(16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British
author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey
, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World
. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein
, Isaac Asimov
, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.
Clarke served in the Royal Air Force
as a radar
instructor and technician from 1941–1946.
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.
It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.
We stand now at the turning point between two eras. Behind us is a past to which we can never return ... The coming of the rocket brought to an end a million years of isolation ... the childhood of our race was over and history as we know it began.
All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest.
Science can destroy religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the non-existence of Zeus or Thor — but they have few followers now.
They will have time enough, in those endless aeons, to attempt all things, and to gather all knowledge ... no Gods imagined by our minds have ever possessed the powers they will command ... But for all that, they may envy us, basking in the bright afterglow of Creation; for we knew the Universe when it was young.
Yet now, as he roared across the night sky toward and unknown destiny, he found himself facing that bleak and ultimate question which so few men can answer to their satisfaction. What have I done with my life, he asked himself, that the world will be poorer if I leave it.
Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal.
As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.
(16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British
author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey
, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World
. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein
, Isaac Asimov
, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.
Clarke served in the Royal Air Force
as a radar
instructor and technician from 1941–1946. He proposed a satellite
communication system in 1945 which won him the Franklin Institute
Gold Medal in 1963. He was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society
from 1947–1950 and again in 1953.
Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka
in 1956 largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving
; that year, he discovered the underwater ruins of the ancient Koneswaram temple
. He lived in Sri Lanka until his death. He was knighted
by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya
, in 2005.
BiographyClarke was born in Minehead
, England. As a boy, he enjoyed stargazing
and reading old American science fiction pulp magazine
s. 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 pension
s 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
. Clarke spent most of his wartime service working on Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) radar as documented in the semi-autobiographical Glide Path
, his only non-science-fiction novel. Although GCA did not see much practical use in the war, it proved vital to the Berlin Airlift of 1948–1949 after several years of development. Clarke initially served in the ranks, and was a Corporal instructor on radar at No 9 Radio School, RAF Yatesbury in Wiltshire
. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer
(Technical Branch) on 27 May 1943. He was promoted Flying Officer
on 27 November 1943. He was appointed chief training instructor at RAF Honiley
and was demobilised
with the rank of Flight Lieutenant
. After the war he earned a first-class degree in mathematics
at King's College London
In the postwar years, Clarke became the Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1946-1947 and again from 1951-1953. Although he was not the originator of the concept of geostationary satellites, one of his most important contributions may be his idea that they would be ideal telecommunication
s relays. He advanced this idea in a paper privately circulated among the core technical members of the BIS in 1945. The concept was published in Wireless World
in October of that year. Clarke also wrote 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 these contributions the geostationary orbit
36000 kilometres (22,369.4 mi) above the equator is officially recognised by the International Astronomical Union
as a Clarke Orbit.
On a trip to Florida
in 1953 Clarke met and quickly married Marilyn Mayfield, a 22-year-old American divorcee with a young son. They separated permanently after six months, although the divorce was not finalised until 1964. "The marriage was incompatible from the beginning", says Clarke. Clarke never remarried but was close to a Sri Lankan man, Leslie Ekanayake, whom the author called his "only perfect friend of a lifetime" in his dedication to The Fountains of Paradise
. Clarke is buried with Ekanayake, who predeceased him by three decades, in the Colombo central cemetery. In his biography of Stanley Kubrick
, John Baxter cites Clarke's homosexuality
as a reason why he relocated, due to more tolerant laws with regard to homosexuality in Sri Lanka. Journalists who enquired of Clarke whether he was gay were told, "No, merely mildly cheerful." However, Michael Moorcock
Moorcock's assertion is not supported by other reports, although in an interview in the July 1986 issue of Playboy magazine, Clarke stated "Of course. Who hasn't?" when asked if he had had bisexual experience.
Clarke maintained a vast collection of manuscripts and personal memoirs, maintained by his brother Fred Clarke in Taunton, Somerset, England, and referred to as the "Clarkives." Clarke said that some of his private diaries will not be published until 30 years after his death. When asked why they were sealed up, he answered "'Well, there might be all sorts of embarrassing things in them".
Writing careerWhile Clarke had a few stories published in fanzine
s, between 1937 and 1945, his first professional sale appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1946: "Loophole
" was published in April, while "Rescue Party", his first sale, was published in May. Along with his writing Clarke briefly worked as Assistant Editor of Science Abstracts (1949) before devoting himself to writing full-time from 1951 onward. Clarke also contributed to the Dan Dare
series published in Eagle, and his first three published novels were written for children.
