Arthur C. Clarke passed away today at the age of 90, after a remarkable life. Longtime readers of Fastpitchwest may have noted the inclusion of a quote from Arthur Clarke that has appeared on my Editor’s page, since the beginning of this website, more than ten years ago:
On new ideas:
‘Arthur C. Clarke, distinguished author of science and fiction (including 2001, A Space Odyssey), says ideas often have three stages of reaction – first, “it’s crazy and don’t waste my time.” Second, “It’s possible, but it’s not worth doing.” And finally, “I’ve always said it was a good idea.”‘ (Clarke predicted the advent of satellite technology in 1945 when the the world of science said it couldn’t be done)
I admired Clarke for “seeing” and believing in what did not yet exist. Fastpitch’s version of Clarke? David Blackburn comes to mind, with his work in bringing streaming media to the game. Before he had implemented radio broadcasts back in 2001, he was already talking about the next step beyond. “Someday we’ll be watching the ISC on streaming video”. Who would have imagined?
Someone, like Arthur Clarke.
RIP, Sir Arthur.
More below the jump, for those interested.
From the AP:
Writer Arthur C. Clarke Dies at 90
By RAVI NESSMAN â€“
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) â€” Arthur C. Clarke, a visionary science fiction writer who won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future, died Wednesday in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, an aide said. 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 said.
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.
“I’m perfectly operational underwater,” he once said.
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.
He joined American broadcaster Walter Cronkite as commentator on the U.S. Apollo moonshots in the late 1960s.
Science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died aged 90 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, it was confirmed tonight.
Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair, died at 1:30am after suffering breathing problems, his personal secretary Rohan De Silva said.
â€œSir Arthur passed away a short while ago at the Apollo Hospital [in Colombo}. He had a cardio-respiratory attack,â€ he said.
His valet, W. K. M. Dharmawardena, said funeral arrangements would be finalised after his close family returned to the island from Australia.
* Why don’t we love science fiction?
* Can science keep pace with fiction’s predictions?
Mr Dharmawardena said Clarkeâ€™s condition had begun to deteriorate in recent weeks and he had been in hospital for the past four days.
The visionary author of over 100 books, who predicted the existence of satellites, was most famous for his short story “The Sentinel,” which was expanded into the novel on which Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” was based.
He was also credited with inventing the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality.
Clarke was the last surviving member of what was sometimes known as the “Big Three” of science fiction alongside Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.
The son of an English farming family, Clarke was born in the seaside town of Minehead, Somerset, England on December 16, 1917.
After attending schools in his home county, Arthur Clarke moved to London in 1936 and pursued his early interest in space sciences by joining the British Interplanetary Society. He started to contribute to the BIS Bulletin and began to write science fiction.
With the onset of World War II he joined the RAF, eventually becoming an officer in charge of the first radar talk-down equipment, the Ground Controlled Approach, during its experimental trials. Later, his only non-science-fiction novel, Glide Path, was based on this work.
In 1945, a UK periodical magazine â€œWireless Worldâ€ published his landmark technical paper “Extra-terrestrial Relays” in which he first set out the principles of satellite communication with satellites in geostationary orbits – a speculation realised 25 years later. During the evolution of his discovery, he worked with scientists and engineers in the USA in the development of spacecraft and launch systems, and addressed the United Nations during their deliberations on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
Today, the geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometres above the Equator is named The Clarke Orbit by the International Astronomical Union.
Despite his vast contribution Clarke still is best known as a visionary science fiction writer.
The first story he sold professionally was “Rescue Party”, written in March 1945 and appearing in Astounding Science in May 1946. He went on to become a prolific writer of science fiction, renowned worldwide.
In 1964, he started to work with the noted film producer Stanley Kubrick on a science fiction movie script. Four years later, he shared an Oscar nomination with Kubrick at the Hollywood Academy Awards for the film version of â€œ2001: A Space Odysseyâ€.
