GeneralReading, writing, listening to music and watching movies...
BooksPrelude to Space (1951) The Sands of Mars (1951) Islands in the Sky (1952) Against the Fall of Night (1953) Childhood's End (1953) Earthlight (1955) The City and the Stars (1956) The Deep Range (1957) A Fall of Moondust (1961) Dolphin Island (1963) Glide Path (1963) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) The Lion of Comarre & Against the Fall of Night (1968) Rendezvous with Rama (1973) Imperial Earth (1975) The Fountains of Paradise (1979) 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) The Songs of Distant Earth (1986) 2061: Odyssey Three (1988) A Meeting With Medusa (1988) Cradle (1988, with Gentry Lee) Rama II (1989, with Gentry Lee) Beyond the Fall of Night (1990, Gregory Benford) The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1990) The Garden of Rama (1991, with Gentry Lee) Rama Revealed (1993, with Gentry Lee) The Hammer of God (1993) Richter 10 (1996, with Mike McQuay) 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997) The Trigger (1999, with Michael P. Kube-McDowell) The Light of Other Days (2000, with Stephen Baxter) Time's Eye (2004, with Stephen Baxter) Sunstorm (2005, with Stephen Baxter)
HeroesJohn Glen, Neil Armstrong, Buz Aldrin
Clarke was born in Minehead Somerset England and as a boy enjoyed stargazing and enthusiastically read old American science-fiction magazines, many of which made their way to England in ships with sailors who read them to pass the time). After secondary school, and studying at Huish Grammar School, Taunton.. he was unable to afford a university education and got a job as an Auditor in the pensions section of the Board of Education...
During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Air Force as a Radar specialist and was involved in the early warning radar defence system which contributed to the RAF's success during the Battle of Britain... He was demobilised with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. After the war, he obtained a first class degree in mathematics and physics at King's College London...
In the postwar years Clarke became involved with the British Interplanetary Society and served for a time as its chairman. His most important contribution may be the idea that geostationary satellites would be ideal telecommunications relays. He was the first in the world to propose this in a paper privately circulated among the core technical members of the BIS in. The concept was later published in Wireless World in October of that year. Clarke has also written a number of non-fiction books describing the technical details and societal implications of rocketry and space flight. The most notable of these may be The Exploration of Space (1951) and The Promise of Space (1968). In recognition of this a geostationary orbit is sometimes called a 'Clarke' orbit.
While Clarke had a few stories that appeared in fanzines between 1937 and 1945, his first professional sale appeared in the May, 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction: the memorable short story "Rescue Party". Along with his writing, Clarke worked briefly as Assistant Editor of Science Abstracts (1949) before devoting himself to writing full-time from 1951. Clarke also contributed to the Dan Dare series, and his first three published novels were for a juvenile audience.
In 1948, he wrote "The Sentinel" for a BBC competition. Though the story was rejected, it changed the course of Clarke's career. Not only the basis for 2001, The Sentinel introduced a more mystical and cosmic element to Clarke's work. Many of Clarke's later works feature a technologically advanced but prejudiced mankind being confronted by a superior alien intelligence. In the cases of The City and the Stars, Childhood's End, and the 2001 series, this encounter produces a conceptual breakthrough that accelerates humanity into the next stage of its evolution.
In 1953 Clarke met and quickly married Marilyn Mayfield, a twenty-two year old American divorcee with a young son. They separated permanently after six months, although a divorce was not finalized until 1964.....
He has lived in Sri Lanka since 1956, immigrating when it was still called Ceylon, first in Unawatuna on the south coast, and then in Colombo. Clarke holds citizenship of both the UK and Sri Lanka..... He has long been an avid scuba diver and a member of the Underwater Explorers Club, and living in Sri Lanka has afforded him the opportunity to visit the ocean year-round. It also inspired the locale for his novel The Fountains of Paradise, in which he describes a space elevator. This, he figures, will ultimately be his legacy, more so than geostationary satellites, once space elevators make space shuttles obsolete.....