Clarke corresponded with C. S. Lewis
in the 1940s and 1950s and they once met in an Oxford pub, The Eastgate
, to discuss science fiction and space travel. Clarke, after Lewis's death, voiced great praise for him, saying the Ransom Trilogy was one of the few works of science fiction that could be considered literature.
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 was it the basis for 2001: A Space Odyssey
, but "The Sentinel" also introduced a more cosmic element to Clarke's work. Many of Clarke's later works feature a technologically advanced but still-prejudiced mankind being confronted by a superior alien intelligence. In the cases of The City and the Stars
(and its original version, Against the Fall of Night), Childhood's End
, and the 2001 series, this encounter produces a conceptual breakthrough that accelerates humanity into the next stage of its evolution. In Clarke's authorised biography, Neil McAleer writes that: "many readers and critics still consider [Childhood's End] Arthur C. Clarke's best novel."
Clarke lived in Sri Lanka from 1956 until his death in 2008, having emigrated there when it was still called Ceylon, first in Unawatuna
on the south coast, and then in Colombo
. Clarke held citizenship of both the UK and Sri Lanka. He was an avid scuba diver and a member of the Underwater Explorers Club
. In addition to writing, Clarke set up several diving-related ventures with his business partner Mike Wilson. In 1956, while scuba diving, Wilson and Clarke uncovered ruined masonry, architecture and idol images of the sunken original Koneswaram temple — including carved columns with flower insignias, and stones in the form of elephant heads — spread on the shallow surrounding seabed. Other discoveries included Chola bronzes
from the original shrine, and these discoveries were described in Clarke's 1957 book The Reefs of Taprobane. In 1961, while filming off Great Basses Reef, Wilson found a wreck
and retrieved silver coins. Plans to dive on the wreck the following year were stopped when Clarke developed paralysis, ultimately diagnosed as polio. A year later, Clarke observed the salvage from the shore and the surface. The ship, ultimately identified as belonging to the Mughal Emperor
, yielded fused bags of silver rupee
s, cannons, and other artefacts, carefully documented, became the basis for The Treasure of the Great Reef. Living in Sri Lanka and learning its history also inspired the backdrop for his novel The Fountains of Paradise
in which he described a space elevator
. This, he believed, would make rocket based access to space obsolete and, more than geostationary satellites, would ultimately be his scientific legacy.
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. The same work also contained "Clarke's First Law" and text which would become Clarke's three laws
in later editions.
Later yearsIn the early 1970s Clarke 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 his later career.
In the 1980s Clarke became well known to many for his television programmes Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World
, Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers
and Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe
. In 1986 he was named a Grand Master
by the Science Fiction Writers of America. In 1988 he was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome
, having originally contracted polio in 1962, and needed to use a wheelchair most of the time thereafter. Clarke was for many years a Vice Patron of the British Polio Fellowship.
In the 1989 Queen's Birthday Honours
Clarke was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) "for services to British cultural interests in Sri Lanka". The same year he became the first Chancellor of the International Space University
, serving from 1989 to 2004 and he also served as Chancellor of Moratuwa University in Sri Lanka
from 1979 to 2002.
In 1994, Clarke appeared in a science fiction film; he portrayed himself in the telefilm Without Warning, an American production about an apocalyptic alien first contact scenario presented in the form of a faux newscast. That same year, after using his influence at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to steer the Space Shuttle Endeavour over the gorilla habitat in Rwanda, he became a patron of the Gorilla Organization
which fights for the preservation of gorillas. When tantalum mining for cell phone manufacture threatened the gorillas, he lent his voice to their cause.
On 26 May 2000 he was made a Knight Bachelor
"for services to literature" at a ceremony in Colombo. The award of a knighthood had been announced in the 1998 New Year Honours
, but investiture with the award had been delayed, at Clarke's request, because of an accusation, by the British tabloid The Sunday Mirror, of paedophilia. The charge was subsequently found to be baseless by the Sri Lankan police. According to The Daily Telegraph
(London), the Mirror subsequently published an apology, and Clarke chose not to sue for defamation. Clarke was then duly knighted.
Although he and his home were unharmed by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
, his "Arthur C. Clarke Diving School" at Hikkaduwa
was destroyed. He made humanitarian appeals, and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation worked towards a better disaster notification systems. The school has since been rebuilt.
