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Playboy mansion throws A.C. Clarke bash

Sir Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur C. Clarke  

By Richard Stenger
CNN Sci-Tech

(CNN) -- What could possibly bring creepy rocker Alice Cooper, Academy Award winner Tom Hanks and Apollo astronaut Jim Lovell together? A party for Sir Arthur C. Clarke, of course.

Hollywood notables, brainy futurists, and a veteran moon walker alike will attend the black-tie gala Thursday to pay tribute to the eccentric science fiction legend.

September 11 almost convinced the organizers to postpone the dinner, but they decided to proceed as planned, ensuring the fete takes place during the year most associated with the writer.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke was seen Tuesday in Las Vegas both in a recorded conversation and live-via-satellite.  He even had a chance to see the send-up of "2001: A Space Odyssey" shown by EDS' Dick Brown.

Clarke, author of "2001, A Space Odyssey," which became the landmark science fiction movie in 1969, will drop in on the Los Angeles affair from his adopted home country, Sri Lanka.

"He will be coming in via a 3-D holographic image," explained James George, spokesperson for the Space Frontier Foundation, a private group dedicated to space colonization.

"(Star Trek actor) Patrick Stewart will be asking him questions and he will be responding live, with a 4-second delay."

Such technology advances must surely please the English native, who became a high-tech pioneer as a Royal Air Force officer in World War II when he used the first radar equipment.

Get teched-up with our coverage of Comdex 2001  with reports from the floor. The people, the events, the machines, the scene -- it's all here in multiple reports daily.

A prolific novelist and futurist, Clarke, 83, is credited with envisioning geostationary communications satellites decades before they came into existence.

The Space Foundation, which will donate proceeds to space-related charities, promises an elaborate production on the theme: America needs Permission to Dream.

No such permission is needed at the home of host Hugh Hefner. Guests will be able to stroll the grounds and "encouraged to gaze at the stars through telescopes," the Space Frontier Foundation said.

Presumably, those in the sky, not at the Playboy Mansion.


• Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies

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