His many predictions culminated in 1958 when he began a series of essays in various magazines that eventually became Profiles of the Future, published in book form in 1962. A timetable.... up to the year 2100 describes inventions and ideas including such things as a "global library" for 2005.
Early in his career, Clarke had a fascination with the paranormal, and has stated that it was part of the inspiration for his novel Childhood's End. He has also said that he was one of several who were fooled by a Uri Geller demonstration at Birkbeck College. Although he has long since dismissed and distanced himself from nearly all pseudoscience, he still advocates research into purported instances of psychokinesis and other similar phenomena.
In the early 1970s he signed a three-book publishing deal, a record for a science-fiction writer at the time. The first of the three was Rendezvous with Rama in 1973, which won him all the main genre awards and has spawned sequels that, along with the 2001 series, formed the backbone of Clarke's later career.
In 1975, his short story "The Star" was not included in a new high school English textbook in Sri Lanka because of concerns that it might offend Roman Catholics although it had already been selected. The same textbook also caused controversy because it replaced Shakespeare's work with that of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Isaac Asimov.
In 1988, he was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome and has since needed to use a wheelchair most of the time.
Knighthood and false accusation
In early 1998 Clarke was scheduled to be made a knight, with Prince Charles visiting Sri Lanka in order to make the investiture. Just before the ceremony, a London tabloid, The Sunday Mirror, claimed in a sensationalist story that Clarke was an avowed paedophile, giving supposed quotations from Clarke about the harmlessness of his predilection for boys. Clarke released a statement saying that "the accusations are such nonsense that I have found it difficult to treat them with the contempt that they deserve." He also said, "I categorically state that The Sunday Mirror's article is grossly defamatory and contains statements which in themselves and by innuendo are quite false, grossly inaccurate and extremely harmful." He later asked that the investiture of his knighthood be delayed "in order to avoid embarrassment to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales during his visit to Sri Lanka." In answer to the newspaper's allegations, Clarke was investigated by Sri Lankan authorities, with the accusations eventually being dismissed. The newspaper later printed a retraction and Clarke was made a Knight Bachelor on May 26, 2000, in a ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka.............
Themes, style, and influences
Clarke's work is marked by an optimistic view of science empowering mankind's exploration of the solar system. His early published stories would usually feature the extrapolation of a technological innovation or scientific breakthrough into the underlying decadence of his own society.
The Sentinel (1948) introduced a religious theme to Clarke's work, a theme that he later explored more deeply in The City and the Stars. His interest in the paranormal was influenced by Charles Fort and embraced the belief that mankind may be the property of an ancient alien civilization. Surprisingly for a writer who is often held up as an example of hard science fiction's obsession with technology, three of Clarke's novels have this as a theme..... Another theme of The Sentinel was the notion that the evolution of an intelligent species would eventually make them something close to gods, which was also explored in his 1953 novel Childhood's End. He also briefly touched upon this idea in Imperial Earth. This idea of transcendence through evolution seems to have been influenced by Olaf Stapledon, who wrote a number of books dealing with this theme. Clarke has said of Stapledon's 1930 book Last and First Men that "No other book had a greater influence on my life....[It] and its successor Star Maker (1937) are the twin summits of [Stapledon's] literary career".....
2001: A Space Odyssey
Clarke's first venture into film was the Stanley Kubrick-directed 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick and Clarke had met in 1964 to discuss the possibility of a collaborative film project. As the idea developed, it was decided that the story for the film was to be loosely based on Clarke's short story The Sentinel, written in 1948 as an entry in a BBC short story competition. Originally, Clarke was going to write the screenplay for the film, but this proved to be more tedious than he had estimated. Instead, Kubrick and Clarke decided it would be best to write a novel first and then adapt it for the film upon its completion. However, as Clarke was finishing the book, the screenplay was also being written simultaneously.
