->''“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”''
-->-- '''Arthur C. Clarke'''

One of the world's most famous science fiction writers, Arthur Charles Clarke (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) is responsible for works such as: ''Literature/ChildhoodsEnd'', the ''Literature/TheSpaceOdysseySeries'', ''Literature/RendezvousWithRama'' and ''Literature/TheSongsOfDistantEarth''. Has influenced almost all the science fiction that has arrived in his wake, from ''Franchise/{{Stargate|Verse}}'' to ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. Much of his fiction features Creator/OHenry style {{twist ending}}s at the end of each story or chapter. He is considered one of the "Big Three" of ScienceFiction along with Creator/IsaacAsimov and Creator/RobertAHeinlein. 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 [[TheProfessor a distinguished but elderly scientist]] [[LectureAsExposition states that something is possible]], he is [[ChekhovsClassroom almost certainly right]]. When he states that [[WeirdnessCensor something is impossible]], he is [[ArbitrarySkepticism very probably wrong]].
# The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
# [[ClarkesThirdLaw 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 Creator/StanleyKubrick -- 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 [[Film/IndependenceDay plot]] start two-thirds of the way through the book, the preceding chapters consisting entirely of the literary equivalent of SceneryPorn). The ''Time Odyssey'' series was likewise "co-written with" Stephen Baxter. It shows there, too.

Has [[UsefulNotes/ArthurCClarkeAward an award]] named after him.

A 1981 episode of ''Series/TheGoodies'' spoofed him as "the inventor of the digital lawnmower".
!!This author's works with their own trope pages include:
* ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''
** Literature/TheSpaceOdysseySeries
* ''Literature/ChildhoodsEnd''
* ''Literature/TheCityAndTheStars'' (revision of ''Against the Fall of Night'')
* ''Literature/TheFountainsOfParadise''
* ''Literature/TheLightOfOtherDays'' (with Creator/StephenBaxter)
* ''Literature/RendezvousWithRama''
** ''{{VideoGame/Rama}}'' was inspired by the book and made with the help and contribution of Clarke himself.
* ''Literature/TheSongsOfDistantEarth''
* ''Literature/TalesFromTheWhiteHart''

!! Selected other works:
* ''The Deep Range''
* ''A Fall of Moondust'' (Hugo winner)
* ''The Ghost from Grand Banks''
* ''Imperial Earth''
* ''Islands in the Sky''
* ''The Last Theorem'' (with Creator/FrederikPohl)
* ''Prelude to Space''

