Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur C. Clarke, CBE

Arthur C. Clarke at his home office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 28 March 2005
Born 16 December 1917(1917-12-16)
Minehead, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Died 19 March 2008(2008-03-19) (aged 90)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Pen name Charles Willis,[1]
E.G. O'Brien[1]
Occupation Author, inventor
Nationality British
Citizenship United Kingdom and Sri Lanka
Alma mater King's College London
Genres Hard science fiction
Popular science
Subjects Science
Notable work(s) Childhood's End
2001: A Space Odyssey
Rendezvous with Rama
The Fountains of Paradise
Spouse(s) Marilyn Mayfield (1953-1964)

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction author, inventor,[2] and futurist,[3] 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.[4][5] For many years, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.[6]

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 Stuart Ballantine Gold Medal in 1963.[7][8] He was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1947–1950 and again in 1953.[9][10]

Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956 largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving;[11] that year, he discovered the underwater ruins of the ancient Koneswaram temple in Trincomalee. He lived in Sri Lanka until his death. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998,[12][13] and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005.[14]



Clarke was born in Minehead, Somerset, England.[6] As a boy, he enjoyed stargazing and reading old American science fiction pulp magazines. 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.[15]

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.[16] He was promoted Flying Officer on 27 November 1943.[17] He was appointed chief training instructor at RAF Honiley in Warwickshire and was demobilised with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. After the war he earned a first-class degree in mathematics and physics at King's College London.[18]

In the postwar years, Clarke became the Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1946-1947.[19] and again from 1951-1953[20] 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 telecommunications 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.[21][22][23] 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 36,000 kilometres (22,000 mi) above the equator is officially recognised by the International Astronomical Union as a Clarke Orbit.[24]

On a trip to Florida in 1953[25] 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.[26] "The marriage was incompatible from the beginning", says Clarke.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28] Journalists who enquired of Clarke whether he was gay were told, "No, merely mildly cheerful."[29] However, Michael Moorcock has written:

Everyone knew he was gay. In the 1950s I'd go out drinking with his boyfriend. We met his proteges, western and eastern, and their families, people who had only the most generous praise for his kindness. Self-absorbed he might be, and a teetotaller, but an impeccable gent through and through.[30]

Moorcock's assertion is not supported by other reports, although in an interview in the July 1986 issue of Playboy magazine,[31] Clarke stated "Of course. Who hasn't?" when asked if he had had bisexual experience.[32]

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".[3]

Writing career

While Clarke had a few stories published in fanzines, 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."[26]

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.[29] Clarke held citizenship of both the UK and Sri Lanka.[33] 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.[34][35] Other discoveries included Chola bronzes from the original shrine, and these discoveries were described in Clarke's 1957 book The Reefs of Taprobane.[36] 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, Aurangzeb, yielded fused bags of silver rupees, cannons, and other artefacts, carefully documented, became the basis for The Treasure of the Great Reef.[26][37] 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.[38]

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[39] 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.[26]

Later years

In 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.[40] 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.[29] Clarke was for many years a Vice Patron of the British Polio Fellowship.[41]

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".[42] 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.[43] When tantalum mining for cell phone manufacture threatened the gorillas, he lent his voice to their cause.[44]

On 26 May 2000 he was made a Knight Bachelor "for services to literature" at a ceremony in Colombo.[13][45] The award of a knighthood had been announced in the 1998 New Year Honours,[12][46] 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.[47][48] The charge was subsequently found to be baseless by the Sri Lankan police.[49][50] According to The Daily Telegraph (London), the Mirror subsequently published an apology, and Clarke chose not to sue for defamation.[51][52] Clarke was then duly knighted.

Although he and his home were unharmed by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami, 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.[53] 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).[54] In December 2007 on his 90th birthday, Clarke recorded a video message to his friends and fans bidding them good-bye.[55]

Clarke died in Sri Lanka on 19 March 2008 after suffering from respiratory failure, according to Rohan de Silva, one of his aides.[29][56][57][58] His aide described the cause as respiratory complications and heart failure stemming from post-polio syndrome.[59]

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.[60] The book was published after Clarke's death.[61] 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.[62]

The Big Three

Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein became known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.[6] 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).[63] 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.[26]

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.[26][64]


