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Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. ClarkeAKA Arthur Charles Clarke

Born: 16-Dec-1917
Birthplace: Minehead, Somerset, England
Died: 19-Mar-2008
Location of death: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Colombo General Cemetery, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Gender: Male
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Bisexual [1]
Occupation: Novelist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Military service: RAF (1941-46)

Science fiction icon Arthur C. Clarke was one of the world's best-selling authors of science fiction and was widely considered one of the masters of the genre. Deemed on par with authors like Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein, he was especially identified with his novels Childhood's End, Rendezvous with Rama, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clarke's fiction is credited with combining flawlessly accurate technical details with such philosophically expansive themes as "spiritual" rebirth and the search for man's place in the universe. The recipient of at least three Hugo Awards and two Nebulas, as well as a host of other acknowledgements, he was also well recognized as an inventor, an editor, and a science commentator.

Arthur Charles Clarke was born 16 December 1917 in the English coastal town of Minehead, in Somerset. The eldest of four children, he enjoyed stargazing as a child and had a great enthusiasm for sci-fi pulp magazines like Astounding Stories. When Clarke was 14 his father died and the family's savings declined. His mother offered riding lessons to offset their money troubles, but she was unable to provide enough money for her son to attend university. Clarke was forced to look for work, at last taking a position as an auditor, but continued to pursue his earlier scientific interests. His apartment eventually became headquarters to the British Interplanetary Society, with Clarke becoming its chairman in 1949. Even as he served as a radar specialist in the RAF during World War II, he was simultaneously writing and submitting science fiction stories and technical papers. His first piece of fiction to see publication was "Rescue Party", in Astounding Science, May 1946.

Of his various technical and scientific papers, one of them, "Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?" (Wireless World, 1945) introduced the concept that geostationary satellites could make excellent telecommunications relays. So influential was this work that Clarke is credited as the inventor of the first communications satellite, a scientific development which earned him the gold medal of the Franklin Institute, the Lindbergh Award, the Marconi Award, the Vikram Sarabhai Professorship of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, and the Fellowship of King's College, London. In addition, the geostationary orbit (at 42,000 kilometers above Earth) is named "The Clarke Orbit". In 1954, almost ten years after this development, Clarke's correspondence with Dr. Harry Wexler (then chief of the Scientific Services Division, US Weather Bureau) led to a new branch of meteorology that utilized rockets and satellites for weather forecasting.

After the war, Clarke finally had enough funds to enter King's College to continue his formal stuidies. During three weeks of summer holiday in 1947, he wrote his first novel, Prelude to Space. In 1948, after graduating with honors in physics and mathematics, he took the position of Assistant Editor for Science Abstracts (1949-51). But Clarke's interest in writing his own fiction and non-fiction continued undiminished, and after a few years he was able to devote himself full time to writing.

In the 1950s Clarke developed an interest in undersea exploration. He visited Sri Lanka, learned how to dive, and wrote several books and articles on the Indian Ocean. Clarke also worked with friend Mike Wilson in filming the Great Barrier Reef, an experience which inspired his novel The Deep Range. In 1956 Clarke moved permanently to Sri Lanka, a change of locale that would show its subtle influence in such works as The Fountains of Paradise (which also introduced his "space elevator" concept) and the Rama series. (It is worth noting that Clarke, and his staff, survived unscathed during the devastating 2004 tsunami that walloped coastal Sri Lanka and various other areas around the Indian Ocean. Clarke did lose a considerable amount of diving-related equipment which was washed out to sea.)

In 1962, Clarke's undersea explorations were put on hold for a time, after an accidental blow to the head left him temporarily paralyzed. Then, in 1964, he began an entirely new project: collaborating with Stanley Kubrick on the development of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Although loosely based on Clarke's short story "The Sentinel" (1951), the project required Clarke to generate an entire novel, all while Kubrick was simultaneously working on the film (which proved to be an odd but productive interchange). In 1968 the novel was published, and in that same year Clarke and Kubrick shared an Oscar nomination for the film. In 1985, Clarke published 2010: Odyssey Two and worked with Peter Hyams on a film version. Other novels in the series have included 2061: Odyssey Three (1988) and 3001: The Final Odyssey (1996).

In 1969, already regarded as one of the chief prophets of the space age, Clarke joined CBS newsman Walter Cronkite and astronaut Wally Schirra in narrating the landmark Apollo 11 lunar landing. Clarke returned for coverage of Apollo missions 12 and 15. Later, he served as first Chancellor of the International Space University formed by Peter Diamandis, presiding from 1989 to 2004.

But while Clarke was extremely well known for his interest in space, he also held a lifelong fascination with the paranormal (reflected in his novel Childhood's End). He published a number of works on the topic (some in conjunction with professional skeptic James Randi), and he produced such related television programs as Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World (1981) and Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers (1984). Clarke admits to having once been duped by Uri Geller during a demonstration at Birkbeck College. But in the spirit of true scientific objectivity he advocated continued research into alleged instances of telekinesis and other paranormal phenomena.

In 1988 Clarke sufferred a return to mobility problems and he was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome (an affliction shared by author Robert Anton Wilson). The condition eventually confined him to a wheelchair. Ten years later, in 1998, Clarke's was about to be invested with knighhood when another setback struck: the British tabloid The Sunday Mirror accused Clarke of being a pedophile. Although the allegations were ultimately discredited, the scandal delayed his investiture some two years. Due to his wheelchair and health limitations, Sir Arthur's ceremony was performed in his adopted home of Sri Lanka by the UK High Commissioner.

In the new millenium, Arthur C. Clarke continued to publish substantial new work. In addition to his fiction and his science works, he also published two autobiographies: Ascent to Orbit and Astounding Days. His correspondence with various figures (director Peter Hyams, author C. S. Lewis, etc.) have been published in various volumes, and many of his essays can be found in Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!. Neil McAleer's Arthur C. Clarke: The Authorized Biography was published in 1992.

In addition to writing, Clarke served as the Honorary Board Chair of the Institute for Cooperation in Space (founded by Dr. Carol Rosin), and his legacy is being defined and preserved under the auspices of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation. Among his many distinctions, and in addition to the Clarke Orbit, Sir Arthur could also boast both an asteroid (4923 Clarke) as well as a species of Ceratopsian dinosaur, Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei, named in his honor. In 1986 the Arthur C. Clarke Award was established to encourage excellence in British science fiction.


[1] In 1953, Clarke married Marilyn Mayfield, an American. The relationship ended a mere 6 months later. About his marriage he later explained: "The marriage was incompatible from the beginning. It was sufficient proof that I wasn't the marrying type, although I think everybody should marry once." Asked by Playboy if he had bisexual experiences, he answered, "Of course. Who hasn't? Good God! If anyone had ever told me that he hadn't, I'd have told him he was lying. But then, of course, people tend to forget their encounters. I don't want to go into detail about my own life, but I just want it to be noted that I have a rather relaxed, sympathetic attitude about it -- and that's something I've not really said out loud before. Let's move on." Playboy, June 1986, page 66. In 1998, prior to his scheduled knighting by Prince Charles, The Mirror (a London tabloid) reported that he paid underage boys for sex, with affidavits as evidence. After those were later shown to be falsified, he told The Guardian, "I take an extremely dim view of people mucking about with boys. The whole thing was distressing to me. It was vindictive and very unpleasant. I can only assume it was a plot to embarrass Prince Charles."

Father: Charles Wright Clarke (d. May-1931)
Mother: Mary Nora Willis
Brother: Frederick William (b. 1921, former director of Arthur C. Clarke Foundation)
Sister: Mary
Brother: Michael
Wife: Marilyn Mayfield (m. 15-Jun-1953, separated Dec-1953, div. 1964)

    High School: Huish's Grammar School, Taunton, England (1936)
    University:
BS Physics & Mathematics, King's College London (1948)
    Administrator: Moratuwa University, Sri Lanka (1979-2002)
    Administrator: International Space University (1989-2004)

    American Astronautical Society Fellow
    British Science Fiction Association President
    Institute for Cooperation in Space Honorary Board Chair
    International Academy of Humanism Laureate
    National Space Society Board of Governors
    Planetary Society Advisory Council
    Royal Astronomical Society
    Hugo
    Knight of the British Empire (Knight Bachelor) 26-May-2000
    Nebula
    Asteroid Namesake 4923 Clarke
    Risk Factors: Polio

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    Without Warning (30-Oct-1994) · Himself

Is the subject of books:
Arthur C. Clarke: The Authorized Biography, 1992, BY: Neil McAleer

Author of books:
Tales from the White Hart (1940, collection)
Interplanetary Flight (1950, nonfiction)
Prelude to Space (1951)
Sands of Mars (1951)
The Exploration of Space (1951, nonfiction)
Islands in the Sky (1952)
Against the Fall of the Night (1953)
Childhood's End (1953)
Expedition to Earth (1953, collection)
The Deep Range (1954)
The Exploration of the Moon (1954, nonfiction)
The Young Traveller in Space (1954, nonfiction)
Earthlight (1955)
Reach for Tomorrow (1956, collection)
The City and the Stars (1956)
The Coast of Coral (1956, nonfiction, Blue Planet series)
Reefs of Taprobane (1957)
The Making of a Moon (1957, nonfiction)
Boy Beneath the Sea (1958, nonfiction)
The Challenge of the Spaceship (1958, nonfiction)
The Other Side of the Sky (1958, collection)
Voice Across the Sea (1958, nonfiction)
Across the Sea of Stars (1959, collection)
The Challenge of the Sea (1960, nonfiction)
The First Five Fathoms (1960, nonfiction)
A Fall of Moondust (1961)
Indian Ocean Adventure (1961)
Master of Space (1961)
From the Ocean, From the Stars (1962, omnibus collection)
Profiles of the Future (1962, nonfiction)
Tales of Ten Worlds (1962, collection)
Dolphin Island: A Story of the People of the Sea (1963)
Glide Path: To The Heart of Experimental Technology... In WWII! (1963)
Indian Ocean Treasure (1964, nonfiction, with Mike Wilson)
The Treasure of the Great Reef (1964, nonfiction, Blue Planet series)
Prelude to Mars (1965, omnibus collection)
Voices from the Sky (1965, nonfiction)
Man and Space: Life Science Library (1967, nonfiction)
The Coming of the Space Age (1967, nonfiction)
The Nine Billion Names of God (1967, collection)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
2001: Filming the Future (1968, nonfiction, with Piers Bizony)
An Arthur C. Clarke Second Omnibus (1968, collection)
The Lion of Comarre: And Other Stories (1968, collection)
The Promise of Space (1968, nonfiction)
The Space Dreamers (1969)
First on the Moon (1970, nonfiction)
Earthlight And Other Stories (1971, collection)
Into Space (1971, nonfiction, with Robert Silverberg)
Beyond Jupiter (1972, nonfiction, with Chesley Bonestell)
Of Time and Stars (1972, collection)
Rendezvous with Rama (1972)
Report on Planet Three: And Other Speculations (1972, nonfiction)
The Lost Worlds of 2001 (1972, nonfiction)
The Wind from the Sun (1972)
The Best of Arthur C. Clarke 1937-1955 (1973, collection)
2001 and Beyond (1975, nonfiction)
Imperial Earth (1975)
Technology and the Frontiers of Knowledge (1975, nonfiction)
Best of Arthur C. Clarke: 1956-1972 (1977, collection)
The View from Serendip (1977)
Four Great SF Novels (1978, collection)
Possessed: And Other Stories (1978, collection)
The Fountains of Paradise (1978)
Mysterious Worlds (1980, nonfiction)
Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers (1981, nonfiction, with John Fairley)
2010: Odyssey Two (1982)
Lion of Comarre and Against the Fall of Night (1982, collection)
The Sentinel (1982, collection)
1984 Spring: A Choice of Futures (1984, nonfiction)
Ascent to Orbit: Scientific Autobiography - Technical Writings of Arthur C.Clarke (1984, nonfiction)
The Odyssey File (1984, nonfiction, with Peter Hyams)
2061: Odyssey Three (1985)
Frontline of Discovery: Science on the Brink of Tomorrow (1985, nonfiction)
More Than One Universe (1985, nonfiction)
Arthur C. Clarke's July 20, 2019: Life in the 21st Century (1986, nonfiction)
The Songs of Distant Earth: And Other Stories (1986, collection)
Arthur C. Clarke's chronicles of the strange and mysterious (1987, nonfiction, with John Fairley)
Cradle (1987, with Gentry Lee)
Astounding Days: A Science Fictional Autobiography (1988, nonfiction)
How the World Was One: Beyond the Global Village (1988, nonfiction)
The Best Short Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (1988, collection)
The Worlds of Galileo (1988, nonfiction)
Rama II (1989, with Gentry Lee)
Tales from Planet Earth (1989, collection)
A Meeting with Medusa: And Other Stories (1990, collection)
Beyond the Fall of Night (1990, with Gregory Benford)
The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1990)
The Garden of Rama (1991, with Gentry Lee)
An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural: James Randi's Decidedly Skeptical Definitions of Alternate Realities (1992, nonfiction, with James Randi)
The Fantastic Muse (1992, nonfiction)
By Space Possessed (1993, nonfiction)
Rama Revealed (1993, with Gentry Lee)
The Hammer of God (1993)
Arthur C. Clarke's A-Z of Mysteries (1994, nonfiction)
The Apollo 11 Moon Landing (1994, nonfiction)
The Colours of Infinity (1994, nonfiction)
The Snows of Olympus: A Garden on Mars (1994, nonfiction)
Breaking Strain: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1995)
The Supernatural A-Z (1995, nonfiction, with James Randi)
3001: The Final Odyssey (1996)
Richter 10 (1996, with Mike McQuay)
Macroshift: Navigating the Transformation to a Sustainable World (1997)
Arthur C. Clarke and Lord Dunsany: A Correspondence (1998, nonfiction, with Lord Dunsany)
Arthur C. Clarke's Mysteries (1998, nonfiction, with John Fairley and Simon Welfare)
Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! (1999, nonfiction)
The Trigger (1999, with Michael P Kube-McDowell)
Welcome to the Wired World: The New Networked Economy (1999, nonfiction)
Sri Lanka: The Emerald Island (2000, nonfiction)
The Light of Other Days (2000, with Stephen Baxter)
Arthur C. Clarke and C. S. Lewis: A Correspondence (2001, nonfiction, with C. S. Lewis)
Space Trilogy (2001, omnibus collection)
The City and the Stars / The Sands of Mars (2001, omnibus collection)
The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (2001, collection)
The Ghost from the Grand Banks and the Deep Range (2001, collection)
The Shining Ones: And Other Stories (2001, collection)
Moonwatcher's Memoir: A Diary of 2001, a Space Odyssey (2002, nonfiction, with Dan Richter)
From Narnia to a Space Odyssey: The War of Letters Between Arthur C. Clarke and C.S. Lewis (2003, nonfiction, with C. S. Lewis)
Time's Eye (2003, with Stephen Baxter)
Sunstorm (2005, with Stephen Baxter)
The Last Theorem (2005)


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