!!His other works provide examples of:
* AuthorAppeal:
** Communications satellites. (Not surprising, since he basically invented the concept.)
** In a somewhat sad example, rarely do love interests work out for the good. A common phrase used in his collections of short stories is "married another man." In the Space Odyssey series, Heywood Floyd is divorced twice with the second being on his way to Jupiter. In 3001 the first woman Poole falls for ends up horrified due to his 'mutilation' (non-medical circumcision having ceased to be a thing by the 31st century) and the second relationship falls apart romantically 15 years after they get married and have kids.
** Clarke was a diving enthusiast, which [[OceanAwe is reflected]] in some stories.
** Many of the stories show societies that returned to {{Arcadia}}n countryside life after the development of telecommunications and personal transport allowed for greater flexibility in one's choice of workplace.
** Some of his stories, or at least the earlier ones tended to have references to a spaceship named the ''Morning Star.''
** [[BiTheWay Bisexuality]] also shows up quite often in his stories in an approving manner, which doesn't help the [[AmbiguouslyBi theories]] [[AmbiguouslyGay surrounding]] his sexuality.
* ButWhatAboutTheAstronauts: "If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth" is a post-apocalyptic story using this trope for a powerful effect. It depicts a small lunar outpost as a last remnant of humanity [[ApocalypseHow after a nuclear Holocaust]].
* HomeworldEvacuation: "Rescue Party" has aliens coming to Earth in order to try saving at least a few humans before the Sun goes nova. In the end, it turns out [[spoiler: the humans built a fleet and left already]].
* LivingGasbag: "Meeting with Medusa" featured the discovery of a miles-long jellyfish-like creature floating in the atmosphere of Jupiter. (In biology, ''medusa'' is a term applied to certain forms of jellyfish.)
* LoopholeAbuse: There's a reason why Clarke named one of his short stories "Loophole". See the TwistEnding entry below for details.
* MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness: Clarke's works, for the most part, lie firmly on the "hard" side of this sliding scale. Hardly surprising, given that he had been a radar operator in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and that training was in mathematics and physics. In ''The Songs of Distant Earth'', for example, he had to invoke the rather speculative possibility of zero-point energy just so he'd have a power source for a ''slower''-than-light starship.
** "Jupiter Five" was dedicated to Professor G. C. [=McVitte=] as writing the story involved having twenty to thirty pages of orbital calculations drawn up.
* NoSmoking: In-universe in ''The Ghost from Grand Banks''. One of the characters has a job digitally removing smoking scenes from old films. Anti-smoking sentiment has grown so strong that people won't watch them otherwise.
* PrefersTheIllusion: In "The Lion of Comarre", the protagonist discovers an automated city of [[LotusEaterMachine people living in virtual reality]]. When he tries to "liberate" two of the inhabitants, one is utterly confused by the return to reality and another understands what happened and [[UnwantedRescue tells him to go away and let him resume the fantasy]]. He leaves them to their dreams.
* PsychicPowers: In "Second Dawn", a whole alien race who entirely lack useful hands have built an entire civilization around Telepathy and other mostly-subtle mental powers. Their problem is that in their last war they have developed a psychic weapon powerful enough to destroy the minds of entire populations, and fear what will happen in their next war.
* SolarPunk: The short story "Sunjammer", aka "The Wind from the Sun", describes a race between solar sail spacecraft.
* StraightGay: According to Creator/MichaelMoorcock. Others placed him as AmbiguouslyGay; he himself, when asked whether or not he was gay, said, "no, merely [[ExactWords mildly]] [[HaveAGayOldTime cheerful]]."
* SubStory: ''The Deep Range''.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: Soviet Russia in stories set after 1990 -- including ''2010: Odyssey 2''.
* TomatoSurprise: Most of Clarke's short stories, and many chapters of his novels, end with a big twist (or a big reveal) in the ''very last sentence.''
** "Who's There" has a fluffy TomatoSurprise. [[spoiler:The reader is lead to believe by the character that something is trying to get into his spacesuit, or that the spacesuit is about to fail because it was repaired after a previous fatal accident. Instead, the astronaut is simply hearing the muffled noises and scratchings of three [[CuteKitten kittens 'nesting' in the space suit and were born to the station mascot.]]]]
* TwistEnding: Used in many of his short stories, many times the ''final sentence'' is all that's required for the twist. What exact version of the various twists will depend on the story. Many also double as a WhamLine.
** "The Nine Billion Names of God" is about a religious sect which hires a computer and two technicians to print out all the names of God, which they believe is the purpose of the universe. [[spoiler:The technicians decide to cut and run before the program is finished to avoid the monks' anger and disappointment when the world fails to end. The final line has them looking up and seeing that [[TheStarsAreGoingOut "Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out."]]]]
** "Breaking Strain" is a story about Grant (ship captain), and [=McNeil=] (engineer) who become [[ColdEquation trapped on a wrecked ship with only enough air to last one of them]]. The twist is [[spoiler: that Grant has badly misjudged [=McNeil=] and Grant eventual accepts his own death to allow [=McNeil=] to survive]].
** "Loophole" has Martians telling Earth to stop rocketry research, or else. Earth stops researching rockets. [[spoiler: Instead, they perfect matter transportation and bomb the Martians out of existence without launching a single rocket.]]
** "Hide and Seek": [[spoiler: The reader expects the mysterious agent who avoided the warship to be the teller of the tale. Instead, the teller of the tale is the captain of the ship who was thrown out of the service for being unable to catch a single man with the fastest ship in the fleet]].
** "Superiority", where the twist isn't anything to do with the technology involved, but that [[spoiler: the narrator has been forced to share a prison cell with the man responsible for the downfall of their nation.]]
** "Reunion", where aliens approaching Earth reveal that humanity is one of their lost colonies. The aliens are aware that many humans contracted a disfiguring disease which caused hatred and suspicion over many centuries, but they have good news: [[spoiler:they can cure anyone who is still white.]]
** "The Star" is narrated by a Jesuit priest and astronaut whose faith has been badly shaken by the discovery of an alien civilization that was wiped out when their sun went nova, and the implications of their extinction.
--> [[spoiler: [O]h God, there were so many stars you could have used. What was the need to give these people to the fire, that the symbol of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?]]
** "Rescue Party" ends in a line implying both that HumansAreSpecial and that HumansAreTheRealMonsters. While nothing exceptional for MilitaryScienceFiction, it's particularly jarring to see it in Clarke's context.
** "The Food of the Gods" is set in the far future where artificial food is used, and most people don't even realize that artificial meat is made to resemble dead animal flesh. It turns out that a new, instantly popular artificial meat is [[spoiler: made to resemble [[ImAHumanitarian human flesh]].]]
** The psychic aliens in "Second Dawn" (see the PsychicPowers entry) discover another intelligent species on their world with much better manipulative appendages, and hope that the development of a new civilization based on physical science will avert an otherwise inevitable psychic war. [[spoiler: The story ends with the discovery of a curious glowing rock, their first step toward the discovery of nuclear fission.]]
* WatchTheWorldDie: The short story "The Nine Billion Names of God". It ends with the main characters standing outside a monastery, watching as God turns off the universe and the stars go out one by one. Subverted in that there's not really a safe vantage point from which to watch the end of the universe.
* ZeroGSpot: In ''Imperial Earth'', travelers from Saturn to Earth have a few hours of zero-gee halfway along, while the ship is flipping over to decelerate.
--> No wonder that the most popular item in the ship's library these last few days had been the ''UsefullNotes/{{NASA}} [[Literature/KamaSutra Sutra]]'', an old book and an old joke, [[DontExplainTheJoke explained so often that it was no longer funny.]]
** And the flight of the cruise liner ''Mentor'' had:
--> "... and everyone had learned a great deal, though not necessarily in the areas that the organizers had intended. The first few weeks, for example, were mostly occupied by experiments in zero-gravity sex, despite warnings that this was an expensive addiction for those compelled to spend most of their lives on planetary surfaces."