Arthur C. Clarke

From Academic Kids

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Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (born December 16, 1917) is a British author and inventor, probably most famous for his science fiction novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. For many years he was considered one of the Big Three of science fiction, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.

2001: A Space Odyssey was written concurrently with the film version by Stanley Kubrick. It was loosely inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel", but it became its own novel while he was collaborating on a screenplay with Kubrick. Kubrick approached Clarke about writing a novel for the express purpose of making "the proverbial good science-fiction movie", and the novel was still being written while the film was being made. This resulted in one of the truly unique collaborations in media history.

Clarke has written numerous other books, including the Rama novels and several sequels to 2001, and many short stories, including The Star, about a Jesuit priest's spiritual dilemma.

There is an asteroid named in his honour, 4923 Clarke, as well as a species of Ceratopsian dinosaur, Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei, discovered in Inverloch, in Australia.

He lives on Sri Lanka, and survived the tsunamis of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, but lost his diving school on Hikkaduwa ([1] ( [2] (



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 as ballast in ships). After secondary school, he was unable to afford university and consequently acquired a job as an auditor in the pensions section of the Board of Education.

During World War II, he served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a radar specialist and was involved in the early warning radar defense system which contributed to the Royal Air Force's success during the Battle of Britain. After the war, he obtained a first class degree in mathematics and physics at King's College, London.

His most important contribution may be the conception 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 orbit in his honour. However, it is not clear that his article was actually the inspiration for modern telecommunications satellites. 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. Pierce felt that the idea was "in the air" at the time, so he may have picked it up indirectly from Clarke.

In the early 1940s, while he was in the RAF, Clarke began selling his science fiction stories to magazines. Clarke worked briefly as Assistant Editor of Science Abstracts before devoting himself to writing full-time from 1951. He has been chairman of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the Underwater Explorers Club.

He has lived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, since 1956, immigrating when it was still called Ceylon. This 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.

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 most pseudo-science, he still advocates for research into purported instances of telekinesis and other similar phenomena.

Clarke is known to many for his television programmes Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World (1981) and Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers (1984).

In 1988 he was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome and has since been confined to a wheel-chair.

His knighthood was first announced in 1998, but then the British tabloid The Sunday Mirror published accusations of paedophilia against him ([3] ( The award was delayed while the allegations were investigated, although by 2000 the BBC reported that he had been cleared ([4] ( Clarke's health did not allow him to travel to London to receive the honour personally from the Queen, so the UK High Commissioner to Sri Lanka awarded him the title of Knight Bachelor at a ceremony in Colombo.

He is currently the Honorary Board Chair of the Institute for Cooperation in Space, founded by Dr. Carol Rosin.

He was the first Chancellor of the International Space University, serving from 1989 to 2004 and Chancellor of Moratuwa University, Sri Lanka, from 1979 to 2002.


A partial list of his (some co-authored) fiction books in chronological order:

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Apart from his fiction, Clarke has written two autobiographies. Ascent to Orbit is what he calls his scientific autobiography and Astounding Days his science fictional autobiography. Since Clarke has led a very full and interesting life, both books contain much of interest.

The Adapted Screenplays of Arthur C. Clarke

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. Due to the hectic schedule of the film's production, Kubrick and Clarke had difficulty collaborating on the book. The movie was released in the spring of 1968, before the book was completed. 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. [5] ( [6] ( [7] ( The Special Edition of the novel "2001: 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.

2010: The Year We Make Contact

In 1982 Clarke continued the "2001" epic with a sequel, "2010: Odyssey Two". This novel was also made into a film directed by Peter Hyams for release in 1984. Due to the political environment in America in the 1980's, 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. [8] ( Clarke's email correspondence with Peter Hyams, director of the film 2010: Odyssey Two, was published in 1984. Entitled 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. The book also includes Clarke's list of the best science fiction films ever made.

Rendezvous with Rama

Early in the millennium, actor Morgan Freeman expressed his desire to produce a film based on Arthur C. Clarke's novel, "Rendezvous with Rama". The film was to be produced by Freeman's production company, "Revelations Entertainment".[9] ( Freeman has not given up on the project, but claims that funding for a movie of this type is hard to procure. A popular science-fiction web site (Sci Fi Wire) posted an interview with Freeman about his troubles with the production. [10] (

Arthur C. Clarke's Essays and Short Stories

Most of his essays (between 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). They make a good collection of Clarke's non-fiction and fiction works, even for those who already have most of his books. Another collection of early essays were 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.

See also

External links


da:Arthur C. Clarke de:Arthur C. Clarke es:Arthur C. Clarke fr:Arthur C. Clarke id:Arthur C. Clarke it:Arthur Clarke he:ארתור סי קלארק nl:Arthur C. Clarke ja:アーサー・C・クラーク pl:Arthur C. Clarke pt:Arthur Charles Clarke sk:Arthur C. Clarke fi:Arthur C. Clarke sv:Arthur C. Clarke th:อาร์เทอร์ ซี. คลาร์ก uk:Кларк Артур Чарльз


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