Arthur C. Clarke: 1917-2008

Rest in peace, Mr. Clarke.

by | March 19, 2008 | Comments

Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction novelist whose bestselling books included 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact, has passed away at the age of 90.

Clarke, who had suffered from post-polio syndrome for decades, died in what the Associated Press described as “his adopted home of Sri Lanka.” An aide told the AP that Clarke passed away after experiencing difficulty breathing.

Though best-known as a science fiction writer, and perhaps most closely identified with the series of books he started with 2001 and continued through to 2061 and 3001: The Final Odyssey, Clarke had a wide variety of skills and interests. A few of his non-sci-fi accomplishments, as listed by the AP:

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.

Clarke’s non-fiction volumes on space travel and his explorations of the Great Barrier Reef and Indian Ocean earned him respect in the world of science, and in 1976 he became an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Divorced since 1964, Clarke had no children; he did, however, make plans to have his DNA sent into space, joking with the AP that “One day, some super civilization may encounter this relic from the vanished species and I may exist in another time. Move over, Stephen King.”

Source: Associated Press