Here is DENNIS OVERBYE on Arthur:
In his short story “The Nine Billion Names of God,” published in 1953, Clarke wrote of a pair of computer programmers sent to a remote monastery in Tibet to help the monks there use a computer to compile a list of all the names of God. Once the list was complete, the monks believed, human and cosmic destiny would be fulfilled and the world would end.
The programmers are fleeing the mountain, hoping to escape the monks’ wrath when the program finishes and the world is still there, when one of them looks up.
“Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.”
That was a typical Clarke ending, and it seemed only natural upon his death that nature might want to reciprocate.