RIP Arthur C. Clarke

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 00:04
VIEWED: 2488
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008 12:45 PM




Science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died aged 90 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, it was confirmed tonight.

Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair, died at 1:30 a.m. after suffering breathing problems, aide Rohan De Silva said.

The visionary author of over 100 books, who predicted the existence of satellites, was most famous for his short story "The Sentinel," on which filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" was based.

He was also credited with inventing the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality.

Clarke was the last surviving member of what was sometimes known as the "Big Three" of science fiction alongside Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.

The son of an English farming family, Clarke was born in the seaside town of Minehead, Somerset, England on December 16, 1917.

After attending schools in his home county, Arthur Clarke moved to London in 1936 and pursued his early interest in space sciences by joining the British Interplanetary Society. He started to contribute to the BIS Bulletin and began to write science fiction.

With the onset of World War II he joined the RAF, eventually becoming an officer in charge of the first radar talk-down equipment, the Ground Controlled Approach, during its experimental trials. Later, his only non-science-fiction novel, Glide Path, was based on this work.

In 1945, a UK periodical magazine "Wireless World" published his landmark technical paper "Extra-terrestrial Relays" in which he first set out the principles of satellite communication with satellites in geostationary orbits - a speculation realised 25 years later. During the evolution of his discovery, he worked with scientists and engineers in the USA in the development of spacecraft and launch systems, and addressed the United Nations during their deliberations on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Today, the geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometres above the Equator is named The Clarke Orbit by the International Astronomical Union.

Despite his vast contribution Clarke still is best known as a visionary science fiction writer.

The first story he sold professionally was "Rescue Party", written in March 1945 and appearing in Astounding Science in May 1946. He went on to become a prolific writer of science fiction, renowned worldwide.

In 1964, he started to work with the noted film producer Stanley Kubrick on a science fiction movie script. Four years later, he shared an Oscar nomination with Kubrick at the Hollywood Academy Awards for the film version of "2001: A Space Odyssey".

In television, Clarke worked alongside Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra for the CBS coverage of the Apollo 12 and 15 space missions. His thirteen-part TV series Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World in 1981 and Arthur C. Clarke's World of strange Powers in 1984 have been screened in many countries and he has contributed to other TV series about space, such as Walter Cronkite's Universe series in 1981.

Clarke first visited Colombo, Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) in December 1954 and has lived there since 1956, pursuing an enthusiasm for underwater exploration along that coast and on the Great Barrier Reef.

In 1998, his lifetime work was recognised when he was honoured with a Knighthood – formally conferred by Prince Charles in Sri Lanka two years later.

In recent years, he has been largely confined to a wheelchair due to post-polio syndrome, but his output as a writer continued undiminished.

Brilliant man, brilliant imagination. May he rest in peace.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008 1:34 PM


Damn, Buckley, Gygax and Clarke all within a month, that just kinda sucks.

And not so many imaginative folk to take up the torch, sigh.

Ok, folks, get to humpin - if we can't spark it educationally, it's time for the million monkey method, go create some writers!

Gonna miss ya, Mister Clarke



Tuesday, March 18, 2008 2:12 PM


Frem have you tried Neal Stephenson?


Tuesday, March 18, 2008 2:19 PM


Eternal life grant unto him, may perpetual light shine upon him.

He touched a hell of a lot of lives, and made the world a more wondrous place through his being in it.

We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008 5:36 PM


He was one of the first Sci Fi writers I ever read... and he created amazing "worlds". He will be missed. And condolences to his family.

Great writer- now exploring the great beyond.



Tuesday, March 18, 2008 6:18 PM


Chindi - for me, too, he was the first sci-fi writer I ever read and the possibilities he opened up for me still echo today.

You are beholden to no man


Tuesday, March 18, 2008 6:29 PM



Originally posted by CrevanReaver:

Brilliant man, brilliant imagination. May he rest in peace.

I'd known he'd been unwell for quite a time...Still , somehow this comes as a shock.

Literally , he touched billions of lives on this planet...There aren't many about which that can be said...

One of my friends had some exchanges with him , and he was a person of huge curiousity and imagination , which goes without saying...

His long Odyssey with Kubrick during the making of 2001 ultimately had a profound effect on huge numbers of people...Including the crew of Apollo 8 , who'd seen the film and consequently found the reality somewhat less exciting , in some respects...


Wednesday, March 19, 2008 12:04 AM


America loves a winner!

Ironic, I had just brought up ACC's name yesterday while talking to a friend. Hadn't thought of him in a long while. Brilliant imaginative mind, but I'm less enthralled w/ some of his personal life choices, if what is said about him is true.

90's a good go at it, regardless. May he RIP.

It is not those who use the term "Islamo-Fascism" who are sullying the name of Islam; it is the Islamo-Fascists. - Dennis Prager

" They don't like it when you shoot at 'em. I worked that out myself. "






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