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Arthur C. Clarke| 1917-2008

In science fiction, he saw the future

Arthur Clarke poses on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 1968 film that made him known worldwide, in the late 1960s. The screenplay was based on his 1951 short story The Sentinel. His work inspired the names of spacecraft and an asteroid.

Associated Press file photo

Arthur Clarke poses on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 1968 film that made him known worldwide, in the late 1960s. The screenplay was based on his 1951 short story The Sentinel. His work inspired the names of spacecraft and an asteroid.

Arthur C. Clarke, the world-famous science-fiction writer, futurist and unofficial poet laureate of the space age, died of a respiratory ailment March 18 at his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was 90.

Mr. Clarke co-wrote, with director Stanley Kubrick, the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is regarded by many as one of the most important science fiction films made.

A prolific writer, with more than 100 published books, he was praised for his ability to foresee the possibilities of human innovation and explain them to nonscientific readers.

In 1945 he first proposed the idea of communications satellites that could be based in geostationary orbits, which keep satellites in a fixed position relative to the ground.

The orbit is now named Clarke Orbit by the International Astronomical Union.

"He had influenced the world in the best way possible," writer Ray Bradbury said in Neil McAleer's 1992 book Arthur C. Clarke: The Authorized Biography. "Arthur's ideas have sent silent engines into space to speak in tongues. His fabulous communications satellite ricocheted about in his head long before it leaped over the mountains and flatlands of the Earth."

In addition to his books, he wrote more than 1,000 short stories and essays. One of his short stories, Dial F for Frankenstein (1964), inspired British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee to invent the World Wide Web in 1989.

He was knighted in 1998, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 and received the Franklin Institute gold medal, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-Kalinga Prize and other honors.

Mr. Clarke, a resident of Sri Lanka since 1956, worked with Jacques Cousteau and others to help perfect scuba equipment. Disabled by post-polio syndrome, Mr. Clarke said diving was as close as he could get to the weightless feeling of space.

His latest science fiction novel, The Last Theorem, is scheduled to be published this year.

'2001' and beyond

Arthur C. Clarke is best known for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). He also wrote three sequels, 2010: Odyssey Two (1982), 2061: Odyssey Three (1988) and 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997). He wrote more than 100 books, including:

Prelude to Space (1951)

The Sands of Mars (1951)

Dolphin Island (1963)

Rendezvous With Rama (1972)

The Fountains of Paradise (1979)

A Meeting With Medusa (1988)

The Ghost from the Grand Banks (1990)

The Hammer of God (1993)

Firstborn (2007, with Stephen Baxter)

In science fiction, he saw the future 03/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:43am]

    

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