On religion

Themes 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."[65] 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.[66] When he entered the Royal Air Force, Clarke insisted that his dog tags be marked "pantheist" rather than the default, Church of England,[26] and in a 1991 essay entitled "Credo", described himself as a logical positivist from the age of ten.[66] In 2000, Clarke told the Sri Lankan newspaper, The Island, "I don't believe in God or an afterlife,"[67] and he identified himself as an atheist.[68] He was honoured as a Humanist Laureate in the International Academy of Humanism.[69] He has also described himself as a "crypto-Buddhist", insisting that Buddhism is not a religion.[70] 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."[70] 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."[71] 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.[72] 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[73] 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."[73]

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."[74]

On paranormal phenomena

Early 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.[26] 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.'"[75][76] He described the idea of reincarnation as fascinating, but favoured a finite existence.[77]

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 influences

Clarke'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, ecology, and society, based on the author's ideals.[78] 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".[79]

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.

Adapted screenplays

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 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."[80] 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.[81]

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.


In 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.[82][83] 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 Rama

Clarke'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.[84] 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,[85] 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.[86] 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."[87] 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.[88]

Beyond 2001

2001: 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 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". 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.[89] The geostationary orbit is now sometimes known as the Clarke Orbit or the Clarke Belt in his honour.[90][91]

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 and Telstar 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.[92] 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

I'm often asked why I didn't try to patent the idea of communications satellites. My answer is always, "A patent is really a license to be sued."[93]

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 Safetya 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.b [94] Clarke acknowledged the earlier concept in his book Profiles of the Future.[95]

Awards, honours and other recognition

  • In 1956, Clarke won a Hugo award for his short story, "The Star".[96]
  • Clarke won the UNESCOKalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science in 1961.[97]
  • He won the Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1963.[98]
  • 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".[99]
  • Shared a 1969 Academy Award nomination with Stanley Kubrick in the category Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen for 2001: A Space Odyssey.[100]
  • 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 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,[42] and was knighted in 2000.[12][45][46] 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 invested him as a Knight Bachelor at a ceremony in Colombo.[13]
  • In 1994, Clarke was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by law professor Glenn Reynolds.[101]
  • In 2000, he was named a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.[102]
  • 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 2004, Sir Arthur was awarded the Heinlein Award for outstanding achievement in hard or science-oriented science fiction.[103]
  • 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 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.[14]
  • Sir Arthur was the Honorary Board Chair of the Institute for Cooperation in Space, founded by Carol Rosin, and served on the Board of Governors of the National Space Society, a space advocacy organisation originally founded by Wernher von Braun.
  • An asteroid was 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).
  • A species of ceratopsian dinosaur, Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei, discovered in Inverloch in Australia.
  • The Learning Resource Centre at Richard Huish College, Taunton, which Clarke attended when it was Huish Grammar School, is named after him.
  • Clarke was a distinguished vice-president of the H. G. Wells Society, being strongly influenced by H. G. Wells as a science-fiction writer.
  • The main protagonist of the Dead Space series of video games, Isaac Clarke, takes his surname from Arthur C. Clarke, and his given name from Clarke's friendly rival and associate, Isaac Asimov.
  • A proposed outer-circular orbital beltway in Colombo, Sri Lanka is to be named 'Arthur C. Clarke Expressway' in honor of Clarke.[104][105]

Awards established as legacy

  • Sir Arthur Clarke Award, 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.[106]
  • 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. [107][108]

Partial bibliography

Selected novels

Short story collections


  • Interplanetary Flight: an introduction to astronautics. 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
  • The View From Serendip. Random House. ISBN 0394417968.  1977


a.^ Full text: "Providing for Long Distance Communications and Safety". Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
b.^ Full text: "Observing and Researching the Earth's Surface". Retrieved 2008-12-23. 


