Happy 90th Birthday Arthur and thanks for many, many hours spent lost in one of your books. My faves are "Childhoods End", "The City and the Stars" and "Rendezvous with Rama".
Famed sci-fi writer Sir Arthur C Clarke took a detour into the fairytale genre at his 90th birthday party this week, detailing his three wishes. At the celebration the author said he would like to see takeup of cleaner power sources, lasting peace in his adopted homeland Sri Lanka, and evidence of intelligent alien life. …
Happy birthday to the man that predicted telecommunications satellites, (almost predicted that every phone call, local and international would be free by 2000), and has and continues to enthrall me with visionary works such as the aforementioned Space Odyssey series, Rendezvous With Rama series, The City and the Stars, and many more.
Arthur C Clarke stands out as an oasis of rational calm in our violent, irrational world. His visions of the future are unfailingly positive and optimistic. Not for him nightmares of global destruction or dystopias like those of Soylent Green or Blade Runner. For Clarke, there are no really convincing reasons why mankind should not use science to go on bettering itself more or less indefinitely. We should honour and appreciate him for this, even more than for his brilliant science fiction. And let's not forget that he invented the communications satellite, too!
Arthur C. Clarke was the first SF author I read, closely followed by the kings of the Golden Age, but it was Clarke who made me realise that the future was coming, and it wouldn't always be the High Frontier of Americans in spacesuits. He wrote of the arrival of aliens both on Earth and in space (still waiting), the space elevator (closer than he imagined 25 years ago) and created the foundations for the world of the future that still often remains just around the corner. He has seen 2001 pass with no hotel in space, and no human beings outside of Earth orbit: I hope he lives long enough to see one or the other happen. Happy birthday Sir Arthur, may there be many more.
Sir Arthur was born in Minehead, Somerset and his brother Fred stil lives near there, commenting this week in the local press that ACC is well, if wheelchair bound, and still has a great affection for his home town. I remember sitting in the freezing cold Regal fleapit there about 20 years ago, mesmerised by this real gent's reminiscences, predictions and impromptu lecture from the dusty stage as he introduced "Space Odyssey", which I watched with new eyes.
The Mayor of Minehead said "nobody has suggested doing anything" and the scandal ridden West Somerset Council said "We have no plans" regarding commemorating their most famous resident's achievements or birthday. Makes you proud, no?
I loved the space oddesy series, and the Rama series, although my favourite is A Fall Of Moondust.
As for a favourite quote:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic"
which has been adapted in so many ways, I may have misquoted it. Apologies!
I am extinguishing a nasty little flame war brewing over Arthur C. Clarke's supposed sexual proclivities.
This was the outcome of an investigation prompted by a Sunday Mirror article in 1998.
We will not publish anything that suggests otherwise.
May I remind you that under UK libel law, we are responsible for everything YOU write in comments.
along with Tolkien: since not many of his books were translated to my native Finnish at the time, my fascination with science fiction and fantasy stories forced me to try read them in English.
But his style did leave me with a tendency to overuse elipsis...
All the contributers before me have said what I wanted to say!
I grew up on a diet of ACC and Isaac Asimov. To my mind they are the two finest Sci-Fi writers of the 20th Century, between them(and HG Wells)
they predicted almost every 'wonder' that we have today.