Clarke's influence on the directing of 2001: A Space Odyssey is also felt in one of the most memorable scenes in the movie when astronaut Bowman shuts down HAL by removing modules from service one by one. As this happens we witness HAL's consciousness degrading. By the time HAL's logic is completely gone, he begins singing the song Daisy Bell. This song was chosen due to a coincidence when in 1962 Clarke visited his friend and colleague John Pierce at the Bell Labs Murray Hill facility. A remarkable speech synthesis demonstration by physicist John Larry Kelly, Jr was taking place at the time. Kelly was using an IBM 704 computer to synthesize speech. His voice recorder synthesizer vocoder reproduced the vocal for Daisy Bell, with musical accompaniment from Max Mathews, creating one of the most famous moments in the history of Bell Labs. Arthur C. Clarke was so impressed that he later told Kubrick to use it in this climactic scene.....
Due to the hectic schedule of the film's production, Kubrick and Clarke had difficulty collaborating on the book. Clarke completed a draft of the novel at the end of 1964 with the plan to publish in 1965 in advance of the film's release in 1966. After many delays the film was released in the spring of 1968, before the book was completed. The book was credited to Clarke alone. Clarke later complained that this had the effect of making the book into a novelisation, that Kubrick had manipulated circumstances to downplay his authorship. For these and other reasons, the details of the story differ slightly from the book to the movie. The film is a bold artistic piece with little explanation for the events taking place. Clarke, on the other hand, wrote thorough explanations of "cause and effect" for the events in the novel. Despite their differences, both film and novel were well received.............
In 1972 Clarke published The Lost Worlds of 2001, which included his account of the production and alternate versions of key scenes. The "special edition" of the novel A Space Odyssey (released in 1999) contains an introduction by Clarke, documenting his account of the events leading to the release of the novel and film.
In 1982 Clarke continued the 2001 epic with a sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two. This novel was also made into a film, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, directed by Peter Hyams for release in 1984. Due to the political environment in America in the 1980s, the novel and film present a Cold War theme, with the looming tensions of nuclear war. The film was not considered to be as revolutionary or artistic as 2001, but the reviews were still positive and it has earned over 40 million dollars since its release in North America.....
Clarke's email correspondence with Hyams was published in 1984. Titled The Odyssey File: The Making of 2010, and co-authored with Hyams, it illustrates his fascination with the then-pioneering medium and its use for them to communicate on an almost daily basis at the time of planning and production of the film while living on different continents. The book also includes Clarke's list of the best science-fiction films ever made.
Essays and short stories
Most of Clarke's essays (from 1934 to 1998) can be found in the book Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! (2000). Most of his short stories can be found in the book The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (2001). Another collection of early essays was published in The View from Serendip (1977), which also included one short piece of fiction, "When the Twerms Came". He has also written short stories under the pseudonyms of E. G. O'Brien and Charles Willis. He also wrote a story called "The Secret."
Concept of the geostationary communications satellite
Clarke's most important contribution may be the idea that geostationary satellites would be ideal telecommunications relays. He proposed this concept in a paper titled "Extra-Terrestrial Relays — Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?", published in Wireless World in October 1945. The geostationary orbit is now sometimes known as the Clarke Belt in his honour.
However, it is not clear that this article was actually the inspiration for the modern telecommunications satellite. John R. Pierce, of Bell Labs, arrived at the idea independently in 1954, and he was actually involved in the Echo satellite and Telstar projects. Moreover, Pierce stated that the idea was "in the air" at the time and certain to be developed regardless of Clarke's publication. Nevertheless, Clarke described the idea so thoroughly that his article has been cited as prior art in judgements denying patents on the concept.....
Awards, honours and other recognition
- Following the release of 2001, Clarke became much in demand as a commentator on science and technology, especially at the time of the Apollo space program. The fame of 2001 was enough to get the Command Module of the Apollo 13 craft named "Odyssey".
