Writer. Futurist. Engineer. Considered a member of the “Big Three,” alongside Heinlein and Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke became one of the most influential science fiction writers. He wrote in genres such as hard science fiction or proper science, which appealed to both hardcore enthusiasts and general audiences alike. Throughout his life, Arthur shared many interests outside of writing, but still focused on space and space travel.
Born December 16th, 1917 in southwestern England, young Arthur found joy up in the stars and his collection of science fiction magazines. This passion for space he took with him when he joined the British Interplanetary Society, where he began writing science fiction at the age of 19. During WWII, he worked as a radar instructor and technician serving the Royal Air Force. Following the war, Arthur obtained a first-class honors degree in Physics and Mathematics from King’s College.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.— Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur’s contributions to society far exceeded the world of literature. In the world of engineering, he became one of the first to theorize about the possibility of communication via satellites. His groundbreaking paper on the subject in 1945 would later become a reality by the 1960s. In his later years, he moved out to Sri Lanka where he indulged a long-held interest in underwater exploration. On such an expedition, he discovered the ruins of the Koneswaram Temple. Arthur spent much of his life trying to understand what the world could become and making science accessible to all.
Arthur lived to the age of 90 before succumbing to post-polio syndrome. Throughout his life, he received many awards and honors, including numerous Hugo and Nebula awards for his science fiction. British royalty appointed him Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1989 and knighted him later in 1998. Before his death, the Sri Lanka government awarded him their highest civil honor, Sri Lankabhimanya. For a young farm boy with his head in the stars, Arthur C. Clarke lived his life passionately and shared those views with an entire world. It is no wonder that he is considered among the “Big Three.”
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Childhood’s End
- Rendezvous with Rama
- The Fountain of Paradise
- “The Nine Billion Names of God”
- “How We Went to Mars”
I wanted to take a quick moment and discuss my experience thus far with this project. While researching Arthur C. Clarke, I had a moment of great fascination. I started this project with the goal in mind of learning more about science fiction, fantasy, and the writers behind them. I have never read any of Arthur C. Clarke’s work. Many people have recommended him to me over the years, but I never found the opportunity to go back to him. After reading several different biographical sources about Arthur, I’m more excited than ever to dive into his work and meet many more famed writers. Lastly, I encourage any of you intrigued by Arthur to visit his foundation’s website. You will learn more about him and the charitable foundation continuing his humanitarian legacy