In September 2007, he provided a video greeting for NASA
's Cassini probe
's flyby of Iapetus
(which plays an important role in 2001: A Space Odyssey
). In December 2007 on his 90th birthday, Clarke recorded a video message to his friends and fans bidding them good-bye.
Clarke died in Sri Lanka on 19 March 2008 after suffering from respiratory failure, according to Rohan de Silva, one of his aides. His aide described the cause as respiratory complications and heart failure stemming from post-polio syndrome.
A few days before he died, he had reviewed the manuscript of his final work, The Last Theorem
, on which he had collaborated by e-mail with his contemporary Frederik Pohl
. The book was published after Clarke's death. Clarke was buried in Colombo
in traditional Sri Lankan fashion on 22 March. His younger brother, Fred Clarke, and his Sri Lankan adoptive family were among the thousands in attendance.
The Big ThreeClarke, Isaac Asimov
and Robert Heinlein became known as the "Big Three" of science fiction. Clarke and Heinlein began writing to each other after The Exploration of Space was published in 1951, and first met in person the following year. They remained on cordial terms for many years, including visits in the United States and Sri Lanka. In 1984, Clarke testified before Congress against the Strategic Defense Initiative
(SDI). Later, at the home of Larry Niven
in California, Heinlein attacked Clarke verbally over his views on United States foreign and space policy (especially the SDI). Although the two reconciled, formally, they remained distant until Heinlein's death in 1988.
Clarke and Asimov first met in New York City in 1953, and they traded friendly insults and jibes for decades. They established a verbal agreement, the "Clarke–Asimov Treaty", that when asked who was best, the two would say Clarke was the best science fiction writer and Asimov was the best science writer. In 1972, Clarke put the "treaty" on paper in his dedication to Report on Planet Three and Other Speculations.
On religionThemes of religion and spirituality appear in much of Clarke's writing. He said: "Any path to knowledge is a path to God—or Reality, whichever word one prefers to use." He described himself as "fascinated by the concept of God". J. B. S. Haldane
, near the end of his life, suggested in a personal letter to Clarke that Clarke should receive a prize in theology for being one of the few people to write anything new on the subject, and went on to say that if Clarke's writings did not contain multiple contradictory theological views, he might have been a menace. When he entered the Royal Air Force, Clarke insisted that his dog tags be marked "pantheist
" rather than the default, Church of England
, and in a 1991 essay entitled "Credo", described himself as a logical positivist
from the age of ten. In 2000, Clarke told the Sri Lankan newspaper, The Island, "I don't believe in God or an afterlife," and he identified himself as an atheist. He was honoured as a Humanist Laureate in the International Academy of Humanism. He has also described himself as a "crypto-Buddhist", insisting that Buddhism
is not a religion. He displayed little interest about religion early in his life, for example, only discovering a few months after marrying that his wife had strong Presbyterian beliefs.
A famous quotation of Clarke's is often cited: "One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion." He was quoted in Popular Science in 2004 as saying of religion: "Most malevolent and persistent of all mind viruses. We should get rid of it as quick as we can." In a three-day "dialogue on man and his world" with Alan Watts
, Clarke stated that he was biased against religion and said that he could not forgive religions for what he perceived as their inability to prevent atrocities and wars over time. In a reflection of the dialogue where he more broadly stated "mankind", his introduction to the penultimate episode of Mysterious World entitled "Strange Skies", Clarke said: "I sometimes think that the universe is a machine designed for the perpetual astonishment of astronomers." Near the very end of that same episode, the last segment of which covered the Star of Bethlehem
, he stated that his favourite theory was that it might be a pulsar
. Given that pulsars were discovered in the interval between his writing the short story, "The Star
" (1955), and making Mysterious World (1980), and given the more recent discovery of pulsar PSR B1913+16, he said: "How romantic, if even now, we can hear the dying voice of a star, which heralded the Christian era."
Clarke left written instructions for a funeral that stated: "Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral."
On paranormal phenomenaEarly in his career, Clarke had a fascination with the paranormal
and stated that it was part of the inspiration for his novel Childhood's End. Citing the numerous promising paranormal claims that were shown to be fraudulent, Clarke described his earlier openness to the paranormal having turned to being "an almost total sceptic" by the time of his 1992 biography. During interviews, both in 1993 and 2004–2005, he stated that he did not believe in reincarnation
, citing that there was no mechanism to make it possible, though he stated "I'm always paraphrasing J. B. S. Haldane: 'The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we can imagine.'" He described the idea of reincarnation as fascinating, but favoured a finite existence.
Clarke was well known for his television series investigating paranormal
phenomena Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World
(1980), Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe
(1985) and Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers
(1994), enough to be parodied in an episode
of The Goodies
in which his show is cancelled after it is claimed he does not exist.
Themes, style, and influencesClarke's work is marked by an optimistic view of science empowering mankind's exploration of the Solar System, and the world's oceans. His images of the future often feature a Utopian setting with highly developed technology
, and society, based on the author's ideals.
His early published stories would usually feature the extrapolation of a technological innovation or scientific breakthrough into the underlying decadence of his own society.
A recurring theme in Clarke's works is the notion that the evolution of an intelligent species would eventually make them something close to gods. This was explored in his 1953 novel Childhood's End
and briefly touched upon in his novel 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".
Clarke also took a major interest in "Inner Space
", which can be seen in his stories, Big Game Hunt, The Deep Range
and The Shining Ones, as well as Dolphin Island.
2001: A Space OdysseyClarke's first venture into film was the Stanley Kubrick
directed 2001: A Space Odyssey
. Kubrick and Clarke had met in New York City 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 Kubrick suggested during one of their brainstorming
meetings that before beginning on the actual script, they should let their imaginations soar free by writing a novel first, upon which the film would be based. "This is more or less the way it worked out, though toward the end, novel and screenplay were being written simultaneously, with feedback in both directions. Thus I rewrote some sections after seeing the movie rushes -- a rather expensive method of literary creation, which few other authors can have enjoyed." The novel ended up being published a few months after the release of the movie.
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 Clarke's authorship. For these and other reasons, the details of the story differ slightly from the book to the movie. The film contains 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. James Randi
later recounted that upon seeing the premiere of 2001 for the first time, Clarke left the theatre in tears, at the intermission, after having watched an eleven-minute scene (which did not make it into general release) where an astronaut is doing nothing more than jogging inside the spaceship, which was Kubrick's idea of showing the audience how boring space travels could be.
In 1972, Clarke published The Lost Worlds of 2001, which included his accounts 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 in which he documents the events leading to the release of the novel and film.
2010In 1982 Clarke continued the 2001 epic with a sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two
. This novel was also made into a film, 2010, directed by Peter Hyams
for release in 1984. Because of the political environment in America in the 1980s, the film presents a Cold War
theme, with the looming tensions of nuclear warfare
not featured in the novel. The film was not considered to be as revolutionary or artistic as 2001, but the reviews were still positive.
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 of email 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.
Clarke appeared in the film, first as the man feeding the pigeons while Dr. Heywood Floyd
is engaged in a conversation in front of the White House. Later, in the hospital scene with David Bowman's mother, an image of the cover of Time
portrays Clarke as the American President and Kubrick as the Russian Premier.
Rendezvous with RamaClarke's award-winning 1972 novel Rendezvous with Rama
was optioned many years ago, but is currently in "development hell
". In the early 2000s, actor Morgan Freeman
expressed his desire to produce a film based on Rendezvous with Rama. After a drawn-out development process — which Freeman attributed to difficulties in procuring funding — it appeared in 2003 this would indeed be happening. IMDb at one point upgraded the status of the project to "announced" with an estimated release date in 2009. The film was to be produced by Freeman's production company, Revelations Entertainment
. David Fincher
, touted on Revelations' Rama web page as far back as 2001, stated in a late 2007 interview (where he also credited the novel as an influence on the films Alien
and Star Trek: The Motion Picture
) that he is still attached to helm. Revelations and IMDb indicated that Stel Pavlou
had written the adaptation.
In late 2008, David Fincher stated the movie is unlikely to be made. "It looks like it's not going to happen. There's no script and as you know, Morgan Freeman's not in the best of health right now. We've been trying to do it but it's probably not going to happen." The IMDb page for the project was for a time removed. But in 2010 it was announced that the film was back on board for future production, and the IMDb page was restored with a projected release date in 2013. At the end of 2010, Fincher described it as still needing a worthy script.
Beyond 20012001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke's most famous work, was extended well beyond the 1968 movie as the Space Odyssey series. Its 1984 sequel, 2010 was based on Clarke's 1982 novel, 2010: Odyssey Two
. There were two further sequels that have not been adapted to the cinema: 2061: Odyssey Three
and 3001: The Final Odyssey
In 2061, Halley's Comet swings back to nearby Earth, and Clarke uses the event as an excuse to take an aged Dr. Heywood Floyd on a romp through the solar system
, visiting the comet
before crash-landing on Europa, where he discovers the fates of Dave Bowman, HAL 9000
, and the Europan life-forms which have been protected by the Monoliths
With 3001: The Final Odyssey, Clarke returns to examine the character of astronaut Frank Poole, who was killed outside Discovery by HAL in the original novel and film, but whose body was revived in the year 3001.
Essays and short storiesMost 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
". Clarke wrote short stories under the pseudonyms of E. G. O'Brien and Charles Willis.
Concept of the geostationary communications satellite
Clarke has contributed to the popularity of the idea that geostationary satellites would be ideal telecommunications relays. He described 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 or the Clarke Belt in his honour.
It is not clear that this article was actually the inspiration for the modern telecommunications satellite. According to John R. Pierce, of Bell Labs
, who was involved in the Echo satellite
projects, he gave a talk upon the subject in 1954 (published in 1955), using ideas that were "in the air", but was not aware of Clarke's article at the time. In an interview given shortly before his death, Clarke was asked whether he'd ever suspected that one day communications satellites would become so important; he replied
Though different from Clarke's idea of telecom relay, the idea of communicating with satellites in geostationary orbit itself had been described earlier. For example, the concept of geostationary satellites was described in Hermann Oberth
's 1923 book Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (The Rocket into Interplanetary Space) and then the idea of radio communication with those satellites in Herman Potočnik
's (written under the pseudonym Hermann Noordung) 1928 book Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums — der Raketen-Motor (The Problem of Space Travel — The Rocket Motor), sections: Providing for Long Distance Communications and Safety and (possibly referring to the idea of relaying messages via satellite, but not that 3 would be optimal) Observing and Researching the Earth's Surface published in Berlin. Clarke acknowledged the earlier concept in his book Profiles of the Future.
Awards, honours and other recognition
- In 1956, Clarke won a Hugo award for his short story, "The StarThe Star (short story)"The Star" is a science fiction short story by English writer Arthur C. Clarke. It appeared in the science fiction magazine Infinity Science Fiction in 1955 and won the Hugo award in 1956. The story was also published as "Star of Bethlehem"...
- Clarke won the UNESCOUNESCOThe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...
–Kalinga PrizeKalinga PrizeThe Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science is an award given by UNESCO for exceptional skill in presenting scientific ideas to lay people...
for the Popularization of Science in 1961.
- He won the Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1963.
- 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 13Apollo 13Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST. The landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command...
craft named "Odyssey".
- Shared a 1969 Academy Award nomination with Stanley KubrickStanley KubrickStanley Kubrick was an American film director, writer, producer, and photographer who lived in England during most of the last four decades of his career...
in the category Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen for 2001: A Space Odyssey2001: A Space Odyssey (film)2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, and co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke's short story The Sentinel...
- In 1986, Clarke provided a grant to fund the prize money (initially £1,000) for the Arthur C. Clarke AwardArthur C. Clarke AwardThe Arthur C. Clarke Award is a British award given for the best science fiction novel first published in the United Kingdom during the previous year. The award was established with a grant from Arthur C. Clarke and the first prize was awarded in 1987...
for the best science fiction novel published in the United Kingdom in the previous year. In 2001 the prize was increased to £2001, and its value now matches the year (e.g., £2005 in 2005).
- He received a CBE in 1989, and was knightedKnight BachelorThe rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...
in 2000. Clarke's health did not allow him to travel to London to receive the honour personally from the QueenElizabeth II of the United KingdomElizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...
, so the United Kingdom's High CommissionerHigh CommissionerHigh Commissioner is the title of various high-ranking, special executive positions held by a commission of appointment.The English term is also used to render various equivalent titles in other languages.-Bilateral diplomacy:...
to Sri Lanka invested him as a Knight Bachelor at a ceremony in Colombo.
- In 1994, Clarke was nominated for a Nobel Peace PrizeNobel Peace PrizeThe Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...
by law professor Glenn ReynoldsGlenn ReynoldsGlenn Harlan Reynolds is Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, and is best known for his weblog, Instapundit, one of the most widely read American political weblogs...
- In 2000, he was named a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist AssociationBritish Humanist AssociationThe British Humanist Association is an organisation of the United Kingdom which promotes Humanism and represents "people who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs." The BHA is committed to secularism, human rights, democracy, egalitarianism and mutual respect...
- The 2001 Mars Odyssey2001 Mars Odyssey2001 Mars Odyssey is a robotic spacecraft orbiting the planet Mars. The project was developed by NASA, and contracted out to Lockheed Martin, with an expected cost for the entire mission of US$297 million. Its mission is to use spectrometers and electronic imagers to hunt for evidence of past or...
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 2004, Sir Arthur was awarded the Heinlein Award for outstanding achievement in hard or science-oriented science fiction.
- In 2005 he lent his name to the inaugural Sir Arthur Clarke AwardSir Arthur Clarke AwardThe Sir Arthur Clarke Award is a British award given in recognition of notable contributions to space exploration, particularly British achievements. It is owned by the Space Education Trust and is independent of and separate from . Founded in 2005, the awards are an annual event. They take place...
s—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 SocietyBritish Interplanetary SocietyThe British Interplanetary Society founded in 1933 by Philip E. Cleator, is the oldest space advocacy organisation in the world whose aim is exclusively to support and promote astronautics and space exploration.-Structure:...
- On 14 November 2005 Sri Lanka awarded 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 was the Honorary Board Chair of the Institute for Cooperation in SpaceInstitute for Cooperation in SpaceThe Institute for Cooperation in Space no longer exists.The Institute for Security and Cooperation in Outer Space, ISCOS, now exists as a Foundation focused on educating about the Outer Space Security and Development Treaty of 2011 ready to be signed and ratified into law. Founded by Dr...
, founded by Carol RosinCarol RosinCarol Sue Rosin is an award-winning educator, author, leading aerospace executive and space and missile defense consultant. She is a former spokesperson for Wernher von Braun and has consulted to a number of companies, organizations, government departments and the intelligence community...
, and served on the Board of GovernorsBoard of governorsBoard of governors is a term sometimes applied to the board of directors of a public entity or non-profit organization.Many public institutions, such as public universities, are government-owned corporations. The British Broadcasting Corporation was managed by a board of governors, though this role...
of the National Space SocietyNational Space SocietyThe National Space Society is an international nonprofit 501, educational, and scientific organization specializing in space advocacy...
, a space advocacySpace advocacySpace advocacy can be described as the general position supporting, pleading or arguing for the idea or cause of space exploration and settlements...
organisation originally founded by Wernher von BraunWernher von BraunWernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...
- An asteroidAsteroidAsteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...
was named in Clarke's honour, 4923 Clarke4923 Clarke4923 Clarke is an asteroid. It was discovered on March 2, 1981 by Schelte J. Bus who also discovered 5020 Asimov on the same day. It orbits within the main asteroid belt....
(the number was assigned prior to, and independently of, the name - 20012001 Einstein2001 Einstein is an inner main belt asteroid discovered on March 5, 1973. It is a member of the Hungaria family. It is named in honour of the German-American physicist and Nobelist Albert Einstein....
, however appropriate, was unavailable, having previously been assigned to Albert EinsteinAlbert EinsteinAlbert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...
- A species of ceratopsian dinosaurDinosaurDinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...
, Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei, discovered in InverlochInverloch, VictoriaInverloch is a seaside village in Victoria, Australia. It is located on the Bass Highway 143 kilometres southeast of Melbourne, at the mouth of Anderson Inlet, in the Bass Coast Shire and is located close to Australia’s southernmost stand of mangroves...
- The Learning Resource Centre at Richard Huish College, TauntonRichard Huish College, TauntonRichard Huish College is named after Richard Huish who originally established the college as a grammar school for boys in the 18th century. Since 1979 it has been a sixth form college...
, which Clarke attended when it was Huish Grammar School, is named after him.
- Clarke was a distinguished vice-president of the H. G. Wells SocietyH. G. Wells SocietyThe H.G. Wells Society, founded in 1960, is an international association composed of people interested in the life, work and thought of the British writer and thinker Herbert George Wells , and encouraging a wider interest in his writings and ideas...
, being strongly influenced by H. G. WellsH. G. WellsHerbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...
as a science-fiction writer.
- The main protagonistProtagonistA protagonist is the main character of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify...
of the Dead SpaceDead Space (video game)Dead Space is a survival horror third-person shooter video game, developed by EA Redwood Shores for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was made available on Steam on October 20, 2008...
series of video games, Isaac ClarkeIsaac ClarkeIsaac Clarke, an engineer, is the protagonist of the Dead Space where he confronts the Necromorphs. He is not voiced in the first game, but is voiced by Gunner Wright in the second.-Before Dead Space:...
, takes his surnameSurnameA surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name"...
from Arthur C. Clarke, and his given nameGiven nameA given name, in Western contexts often referred to as a first name, is a personal name that specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially in a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name...
from Clarke's friendly rival and associate, Isaac AsimovIsaac AsimovIsaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...
- A proposed outer-circular orbital beltway in Colombo, Sri Lanka is to be named 'Arthur C. Clarke Expressway' in honor of Clarke.
Awards established as legacy
- Sir Arthur Clarke AwardSir Arthur Clarke AwardThe Sir Arthur Clarke Award is a British award given in recognition of notable contributions to space exploration, particularly British achievements. It is owned by the Space Education Trust and is independent of and separate from . Founded in 2005, the awards are an annual event. They take place...
, for achievements in space, awarded annually in the United Kingdom.
- Arthur C. Clarke Awards for science fiction writing, awarded annually in the United Kingdom.
- Arthur C. Clarke Foundation scholarships and awards.
- The Sir Arthur C. Clarke Memorial Trophy Inter School Astronomy Quiz Competition, held in Sri Lanka every year and organized by the Astronomical Association of Ananda College, Colombo. The competition first started in 2001 as "The Sir Arthur C. Clarke Trophy Inter School Astronomy Quiz Competition" and was later renamed to "The Sir Arthur C. Clarke Memorial Trophy Inter School Astronomy Quiz Competition" following the death of Sir Clarke.
- The Sands of MarsThe Sands of MarsThe Sands of Mars is Arthur C. Clarke's first published science fiction novel. While he was already popular as a short story writer and as a magazine contributor, The Sands of Mars was also a prelude to Clarke's becoming one of the world's foremost writers of science fiction novels. The story...
- Prelude to SpacePrelude to SpacePrelude to Space is a science fiction novel written by Arthur C. Clarke in 1947. However, it was not until 1951 that the story first appeared in magazine format from World Editions Inc as number three in the series Galaxy Science Fiction...
- Childhood's EndChildhood's EndChildhood's End is a 1953 science fiction novel by the British author Arthur C. Clarke. The story follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war, helps form a world government, and turns the planet into a near-utopia...
- The City and the StarsThe City and the StarsThe City and the Stars is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It is a complete rewrite of his earlier novella, Against the Fall of Night.-Overview:...
- A Fall of MoondustA Fall of MoondustA Fall of Moondust is a hard science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke, first published in 1961. It was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel, and was the first science fiction novel selected to become a Reader's Digest Condensed Book....
(1961) (HugoHugo AwardThe Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...
- 2001: A Space Odyssey2001: A Space Odyssey (novel)2001: A Space Odyssey is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It was developed concurrently with Stanley Kubrick's film version and published after the release of the film...
- Rendezvous with RamaRendezvous with RamaRendezvous with Rama is a novel by Arthur C. Clarke first published in 1972. Set in the 22nd century, the story involves a cylindrical alien starship that enters Earth's solar system...
(1972) (BSFA and Nebula Awards winner, 1973; Hugo, Campbell, and Locus Awards winner, 1974)
- A Meeting with MedusaA Meeting with MedusaA Meeting with Medusa is a science fiction novella by Arthur C. Clarke. It was originally published in 1971 and has since been included in several collections of Clarke's writings.-Plot summary:...
(Nebula Award for best novellaNovellaA novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative usually longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000...
- Imperial EarthImperial EarthImperial Earth is a novel written by Arthur C. Clarke, and published in time for the U.S. bicentennial in 1976 by Ballantine Books. The plot follows the protagonist, Duncan Makenzie, on a trip to Earth from his home on Titan, ostensibly for a diplomatic visit to the U.S...
- The Fountains of ParadiseThe Fountains of ParadiseThe Fountains of Paradise is a Hugo and Nebula Award–winning 1979 novel by Arthur C. Clarke. Set in the 22nd century, it describes the construction of a space elevator. This "orbital tower" is a giant structure rising from the ground and linking with a satellite in geostationary orbit at the...
(1979) (Hugo Award winner, BSFA nominee, 1979; and Nebula Award winner, Locus Award nominee, 1980)
- 2010: Odyssey Two2010: Odyssey Two2010: Odyssey Two is a 1982 best-selling science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It is the sequel to the 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, but continues the story of Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation with the same title and not Clarke's original novel. The book is a part of Clarke's...