- The Asimov-Clarke Treaty recognises Clarke as the second best science writer, and Isaac Asimov as the second best science fiction writer, in the world. The corollary is obvious.
- In 1986, Clarke provided a grant to fund the prize money (initially £1,000) for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for the best science fiction novel published in Britain in the previous year. In 2001 the prize was increased to £2001, and its value now matches the year (e.g., £2005 in 2005).
- Clarke was knighted in 2000. Clarke's health did not allow him to travel to London to receive the honour personally from the Queen, so the United Kingdom's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka awarded him the title of Knight Bachelor at a ceremony in Colombo.
- The 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter is named in honour of Sir Arthur's works.
- In 2003, Sir Arthur was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology where he appeared on stage via a 3-D hologram with a group of old friends which included Jill Tarter, Neil Armstrong, Lewis Branscomb, Charles Townes, Freeman Dyson, Bruce Murray and Scott Brown.
- In 2005 he lent his name to the inaugural Sir Arthur Clarke Awards — dubbed "the Space Oscars". His brother attended the awards ceremony, and presented an award specially chosen by Arthur (and not by the panel of judges who chose the other awards) to the British Interplanetary Society.
- On 14 November 2005 Sri Lanka awarded Arthur C. Clarke its highest civilian award, the Sri Lankabhimanya (The Pride of Sri Lanka) , for his contributions to science and technology and his commitment to his adopted country.
- Sir Arthur is currently the Honorary Board Chair of the Institute for Cooperation in Space, founded by Carol Rosin, and serves on the Board of Governors of the National Space Society, a space advocacy organisation originally founded by Dr. Wernher von Braun.
- An asteroid is named in Clarke's honour, 4923 Clarke (the number was assigned prior to, and independently of, the name - 2001, however appropriate, was unavailable, having previously been assigned to Albert Einstein), as is a species of ceratopsian dinosaur, Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei, discovered in Inverloch in Australia.
- The Learning Resource Center at Richard Huish College, Taunton, which Clarke attended when it was Huish Grammar School, is named after him.
CNN is one of the participants in the war. I have a fantasy where Ted Turner is elected president but refuses because he doesn't want to give up power.
Arthur C. Clarke
It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
Arthur C. Clarke
Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.
Arthur C. Clarke
The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.
Arthur C. Clarke
The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.
Arthur C. Clarke
There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.
Arthur C. Clarke
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law) -
The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.
Arthur C. Clarke, "Technology and the Future" (Clarke's second law)
At the present rate of progress, it is almost impossible to imagine any technical feat that cannot be achieved - if it can be achieved at all - within the next few hundred years.
Arthur C. Clarke, 1983
I'm sure we would not have had men on the Moon if it had not been for Wells and Verne and the people who write about this and made people think about it. I'm rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books.
Arthur C. Clarke, Address to US Congress, 1975
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Arthur C. Clarke, Clarke's first law -
A hundred years ago, the electric telegraph made possible - indeed, inevitable - the United States of America. The communications satellite will make equally inevitable a United Nations of Earth; let us hope that the transition period will not be equally bloody.
Arthur C. Clarke, First on the Moon, 1970
It may be that the old astrologers had the truth exactly reversed, when they believed that the stars controlled the destinies of men. The time may come when men control the destinies of stars.
Arthur C. Clarke, First on the Moon, 1970
The inspirational value of the space program is probably of far greater importance to education than any input of dollars... A whole generation is growing up which has been attracted to the hard disciplines of science and engineering by the romance of space.
Arthur C. Clarke, First on the Moon, 1970
If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run - and often in the short one - the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative.
Arthur C. Clarke, The Exploration of Space, 1951
- Status: Single
- Here for: Networking, Friends
- Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
- Occupation: Author
Most famous for his science-fiction novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, and for collaborating with director Stanley Kubrick