  1. ^ a b "Arthur C. Clarke". books and writers. 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  2. ^ "Arthur C. Clarke". NNDB. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Man on the moon
  4. ^ "Mysterious World" (1980) at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World on YouTube. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
  6. ^ a b c Lech Mintowt-Czyz and Steve Bird (19 March 2008). "Science fiction author Arthur C Clarke dies aged 90". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-03-19. "Science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died aged 90 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, it was confirmed tonight." 
  7. ^ The 1945 Proposal by Arthur C. Clarke for Geostationary Satellite Communications
  8. ^ The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation
  9. ^ Moon Miners' Manifesto: Arthur C Clarke nominated for Nobel
  10. ^ Benford, G. (2008). "Obituary: Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008)". Nature 452 (7187): 546–546. Bibcode 2008Natur.452..546B. doi:10.1038/452546a. PMID 18385726.  edit
  11. ^ "Remembering Arthur C. Clarke". Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  12. ^ a b c "The new knight of science fiction". BBC News (BBC). 1 January 1998. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  13. ^ a b c "Arthur C Clarke knighted". BBC News (BBC). 26 May 2000. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  14. ^ a b Government Notification—National Honours, November 2005. Retrieved on 20 October 2008
  15. ^ London Gazette: no. 34321. p. 5798. 8 September 1936. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
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  17. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36271. p. 5289. 30 November c1943. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
  18. ^ "Sir Arthur C Clarke 1917-2008". News archive 2008. Kings College London. Retrieved 11 March 2011. 
  19. ^ Journal of the British Interplanetary Society Vol 6 (1946)
  20. ^ Parkinson, B. (2008) (Ed.)'Interplanetary - A History of the British Interplanetary Society', p.93
  21. ^ "Arthur C. Clarke Extra Terrestrial Relays". Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  22. ^ "Peacetime Uses for V2" (JPG). Wireless World. February 1945. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  23. ^ "Extra-Terrestrial Relays Can Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage?". Wireless World. October 1945. Archived from the original on 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  24. ^ "Clarke Foundation Biography". Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  25. ^ Arthur C Clarke - a quick summary
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i McAleer, Neil. "Arthur C. Clarke: The Authorized Biography", Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1992. ISBN 0-8092-3720-2
  27. ^ Full dedication reads: "To the still unfading memory of LESLIE EKANAYAKE (13 JuIy 1947 – 4 July 1977) only perfect friend of a lifetime, in whom were uniquely combined Loyalty, Intelligence and Compassion. When your radiant and loving spirit vanished from this world, the light went out of many lives."
  28. ^ Baxter, John (1997). Stanley Kubrick: A Biography. New York: Carroll & Graff. p. 203. ISBN 0786704853. "But Clarke and Kubrick made a match. [...] Both had a streak of homoeroticism[...]" 
  29. ^ a b c d Jonas, Gerald (18 March 2008). "Arthur C. Clarke, Premier Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 90.". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-19. "Arthur C. Clarke, a writer whose seamless blend of scientific expertise and poetic imagination helped usher in the space age, died early Wednesday in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he had lived since 1956. He was 90. He had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome for years." 
  30. ^ Michael Moorcock (2008-03-22). "Brave New Worlds". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  31. ^ NNDB page on Clarke
  32. ^ Clarke's interview in Playboy magazine
  33. ^ "Happy Birthday Sir Arthur C. Clarke!". Sunday Observer. 2005-12-11. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  34. ^ E Greig, Doreen (1987). The reluctant colonists: Netherlanders abroad in the 17th and 18th centuries. USA: Assen, The Netherlands ; Wolfeboro, NH, USA. pp. 227. OCLC 14069213. 
  35. ^ "Expedition in the waters of Ceylon". Science Digest (Chicago) 57: 142. 1965. ISSN 0036-8296. OCLC 1624458. "One of the major achievements in Ceylon was the discovery of the ruins of the sunken Konesar Temple, which as located with the wrecked treasure ship..." 
  36. ^ Clarke, Arthur C. (1957). The Reefs of Taprobane; Underwater Adventures around Ceylon. New York: Harper. ISBN 0743445023. 
  37. ^ Throckmorton, Peter (1964). "The Great Basses Wreck" (PDF). Expedition 6 (3, Spring): 21–31. ISSN 0014-4738. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  38. ^ Personal e-mail from Sir Arthur Clarke to Jerry Stone, Director of the Sir Arthur Clarke Awards, 1 November 2006
