ARTHUR C. CLARKE Biography - Writers


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Arthur C. Clarke was born at the coast town of Minehead, as the eldest of four             
children. He became interested in science in early age, and constructed his                 
first telescope at thirteen. Clarke's father died when he was fourteen and his             
mother, left with her children, gave riding lessons to augment the family income.While     
in school, Clarke started to writes 'fantastic' stories and read eagerly the               
magazine Astounding Stories. He also read works from such writers as H.G. Wells             
and Jules Verne and looked at the stars through his homemade telescopes. On                 
leaving school he worked in the Exchequer and Adult Department in London.His               
apartment became the headquarters of the British Interplanetary Society, and in             
1949 he became its chairman. Clarke served from 1941 to 1946 in the Royal Air               
Force, specializing in radar, and sold during the service his first science-fiction         
stories. In 1945, he wrote a technical paper that was the forerunner of                     
communication satellites. The essay war reprinted in ASCENT TO ORBIT, a                     
collection of his technical writings, that he brought out after receiving the               
Marconi Award in 1982 for his contributions to communicationstechnology.                   
After the war, Clarke entered King's College, London, and took his B.Sc. with               
honors in physics and mathematics in 1948. His first published novel, PRELUDE TO           
SPACE, was written in three weeks during the summer of 1947. From 1949 to 1951,             
he was an assistant editor of Physics Abstracts. Since 1952, Clarke has been a             
full-time writer. In the 1950s, Clarke became interested in undersea exploration           
and moved to Sri Lanka, writing several fiction and nonfiction books and                   
articles about the Indian Ocean. With his friend Mike Wilson, he filmed the                 
Great Barrier Reef of Australia, from which his novel THE DEEP RANGE (1957)                 
derives.Clarke also worked as a director of Rocket Publishing, London,                     
Underwater Safaris, Colombo, and Spaceward Corporation, New York.                           
In 1962 Clarke became completely paralyzed after an accidental blow on the head.           
He wrote DOLPHIN ISLAND as his farewell to the sea. After recovering Clarke                 
started his cooperation with the director Stanley Kubrick and later he                     
accompanied his friend Mike Wilson on an underwater adventure six miles off the             
coast of Sri Lanka, which was depicted in THE TREASURE OF THE GREAT REEF (1964).However,   
Clarke still spent over six months out of his beloved island because of tax laws.           
In 1975, the Indian government presented him with a satellite dish, with which             
he was able to receive programs broadcast from experimental satellite ATS6.                 
In the 1980s Clarke was a presenter of the television series Arthur C. Clarke's             
Mysterious World (1980) and World of Strange Powers (1985). He lectured widely             
in Britain and in the United States. In 1980 he was Vikram Sarabhai Professor at           
Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, India. Until 1982 Clarke had written             
his books with a typewriter, but after the arrival of his first computer - 5 MB             
of memory - he used only his word processor.                                               
Among Clarke's best-known work is the short story THE SENTINEL (1951) about man's           
contact with sentient life. In the spring of 1964, Clarke retired to Hotel                 
Chelsea in New York and started to write a novel about a space travel. His                 
illustrious acquaintances during this period included Arthur Miller, Andy Warhol,           
Allen Ginsberg, and Norman Mailer. Clarke's work became the basis of the novel             
and film 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968), for which Clarke wrote the scriptwith               
Stanley Kubrick. In the story, a mysterious monolith is found buried beneath the           
surface of the moon. It sends a signal towards Jupiter. To solve the mystery               
astronauts are sent to Jupiter with the help of the super-computer HAL 9000.               
With the amazing computer, Clarke presents one of the basic philosophical                   
questions: can there be intelligence without consciousness? After series of                 
accidents and HAL's operations, one of the astronauts, David Bowman, is left               
alone as the ship reaches the planet.He embarks on the final step in humankind's           
next developmental stage. Clarke continued the Odyssey Saga in three sequels,               
2010: ODYSSEY TWO (1982), 2061: ODYSSEY THREE (1988), and 3001: THE FINAL                   
ODYSSEY (1996).                                                                             
Clarke's other works include CHILDHOOD'S END (1953), a story about the beginning           
of the age of Humankind after Overlords have eliminated ignorance, disease and             
poverty, EARTHLIGHT (1955), A FALL OF MOONDUST (1961), a tale of marooned moon             
schooner, RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA (1973), in which a research team is sent to                 
investigate a cylindrical object hurtling through the solar system, and THE                 
FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE (1979). In the 1980s Clarkewrote with Gentry Lee, the                 
chief engineer on Project Galileo, CRADLE (1988), originally conceived as a                 
movie project, and RAMA II 1989). Clarke's catastrophe novel THE HAMMER OF GOOD             
(1993) about an asteroid hurtling toward Earth, anticipated such films as Deep             
Impact (1998) and Armageddon (1998).                                                       
The Kubrick/Clarke vision from 1968 of computers and space programs at the turn             
of the century did not came true. There are no HAL-like computers with                     
artificial intelligence that could say: "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do             
that..." and continue with their own plans. In an interview, Clarke stated: "We             
science-fiction writers never attempt to predict. In fact, it's the exact                   
opposite. As my friend Ray Bradbury said, 'We do this not to predict the future             
but to prevent it.'"(Newsweek, December 2000-February 2001, special edition)               
Clarke is fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and recipient of many awards             
for his science fiction. He was the guest of honour at the 1956 World Science               
Fiction Convention, when he won a Hugo for his story 'The Star'. Rendezvous with           
Rama won the Nebula and Hugo Awards, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.Clarke         
has also won the Franklin Gold Medal, and in 1962 the UNESCO-Kalinga Prize for             
popularizing science. He married Marilyn Mayfield in 1954 (divorced 1964).                 
Clarke's Venus Prime series is franchised to Paul Preuss.                                   
Among Clarke's central themes in his fiction is the "spiritual" rebirth and the             
search for man's place in the universe. However, his technological details are             
flawless, and often he has guessed right new advances in science. "Any                     
sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." In Rendezvous           
with Rama the discussions of a research team form an allegory for the great                 
question of the meaning of life. 2001 traces the evolution of man and humanity's           
quest for existential answers, symbolized by the unearthly monolith. In the                 
sequels technological progress allows to reveal some of the secrets behind the             
monolith. In an article from 1999, 'The Twentieth-First Century: A (Very) Brief             
History,' Clarke predicts that the last coal mine is closed in 2006, a city in a           
third world country is devastated in 2009 by the accidental explosion of an A-bomb         
in its armory, and in 2014 starts the construction of Hilton Orbiter Hotel.