One of the world's most famous science fiction writers, Arthur C. Clarke (1917—2008) is responsible for works such as Childhoods End
, the 2001: A Space Odyssey
series, Rendezvous with Rama
and The Songs of Distant Earth
. Has influenced almost all the science fiction that has arrived in his wake, from Stargate
to Neon Genesis Evangelion
. Much of his fiction features O. Henry
style twist endings
at the end of each story or chapter. He is considered one of the "Big Three" of Science Fiction
along with Isaac Asimov
and Robert A. Heinlein
. He was the last of the Big Three to leave us, after Heinlein and Asimov, in that order.
He is often credited with inventing the geostationary communications satellite, although in fact he did not originate the idea.
Formulated "Clarke's three laws", the third being the most famous and oft cited:
- When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
- The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Later on he also created a fourth law: For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.
He wrote the Space Odyssey
sequels himself, without the input of Stanley Kubrick
— each installment gets increasingly more literal and with less left to the imagination, up till 3001
which retcons all the fantastical elements out of the original story (and only has its actual plot
start two-thirds of the way through the book, the preceding chapters consisting entirely of the literary equivalent of Scenery Porn
). The Time Odyssey
series was likewise "co-written with" Stephen Baxter. It shows there, too.
Has an award
named after him.
A 1981 episode of The Goodies
spoofed him as "the inventor of the digital lawnmower".
This author's works with their own trope pages include:
His other works provide examples of: