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Arthur C. Clarke Dies

Article Updated: 26 Dec , 2015
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Sir Arthur C. Clarke, writer, inventor and visionary, has died from heart failure at age 90. A master of science fiction, Clarke was known most for his futuristic book “2001” published in 1968, which was made into the landmark movie. Clarke wrote scores of fiction and non-fiction books, more than 100 short stories, and numerous articles and essays.

Some of his early books included Interplanetary Flight (1950), Prelude to Space (1951), and The Making of a Moon (1957). He wrote a series of “Odyssey” books: 2010: Odyssey Two (1985) –also made into a movie—and 2061: Odyssey Three (1988) and 3001: The Final Odyssey (1996). His last book was published in 2005, The Last Theorem.

Clarke foresaw many technological advances in his writing, describing, among other things, cell phones, the internet, and moon landings using a mother ship and a landing pod. He was also known as the “godfather of the telecommunications satellite.” In a 1945 article in Wireless World magazine, he outlined a worldwide communications network based on fixed satellites orbiting at 22,240 miles (42,000 km) – a geosynchronous orbit – often referred to as the Clarke Orbit.

Clarke was born December 16, 1917 in Somerset, England. From an early age he was interested in astronomy and science. During World War II he was a pioneer in using radar with the Royal Air Force. Later, he completed a college degree, with honors, in physics and mathematics at King’s College in London. He was an editor for the journal Physics Abstracts when his first science fiction books were published.

Clarke spent most of his life promoting science and space exploration. He was an American Astronautical Society Fellow, the British Science Fiction Association President, an International Academy of Humanism Laureate, was on the National Space Society Board of Governors and Planetary Society Advisory Council, was a member of the Royal Astronomical Society and was Knighted by the British Empire in 2000. He has a nebula and an asteroid named after him.

Clarke suffered from post-polio syndrome since 1988 and sometimes had to use a wheelchair, but until recently, he still continued to scuba dive, one of his lifelong passions. His love of scuba diving brought him to Sri Lanka, where he lived since the 1950’s. Clarke once said he was “perfectly operational underwater.”

On his 90th birthday, Clarke released a video, in which he talked about his life and accomplishments. “Sometimes I am asked how I would like to be remembered,” Clarke said. I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these I would like to be remembered as a writer.”



21 Responses

  1. Haplo says:

    Actually, that’s not how it happened. Kubrick aproached Clarke and suggested the idea of making the movie, and there wasn’t any novel at all. They decided to make the novel first and then the screenplay, but in reality they developed in parallel. With the film being finished BEFORE the novel.

    So, you can’t say that the film is based on the novel, nor that it came after the novel.

    Clarke himself says: “the nearest approximation to the complicated truth is that the screenplay should be credited to Kubrick and Clarke and the novel to Clarke and Kubrick..

  2. Haplo says:

    Yea, because any path without god isn’t righteous.

    Your name fits your believes, “Adam”.

  3. David Antonelli says:

    Truly one of the great minds of our time, will be remembered and missed dearly.

  4. Molecular says:

    This is a great loss, he was a very exceptional man. R.I.P. Clarke ol’ boy. 🙂

  5. Ktheron says:

    Very sad. I loved the guy.

    His books inspired me to prowl websites such as this one.

  6. Geoff Williams says:

    A couple of points! ‘haplo’ is right about the novel-film relationship. But why no mention of the British Interplanetary Society of which he was a chairman in the early 1950s. Also, he was an operator of the early RAF ground controlled approach technique as outlined in a novel called Glidepath – describing trials of FIDO and GCA.

  7. Terragen says:

    I was thumbing through “Childhood’s End” again just last night, completely at random, hours before I found out he died. We’ve lost one of the true geniuses of our age, and a really really nice person. Just a hero, an absolute hero… Without him I might not be listening to my satellite radio right now! 🙂 RIP King Arthur.

  8. Adam says:

    A true inspiration. Dream for today. God shall find your hand and help you along the path of righteousness.

  9. Yael Dragwyla says:

    We will miss him terribly. I read his CHILDHOOD’S END when I was 8 years old, and have been an omnivorous, nonstop science fiction reader since. He was one of the great Grand Masters of the field, and a tremendous shaping force for the future. (Sadly, the mainstream news media note mostly that “he created the villain HAL 9000 for the movie 2001,” and listed his obituary in the entertainment section of their online channels. Which goes to show just how much our educational system has deteriorated, and how badly the media have damaged public awareness of today’s all-important issues.) Ave atque vale et requiescat in pace, Arthur. You gave us the future — a far better and richer one than nearly anyone else could or would give us.

  10. Astrofiend says:

    No doubt he was a source of inspiration for many to get involved and interested in physics and astronomy research, and for that he was owed a great debt…

  11. Johnny Blues says:

    Everything you contacted today, involving satellite transmission – is Sir Clarke’s.

  12. Dave says:

    Godspeed Arthur C Clark, Long will you be remembered 🙂

  13. john says:

    requiescat in pace

  14. Emil says:

    I’ve heard it on BBC news shortly after. Too many memories to share, but I must be brief here. I love his quotations and “Profiles of the Future” (where he predicted the year of landing on the Moon 🙂 Very sad when people like him have to go.

  15. Robert Clarke says:

    One of that truly rare breed that left the Earth far richer than he found it. To generations he leaves a gift of knowledge and wonder that is far beyond the possibility of adequate thanks.

  16. dilip says:

    Arthur C Clarke’s sketch for a novel called “A Meeting with Medusa” seems quite prophetic, foreseeing discovery of different types of life-forms in Jupiter, a gas giant. It’s a great idea for a very realistic movie.

  17. Tom says:

    “My god…It’s full of stars!”

    Long, dull, old and confusing movie…but I love it!
    I’ve seen 2001 so many times! Time to play that DVD again in honor of Sir Clarke! 🙂

  18. Ivan Krastev says:

    This is the next great loss for us after death of Azimov!

  19. dulankak says:

    the Sri Lankan government wanted to give him a state funeral, but he has wanted his final rights to be held in private. in my opinion he also predicted the rise of china as a super power and a space faring nation in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I didn’t belive it in the 90’s but i do now. 🙂

  20. Max Vondel says:

    Farewell traveller of outer and inner space. We miss your passing but salute the ideas you gave us and how they came to pass. You shall be seen as a prophet of the technical age.

  21. Oliver David says:

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.

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