the back of the room (packed with eager souls listening to his crisp British accent) accessing my "biggest problem."
His manner was casual, but his words were carefully selected. He was not trying to overwhelm us with dramatic ideas or emotional descriptions – he was just talking about changes that science would bring to our planet, how people in the future would be healthier, happier, and less afraid of each other. It was simple, and it was inspiring.
By the time he finished, I was wiping tears of joyous optimism from my eyes. The man who was going to be my biggest problem had become my greatest excitement. I introduced myself, told him how profoundly he had moved me, and from that moment on he was Arthur – my friend.
During the remainder of our voyage to darkness I enjoyed watching him hold court in the ship’s theater as he introduced screenings of 2001. I chuckled at each meal, listening to Arthur’s table (which included astronauts Wally Schirra) – loud groans followed by raucous laughter as a parade of bad intellectual puns were exchanged.
On the day of totality Arthur and I watched the spectacular celestial event from the Captain’s bridge. An eclipse is a bonding experience, uniting total strangers with an event that used to terrify people in ancient times. Arthur always called me his "shipmate" – a title I accepted proudly.
Over the years, we’ve seen each other in New York City – at the STARLOG offices, at my Manhattan apartment, at the premiere of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and at the Chelsea Hotel (where, years earlier, he wrote the screenplay for 2001). We spent time together in Los Angeles when he was working with Peter Hyams on 2010: Odyssey Two, and he gave me a tour of the incredible sets. We’ve kept in touch by postal letters, by FAX, by telephone and by email.
In 2001, at a time when we had not been in touch for a few months, I emailed "I miss the nasty little bits of humor you used to send my way. Surely there must be something absurd and off-color in the news you get." Arthur replied with several wonderfully naughty jokes.
In 2004 my friend Jon and I visited Arthur on his chosen turf – Sri Lanka. When I arrived at his home, his secretary ushered me into the office, and there – sitting behind his desk, surrounded by framed photos of him with presidents and celebrities -- he greeted me wearing an ape mask.
"Good grief!" I exclaimed, "I came half-way round the world to see a great visionary mind...will you every grow up?" Eyes twinkled behind rubber: "I’m not planning on it."
As a welcome gesture, he had written a naughty limerick that started "There once was a chap named O’Quinn, Ceaselessly searching for new kinds of sin..." He knew me way too well.
Yes, Arthur was gay – although in his era that wasn’t the term. As Isaac Asimov once told me, "I think he simply found he preferred men." Arthur didn’t publicize his sexuality – that wasn’t the focus of his life – but if asked, he was open and honest.
I remember on board the ship, a total stranger approached him one day, apparently having heard a homosexual rumor, and offered Arthur a silver Lambda pin. "Are you willing to wear this?" the fellow asked. "Delighted," was Arthur’s response. He put it on and wore it the remainder of the voyage.
Recently I sent Arthur a proposal for "Space Station," a television series I created – with him as Space Sciences Advisor. He replied, "Yes, of course I am interested. Your outline’s certainly promising and has already given me several ideas." He urged me to visit and discuss in person. Sadly, we will not work together on that project.
I launched STARLOG in 1976 and wrote my "From The Bridge" column for more than 275 issues. Over the years I featured pieces on Arthur more than any other human, but, as Mr. Spock would say, "that’s only logical." Arthur was so rich with activities and accomplishments that he was perpetually newsworthy, and his wit and brilliance constantly challenged me, surprised me, and delighted me. For more than 40 years he added excitement to my life.
In a recent "Egogram" (his term for the email newsletter of his activities) Arthur wrote "...completing 90 orbits around the sun was a suitable occasion to reflect on how I would like to be remembered. I’ve had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer, space promoter and science populariser. Of all these, I want to be remembered most as a writer – one who entertained readers, and, hopefully, stretched their imagination as well."
He definitely stretched my imagination. Sir Arthur C. Clarke was one of a kind, a dear friend, a planetary treasure and a prime example of carbon-based bipeds.
I am so fortunate to have accepted that strange job as Program Director on an eclipse cruise. My rendezvous with Arthur was more dazzling than seeing stars and planets overhead in the middle of the day.
Hollywood, CA, Earth
Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.
Johnson's Lammy Award winning book
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated
PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are
available now from Lethe
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