Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C Clarke Goes Back to the Stars

Sci-fi legend, the visionary Arthur C. Clarke has died at his home in Sri Lanka aged 90 after experiencing breathing problems. He had been battling post-polio syndrome for half a lifetime.

Clarke was the author of more than 100 books, including 33 novels, the most famous of which is 2001: A Space Odyssey; as well as short-story collections and non-fiction.

Gerald Jonas pens his obituary in the New York Times. Worth reading too on his life and work is this Wikipedia entry.

I will link to other tributes to Clarke as they come online.


GUO SHAO-HUA said...

i disagree. i think his most famous book is Rendezvous With Rama.

bibliobibuli said...

for a fan like you maybe. i must confess i hadn't heard of it.

would you like to say a bit more since you've clearly been a reader who has enjoyed his work?

Anonymous said...

... I must say a great lost to the sci-fi world ...

I do agree with 2001 because the concept is really way ahead of its time. Just like Blade Runner or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip k Dick, where the novel was loosely adapted into a film in 1982 named Blade Runner, and directed by Ridley Scott, or even Solaris by Stanisław Lem, which was also made into a film in 2002, and was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Many of this ideas wasn't really ready and didn't receive rave reviews at that point of time, but does have a cult following. The latest idea from which I know or rather introduce by Authur C Clark is the Space Elevator concept.

I can't say I am a real fan of him, or any of the above, but he does use real facts to write convincing science fiction, and he is one of them that does his homework before writing his work. Just like Philip K Dick and Issac Asimov. I guess where we are today is build out of yesterday dreams and vision.

His latest work which I was reading but didn't come to finish it (a really very bad habit of mine of buying books and never read them) was Sunstorm, a 2005 science fiction novel co-written by Arthur C. Clarke (author of 2001: A Space Odyssey) and Stephen Baxter (an author you have posted in one of your past posting) which also written The H-Bomb Girl (which the greedy me convincing myself, "... go get it ..." again).

"Life is just one big banana. Science fiction allows us all to peel open the reality and discover the yellow truth inside." ~ Arthur C. Clarke

... I guess that is as much as I can say about him, where somehow part of my past till present is also influence by his work. A person can't really ignore him when he/she does have interest in the science world - fiction or non-fiction as well. I guess I will miss wondering with myself about his ideas, which I very much like to do most of the time.

Sorry about this bit of long posting and hope you don't mind. They happen just to flow out and I am just bagging my keyboard to put them here.

** No welcoming note needed here, I am just a regular guy always browsing through your blog daily and thanks for the update again ... :)

gnute said...

Aw. It's the end of an era.

I read 2001:Space Odyssey years ago and was so stimulated by it, I wrote a 1000 word essay refuting his ideas about mankind evolving so much as to appear as veritable gods by other civilisations - and it was purely for my own amusement not for any school assignment.

I'm glad he lived to a ripe old age.

Anonymous said...

There was also some sex scandal he was linked to in Sri Lanka, wasn't there? Allegations of sex with minors.

GUO SHAO-HUA said...

cant call myself an expert or fan, actually. but i've read some of his books, including his non-fiction ones. i have great admiration for his mind, despite the paedophile allegations.

Anon, the 2002 Solaris movie is a remake. the first film adaptation was by the great Andrei Tarkovsky, and it was a far, far superior film.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the info and didn't know that, but I don't think I will ever get chance to see it. You must be a classic buff yourself, but I will try to source for it. Thanks again and will make a point to drop by your blog to chat sometime soon. Do have great day ahead. Thanks again ... :)

GUO SHAO-HUA said...


Alex Tang said...

He will be greatly missed. Another icon gone. My tribute here

GUO SHAO-HUA said...

Mr Tang,

i must politely disagree with your first para. Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Lem, and also Robert Silverberg, did not write stories about ray guns, aliens and damsels in distress. their stories had little or no pulp elements, but were instead very high-concept, extremely complex. this is very true of Stanislaw Lem and Philip K. Dick.

as for L. Ron Hubbard, hmmm, there are some who regard him as a "failed scifi writer" and regard that as why he turned into a self-help guru and finally a religious leader. i put him down there together with Whitley Streiber. some ppl alleged that Streiber made up his abduction by aliens becos his books weren't selling well.

Alex Tang said...

hi, interesting that you disagree with me about those science fiction authors I mentioned (Robert Silverberg, Philip K. Dick and Streiber comes much later) as pulp fiction writers and what they wrote about.

At their time, only pulp magazines will print their stories and Campbell was their editor, hence pulp fiction writers! Their earlier stuff is neither complex or high concept. Perhaps you think of them only in their mature years when they have established themselves as writers.