  39. ^ "Chart of the Future". Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  40. ^ SFWA Grand Masters
  41. ^ British Polio Fellowship - Home
  42. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51772. p. 16. 16 June 1989. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
  43. ^ "Gorilla Organization mourns loss of patron Sir Arthur C Clarke – a true champion for gorillas". London: Gorilla Organization. March 27, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  44. ^ Campaign for gorilla-friendly mobiles| News | This is London
  45. ^ a b Letters Patent were issued by Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on 16 March 2000 to authorise this. (see London Gazette: no. 55796. p. 3167. 21 March 2000. Retrieved 2008-03-19.)
  46. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54993. p. 2. 30 December 1997. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
  47. ^ It doesn't do any harm ... most of the damage comes from fuss made. Sunday Mirror, Feb 1, 1998 Retrieved on 2008-03-24
  48. ^ Smirk of a pervert and a liar., Sunday Mirror, Feb 8, 1998 Retrieved on 2008-03-24
  49. ^ "Sci-fi novelist cleared of sex charges". BBC News. 1998-04-06. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  50. ^ "Child sex file could close on sci-fi writer". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  51. ^ "Sir Arthur C Clarke". The Daily Telegraph (London). 20 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  52. ^
  53. ^ Sir Arthur C. Clarke (February 2005). "Letter from Sri Lanka". Wired (San Francisco: Condé Nast) 13.02. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 17 August 2009 
  54. ^ Video greeting to NASA JPL by Arthur C. Clarke. Retrieved 24 September 2007
  55. ^ "Sir Arthur C Clarke 90th Birthday reflections". 2007-12-10. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  56. ^ Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90, BBC News, 18 March 2008
  57. ^ Sci-fi guru Arthur C. Clarke dies at 90, MSNBC, 18 March 2008
  58. ^ "Arthur C. Clarke: The Wired Words". Wired Blog Network. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  59. ^ Gardner, Simon (March 19, 2008). "Sci-fi guru Arthur C. Clarke dies at 90". Reuters India. Retrieved February 6, 2010. 
  60. ^ Pohl, Frederik (5 January 2009). "Sir Arthur and I". The Way the Future Blogs. Retrieved 22 January 2009. 
  61. ^ "Last odyssey for sci-fi guru Arthur C. Clarke". Agence France-Presse. March 18, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2010. "Just a few days before he died, Clarke reviewed the final manuscript of his latest novel, "The Last Theorem" co-written with American author Frederik Pohl, which is to be published later this year." 
  62. ^ "Sci-fi writer Clarke laid to rest". BBC. 2008-03-22. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  63. ^ The Hard SF Renaissance David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer 2002 novel text/html ISBN 0-312-71129-8 PDF en None None Copyright © 2002 by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer
  64. ^ Edward Seiler and John H. Jenkins (1994–2009). "Isaac Asimov FAQ". Isaac Asimov Home Page. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  65. ^ "Sir Arthur C. Clarke: The Times obituary". London: Times Online. 2008-03-19. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  66. ^ a b Clarke, Arthur C. (1999) [1991]. "Credo". Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!. First appearing in Living Philosophies, Clifton Fadiman, ed. (Doubleday). New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 358–363. ISBN 978-0312267452. Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  67. ^ Midwee01
  68. ^ "…Stanley [Kubrick] is a Jew and I'm an atheist". Clarke quoted in Jeromy Agel (Ed.) (1970). The Making of Kubrick's 2001: p.306
  69. ^ The International Academy Of Humanism at the web site of the Council for Secular Humanism. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  70. ^ a b Cherry, Matt (1999). "God, Science, and Delusion: A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke". Free Inquiry (Amherst, New York: Council for Secular Humanism) 19 (2). ISSN 0272-0701. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  71. ^ Matthew, Teague (August 1, 2004). "Childhood's End: A too-brief encounter with Arthur C. Clarke, the grand old man of science-fiction visionaries". Popular Science. ISSN 0161-7370. Archived from the original on August 1, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2010 
  72. ^ Clarke, Arthur C.; Watts, Alan (January). At the Interface: Technology and Mysticism. 19. Chicago, Ill.: HMH Publishing. 94. ISBN 0032-1478. OCLC 3534353. 
  73. ^ a b "Mysterious world strange skies 3 of 3". YouTube. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  74. ^ "TIME Quotes of the Day". <a alt="Time Logo" title=" Home Page" href="/time"></a>. 2008-03-19.,26174,1723669,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  75. ^ Jeff Greenwald (July/August 1993). "Arthur C. Clarke On Life". Wired (San Francisco: Condé Nast) 1.03. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 17 August 2009 
