[Ads-l] Quote: Sometimes I think we=?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=99re_alone=2C_and_sometimes_I_think_we=E2=80=99re_?=not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 23 21:25:03 UTC 2020

Researcher Gary Westfahl published "Science Fiction Quotations: From
the Inner Mind to the Outer Limits". Afterwards he posted an article
to his website “World of Westfahl” listing quotations that were
difficult to trace including a version of the saying in the subject
line attributed to Arthur C. Clarke.

Now the Quote Investigator website has an entry on this topic:

The earliest close match I've located appeared within an article about
movie director Stanley Kubrick published in "The New Yorker" magazine
in November 1966. Kubrick credited the remark in the subject line to
"one of the English science-fiction writers". In 1968 Kubrick credited
a "prominent astronomer" during an interview in "Playboy" magazine.
Conceivably, Kubrick was referring to Clarke, but the article in “The
New Yorker” mentioned Clarke many times, and it would have been odd
not to credit him if he was the originator. Also, Clarke was not a
prominent astronomer.

The QI article lists several variant statements together with other
candidates for authorship.

In 1951 Clarke did pen a thematically related comment: "Whether or not
Man is alone in the Universe is one of the supreme questions of
philosophy. "

Other pertinent evidence before 1966 would be welcome.

Garson O'Toole

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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