In television, Clarke worked alongside Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra for the CBS coverage of the Apollo 12 and 15 space missions. His thirteen-part TV series Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World in 1981 and Arthur C. Clarke’s World of strange Powers in 1984 have been screened in many countries and he has contributed to other TV series about space, such as Walter Cronkite’s Universe series in 1981.
Clarke first visited Colombo, Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) in December 1954 and has lived there since 1956 , pursuing an enthusiasm for underwater exploration along that coast and on the Great Barrier Reef.
In 1998, his lifetime work was recognised when he was honoured with a Knighthood â€“ formally conferred by Prince Charles in Sri Lanka two years later.
In recent years, he has been largely confined to a wheelchair due to post-polio syndrome, but his output as a writer continued undiminished.
Marking his â€œ90th orbit of the sunâ€ in December, the author said he did not feel “a day over 89″ and made three birthday wishes: for ET to call, for man to kick his oil habit and for peace in Sri Lanka.
* Have your say
Safe trip, my friend.
rux, winchester, ca
God bless the soul and the history of Sir Arthur C Clarke. He was a man before his time as his writings clearly show. There are few of these remarkable individuals left to society in this day.
The human race has lost one of its strongest and most capable proponents of humans with more capabilities and more humanity than we have evolved into. Perhaps, someday, ACC’s vision will be realized.
ACC lives in the stars.
James Glass, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Thank you Sir Arthur. You were a true visionary. You gave to me and countless others the courage and pleasure to “think outside of the box.”
Peace old friend.
Harry Kampakis, Birmingham, USA / Alabama
We’ll miss you Arthur C. See you on the other side.
Nick Ambrose, Bristol, England
He will be missed. A true pioneer of science fiction.
Rusty, Magnolia, Texas/USA
A great, great man has passed. Though I knew Sir Arthur was getting on in years, I am very sad to hear of his passing. This is the author of books which inspired me in my youth. I have always had, and will likely always have, an interest in space, science fiction and science, in general–due to his writing. God bless you, Sir Arthur C. Clarke.
John, Jackson, New Jersey
grew up reading Rama, Childhood’s End, many others.
Vaya con Dios, Mr Clarke
Jack L, winchester, Ma.
I can’t begin to address how much Dr. Clarke’s many works affected me in a positive way in the late 60′s and early 70′s. He was one of the people responsible for turning me into a lifelong space advocate/activist, and I can only hope I will live long enough to see people return to the moon, and maybe make it to Mars sometime in the 21st Century. And I have Dr. Clarke to thank for much inspiratonal writing and the incomporable 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the greatest films ever made, and one of my all time favorites, which still affects me to this day.
Perry A. Noriega, Denver, Colorado/USA
I was never fortunate enough to meet you, Arthur, but I’ve come to know you well over the years.
Your imagination took hold of mine and together we went to the most amazing places and beheld the most marvelous things.
Your solid grasp of scientific principles likewise taught and instructed me. I have befitted immeasurable over our long association. We never met. But I did meet a young Sri Lankan woman in a jewelry store in Florida in 1990. She said she used to swim with you at a local pool on Saturday mornings. So, only one two steps from me to you. Yet I’ve always felt closer.
Goodbye, old friend.
Carl, Dayton, OH, USA
What a visionary! I vividly recall at age 11 walking through a 1968 snowstorm in Casper, Wyoming to see “2001…” in the theatre, awestruck at what I could not understand at that young age. God’s Speed, Sir Arthur…
Marc Reasoner, Boulder, Colorado
The world has lost a true visionary today.
Arthur C.Clarke’s works were the mainstays of my youth and beyond, and I feel I have lost a dear friend.
Goodbye, Arthur, it was wonderful to have known you through your writings.
George Hamar, Vancouver, BC Canada
Goodnight Arthur C. Clarke. Sleep well… Thanks for your inspiring stories and visionary insights.
Steve H., California, U.S.A.