  76. ^ José Cordeiro (July/August 2008). The Futurist Interviews Sir. Arthur C. Clarke. 42. Bethesda, Maryland: World Future Society. ISSN 0016-3317. Retrieved 16 August 2009 
  77. ^ Andrew Robinson (10 October 1997). "The cosmic godfather". Times Higher Education (London: TSL Education Ltd.). ISSN 0049-3929. Retrieved 17 August 2009 
  78. ^ Guy Riddihough, Review of The City and the Stars  in Science , (4 July 2008) Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 42 - 43 doi:10.1126/science.1161705: What marks the book out are Clarke's sweeping vistas, grand ideas, and ultimately optimistic view of humankind's future in the cosmos.
  79. ^ "Arthur C. Clarke Quotes". Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  80. ^ McLellan, Dennis (19 March 2008). "Arthur C. Clarke, 90; scientific visionary, acclaimed writer of '2001: A Space Odyssey'". Los Angeles Times.,1,1990610,full.story. 
  81. ^ "Randi shares some stories regarding his friend Arthur C. Clarke and compares Stanley Kubrick to Steve Jobs". Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  82. ^ Arthur C. Clarke and Peter Hyams. The Odyssey File. Ballantine Books, 1984.
  83. ^ Excerpt from The Odyssey File.
  84. ^ "Freeman Still Pushes Rama". Sci Fi Wire - The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel. 14-March-03. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  85. ^ "Rendezvous with Rama". Revelations Entertainment Web site. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  86. ^ "David Fincher and Quint talk about everything from A(lien3) to Z(odiac)!!!". AICN. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  87. ^ Alex Billington (October 13, 2008). "David Fincher's Rendezvous with Rama Officially Dead". Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  88. ^ Weintraub, Steve 'Frosty' (December 30, 2010). "David Fincher Exclusive Interview! Talks SOCIAL NETWORK, DRAGON TATTOO, 20,000 LEAGUES, Editing, How He Makes Movies, More". Retrieved January 5, 2011. 
  89. ^ "Extra-Terrestrial Relays — Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?". Arthur C. Clarke. October 1945. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  90. ^ "Basics of Space Flight Section 1 Part 5, Geostationary Orbits". NASA. Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  91. ^ Earl, Michael A. (January 9, 2006). "A sea of satellite dishes". The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  92. ^ Pierce, John R. (December 1990 (article)). "ECHO - America's First Communications Satellite". Reprinted from SMEC Vintage Electrics Volume 2 #1. Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications and Computation. Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  93. ^ "Final Thoughts from Sir Arthur C. Clarke". March 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  94. ^ Kelso, Dr. T. S. (1998-05-01). "Basics of the Geostationary Orbit". Satellite Times. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  95. ^ Clarke, Arthur C. (1984). Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry Into the Limits of the Possible. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Wilson. pp. 205n. ISBN 0030697832.  "INTELSAT, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation which operates the global system, has started calling it the Clarke orbit. Flattered though I am, honesty compels me to point out that the concept of such an orbit predates my 1945 paper 'Extra Terrestrial Relays' by at least twenty years. I didn't invent it, but only annexed it."
  96. ^ 1956 Hugo Awards
  97. ^ Summary List of UNESCO Prizes: List of Prizewinners, p. 12
  98. ^ "Franklin Laureate Database". Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  99. ^ Peebles, Curtis. "Names of US manned spacecraft". Spaceflight, Vol. 20, 2, Fev. 1978. Spaceflight. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  100. ^ Arthur C. Clarke - Awards
  101. ^ Burns, John F. "Colombo Journal; A Nonfiction Journey to a More Peaceful World" New York Times, 28 November 1994
  102. ^ Iain Thomson (19 March 2008). Sir Arthur C Clarke dies. Information World Reviews. Oxford: VNU Business Publications. OCLC 61313783. Retrieved 18 August 2009 
  103. ^ "Sir Arthur Clarke Named Recipient of 2004 Heinlein Award" (Press release). 22 May 2004. Retrieved 20 June 2009. 
  104. ^ A Speedy and safe journey to Galle
  105. ^ First phase opens in August
  106. ^
  107. ^ "Arthur C. Clarke Memorial Trophy Interschool Astronomy Quiz Competition Article copied from: Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives This and more astronomy related articles on". SKYLk. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  108. ^ Sir Arthur C Clarke Quiz Competition 2011, link retrieved 21 June 2011.
  109. ^ "1963 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  110. ^ "1973 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  111. ^ "1974 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  112. ^ "1979 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  113. ^ "1980 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  114. ^ "1983 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 

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