(1982) (Hugo and Locus Awards nominee, 1983)
- The Songs of Distant EarthSongs of Distant EarthThe Songs of Distant Earth is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke, first published in 1986. Clarke has claimed that it is his own favourite novel. He also wrote a short story and a short movie synopsis with the same title.-Plot summary:...
- 2061: Odyssey Three2061: Odyssey Three2061: Odyssey Three is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke that was published in 1987. It is the third book in Clarke's Space Odyssey series...
- 3001: The Final Odyssey3001: The Final Odyssey3001: The Final Odyssey is a science fiction novel by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. It is the fourth and final book in Clarke's Space Odyssey series.-Plot summary:...
- The Light of Other DaysThe Light of Other DaysThe Light of Other Days is a 2000 science fiction novel written by Stephen Baxter based on a synopsis by Arthur C. Clarke, which explores the development of wormhole technology to the point where information can be passed instantaneously between points in the space-time continuum.- Characters...
(2000) (with Stephen BaxterStephen BaxterStephen Baxter is a prolific British hard science fiction author. He has degrees in mathematics and engineering.- Writing style :...
Short story collections
- Expedition to EarthExpedition to EarthExpedition to Earth is a collection of science fiction short stories by Arthur C. Clarke.There are at least two variants of this book's table of contents - in different editions of the book . Both variants include the stories History Lesson and Encounter in the Dawn...
- Reach for TomorrowReach for TomorrowReach for Tomorrow is a collection of short stories by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. The stories all originally appeared in a number of different publications.-Contents:...
- Tales from the White HartTales from the White HartTales from the White Hart is a collection of short stories by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, in the "club tales" style.Thirteen of the fifteen stories originally appeared across a number of different publications. "Moving Spirit" and "The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch" were first...
- The Other Side of the SkyThe Other Side of the SkyFor the Memoir by Farah Ahmedi, See The Other Side of the Sky: A MemoirThe Other Side of the Sky is a collection of short stories by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke originally published in 1958...
- Tales of Ten WorldsTales of Ten WorldsTales of Ten Worlds is a collection of short stories by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. The stories all originally appeared in a number of different publications.-Contents:...
- The Nine Billion Names of GodThe Nine Billion Names of God (collection)The Nine Billion Names of God is a collection of science fiction short stories by Arthur C. Clarke.-Contents:This collection includes:* "The Nine Billion Names of God"* "I Remember Babylon"* "Trouble with Time"* "Rescue Party"* "The Curse"...
- The Wind from the SunThe Wind from the SunThe Wind from the Sun is a 1972 collection of short stories by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Some of the stories originally appeared in a number of different publications...
- The Best of Arthur C. ClarkeThe Best of Arthur C. ClarkeThe Best of Arthur C. Clarke: 1937-1971 is a collection of science fiction short stories by Arthur C. Clarke originally published in 1973....
- The SentinelThe Sentinel (anthology)The Sentinel is a collection of science fiction short stories by Arthur C. Clarke originally published in 1983.The stories, written between 1946 and 1981 originally appeared in a number of magazines including Astounding, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Ten Story Fantasy,...
- Tales from Planet EarthTales from Planet EarthTales From Planet Earth is a collection of science fiction short stories by Arthur C. Clarke originally published in 1990.-Contents:Contents of Tales From Planet Earth include:* Preface, by Arthur C...
- The Collected Stories of Arthur C. ClarkeThe Collected Stories of Arthur C. ClarkeThe Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke, , first published in 2001, is a collection of almost every science fiction story shorter than novel length that Arthur C. Clarke has ever published: with 114 in all arranged in order of publication, "Travel by Wire!" in 1937 through to "Improving the...
- Interplanetary Flight: an introduction to astronauticsInterplanetary Flight: an introduction to astronauticsInterplanetary Flight: An Introduction to Astronautics is a short, modestly technical introduction to space exploration written by Arthur C. Clarke, and published in 1950...
. London: Temple Press, 1950
- The Exploration of Space. New York: Harper, 1951
- Voice Across the Sea. New York: Harper, 1958
- Voices from the Sky: Previews of the Coming Space Age. New York: Harper & Row, 1965
- Astounding Days: A Science Fictional Autobiography. London: Gollancz, 1989
- Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! : Collected Works 1934-1998. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999 1977
Biography and criticism
- Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) International Astronautical FederationInternational Astronautical FederationInternational Astronautical Federation , the world's foremost space advocacy organisation, is based in Paris. It was founded in 1951 as a non-governmental organization. It has 206 members from 58 countries across the world. They are drawn from space agencies, industry, professional associations,...