Who is Sir Arthur C. Clarke?

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  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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Sir Arthur C. Clarke is best noted for his work which inspired the movie 2001 and its sequel 2010. An avid writer, who always enjoyed the possibilities of real applications of science fiction to science, Clarke is considered one of the big three, or one of the three most important science fiction writers of his age. The other two, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, have predeceased Clarke, who was born in 1916.

Clarke was born and educated in England, and served as a radar specialist for the British Airforce during WWII. After the war ended, Clarke earned degrees in mathematics and physics at King’s College. In addition to being a fine writer, and much inspired by the many pulp science fiction magazines he read as a boy, Sir Arthur C. Clarke was also a gifted scientist and inventor. One of his most famous ideas was his suggestion that satellites could be used to support planetary communications of telecommunications. Though mostly prediction at the point he proposed it, it has clearly come true with the many satellite phones, and GPS devices commonly used.


Clarke is known for his fiction pieces, and for his writing and development of several sci fi based shows for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He is less known for a number of nonfiction works he published during his career. Glide Path for instance, though told in fiction form is autobiographical. Other non-fiction works include The Promise of Space and The Exploration of Space.

The short story that Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote, which later inspired 2001 was called “The Sentinel,” and was rejected in 1948 by the BBC when Clarke submitted it for a short story competition. It was not published until 1951, and it would be another 17 years before the story was significantly edited and changed for the Stanley Kubrick classic sci fi film. “The Sentinel,” remains Clarke’s best-known work, though he also published several novels. These include, Childhood’s End, Rendezvous with Rama, and The City and the Stars. In total he has written over 30 novels, published over ten short story collections, and 30 works of non-fiction.

In addition to being an avid stargazer and interested in all things science and science fiction, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, also enjoyed scuba diving, prompting his move to Sri Lanka. For his contributions to literature and science, Clarke was considered for knighthood in 1998. He refused this initial offer because at the same time, a British tabloid published an inflammatory piece about him that claimed he was a pedophile. Allegations led to investigation by the Sri Lankan government and Clarke was ultimately cleared of all charges of pedophilia. In 2000, he was knighted, and was designated a knight bachelor of England, where he maintains citizenship, though he is also a citizen of Sri Lanka.

Since 1988, Sir Arthur C. Clarke has been partly to totally dependent on a wheel chair as a result of post-polio syndrome. In 2007, he stated that he was completely dependent on a wheel chair and would not travel from Sri Lanka again. His fertile imagination continues to serve him, and he will always be remembered as the man who wrote one of the most important science fiction pieces Earth has yet to receive.


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