Arthur C. Clarke


SF Legend Clarke Dies In Sri LankaArthur C. Clarke–the visionary science fiction writer who won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future–died March 18 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, the Associated Press reported. He was 90.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 told the AP.

Clarke moved to Sri Lanka in 1956, lured by his interest in marine diving, which he said was as close as he could get to the weightless feeling of space.

Co-author with Stanley Kubrick of Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke was regarded as far more than a science fiction writer.

He was credited with the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality. Geosynchronous orbits, which keep satellites in a fixed position relative to the ground, are called Clarke orbits.

From me, as a writer and fan, this sucks.  Clarke’s stories were some of the few hard SF works that, while still grounded in real science, actually move along briskly, interestingly, and don’t read like physics books. 


~ by Sean on March 18, 2008.

7 Responses to “Arthur C. Clarke”

  1. If you don’t have ’em on DVD already, then you owe it to yourself to track ’em down.

  2. I’ve read Childhood’s end but didn’t really get it. I saw 2001 and didn’t really get it. I saw 2010 and maybe got it. There were things i liked in them, but not the whole. What am I missing?

  3. Nothing really, Micha. I love 2010, like 2001, hate 2061 and never read 3001. I liked Clarke’s way of looking at huge and vast ideas and concepts. For me, that makes some of his work interesting. But Clarke wasn’t the best character writer. 2010 the movie was, for me, better than the book because of how the actors played the roles they had. Clarke’s fiction doesn’t really paint the characters with a lot of life as consistently as I would have liked.

    There have been works of his where I recognized the genius and the scope of that genius and respected it, but I couldn’t get into the story because of the week characters. That’s often the biggest complaint that I hear from others as well. That may be your issue. If not, I have no idea. How about throwing us a little critique on a story to give us a clue as to what it was that you feel that you didn’t get about it.

  4. A friend gave me a book of his short stories. They work better I think because you don’t have to put a lot of character into them all the time.

  5. About Childhood’s End: I found the first half with the aliens intriguing. I wanted to see where it is going. But then it was as if that story collapsed and was replaced by this cosmic extravaganza I didn’t really get.

    It was similar with 2001 (the movie). It starts interesting. Then you have the HAL story, which was very compelling. And then a strange cosmic extravaganza that had me scratching my head.

    2010 (the movie) felt more satisfying. The HAL story was resolved somehow, and I think I got the resolution of monolith story. It felt more connected to the begining of 2001. i don’t know why, but this cosmic ending made more sense to me.

  6. 2010 was more of a complete, self contained story. I’ve always looked at 2001 as three different stories. There’s The Discovery, where they find the Megalith on the moon. There’s the Malfunction, wheere HAL goes loopy. Then there’s the Ascension, where Dave goes beyond. For all the effects and cosmic implications in 2001, the story itself is kind of clumsy.

  7. Sean, you’re right, 2001 had three stories. I liked the first two, but not the third one. in this and in Childhood’s end I felt unsatisfied with the flashy but bizarre ending.

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