Arthur C. Clarke

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS, Sri Lankabhimanya, ( born December 16, 1917 in Minehead, Somerset, England; † March 19, 2008 in Colombo, Sri Lanka) was a British physicist and science fiction writer. Through the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick, based on a short story by Clarke and Clarke whose screenplay co-written by Kubrick, he also became known outside of science fiction scene. Clarke is regarded as visionary new techniques, which he described in scientific articles except in science fiction novels and short stories.

  • 3.1 novels
  • 3.2 stories (selection)
  • 3.3 Short story collections (selection)
  • 3.4 Non-fiction (selection)
  • 3.5 Community works
  • 3.6 Autobiographical
  • 3.7 Audio Books


Since Clarke for financial reasons, a study was denied at first, he worked first as a balance tester. In the late 1930s he wrote stories, inspired by the science fiction magazines of his youth. During the Second World War he worked as a radar specialist for Ground Controlled Approach in the Royal Air Force in use. These experiences are based on the novel Glide Path. After the war he studied mathematics and physics at King's College London.

Clarke was a member of the first science fiction convention worldwide in 1937.

Early interest in the possibilities that could provide the space of humanity, Clarke was a member of the British Interplanetary Society.

Clarke was in 1951 a freelance writer. He married Marilyn Mayfield in June 1953. The marriage lasted only until December of the same year, and Clarke moved in 1956 to Colombo in Sri Lanka.

In 1988 he was diagnosed with polio, which he was later confined to a wheelchair. 1989 Clarke was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire ( CBE), before he was defeated in 2000 in recognition of his literary and scientific creativity as a Knight Bachelor knighted with the title "Sir". Since it did not allow him his health, to travel to the ceremony to England, the UK High Commissioner launched by Sri Lanka in Colombo the appropriate ceremony.

The tsunami of 26 December 2004 destroyed his diving school at Hikkaduwa on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka, which was built up but again a little later.

Both an asteroid ( 4923 Clarke ) and a dinosaur ( Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei ) were named after Clarke. Clarke was a member of the Skeptics Society, which promotes the skeptical and scientific thinking.

Clarke died in March 2008 at a hospital in Sri Lanka, where he was being treated for respiratory problems.


Work of fiction

Clarke's work had a decisive influence on the genre of science fiction. Many Newer lead him as a role model. He was one of the scientific and technological visionaries of the genre. His novels and short stories are under the sign of technological achievements and the handle for the stars. With the strong scientific and technical orientation is one of Clarke's work of fiction to the subgenre of the so-called hard science fiction.

Many of Clarke's works are based on current scientific knowledge and applications. You play in a not distant future and describe technologies that are already possible or at least conceivable, from today's point of view. Typical topics include exploration or colonization of the moon and other planets of the solar system. In addition, there are works that take place in a distant future or technologies have on the subject, which exceed the current possibilities far.

Clarke already published at the end of the 30's early works in some fanzines. His first commercial release was the short story Loophole, which appeared in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction in 1946. In the short story Technical Error, under the title The Reversed Man in the magazine Thrilling Wonder Stories was published in 1950, he describes how an employee of a power plant, operating in the superconducting materials, " twisted laterally " is

Clarke has played a major role because in the 1950s to show the sea and the Maritime in the futuristic novel (eg in Dolphin Iceland ) and was one of the first out of sheer hobby a diver. The Ghost from the Grand Banks is about trying to raise the Titanic. The concept of aquaculture, the systematic " Befarmung " the world's oceans, is due to his work.

In the early novel Childhood's End (1953 ) Clarke developed the idea of ​​an all-encompassing and all-powerful power or intelligence that pervades the universe and influences. The novel is also strongly influenced by Clarke's former employment with the supernatural.

Clarke's most famous work is probably 2001: A Space Odyssey. The novel was inspired by the developed jointly with Stanley Kubrick screenplay for the film of the same name from 1968, which in turn is based on Clarke's short story The Sentinel in 1948. The three successor novels (2010: Odyssey Two, 2061 - Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey ) were also, but not quite as successful as the original work.

Another major work Clarkes is the three-volume Rama cycle, the first part of Rendezvous with Rama (German: Rendezvous with 31/439 ) appeared in 1973. The subsequent volumes, which was created in collaboration with Gentry Lee, published in 1989 and 1993. Clarke In this work, linked the issue intruder into the solar system again with the topos of the powerful alien intelligence.

The design of the all-powerful alien intelligence is in the published between 2004 and 2007, recorded once again in collaboration with Stephen Baxter wrote trilogy A Time 's Odyssey ( Guardian Cycle).

Clarke's work also contains humorous elements. In the 1957 published collection of short stories Tales from the White Hart (Eng. 1984: Stories from the white tailed deer ) are scientific findings on seemingly logical way, but applied with absurd, sometimes catastrophic consequences.

Several novels and short stories Clarkes were awarded the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Locus Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

  • Campbell, Locus, Hugo and Nebula: Rendezvous with Rama (Eng. rendezvous with 31/439 )
  • Hugo and Nebula: The Fountains of Paradise (German elevator to the stars )
  • Nebula: A Meeting with Medusa (Eng. different titles: " titanic struggle ", " Medusa", "Meeting with Medusa ", " A Meeting with Medusa" )
  • Hugo: The Star (Eng. "The Star" ), The Nine Billion Names of God (engl. " The nine billion names of God," and " All God's name " ),

Scientist and visionary

Clarke also looked beyond his literary works extensively with the possibilities of science and technology. He was one of the first who described the idea of ​​using geostationary satellites for technical communication, and counted. In 1945 his essay Extra - Terrestrial Relays - Can Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage? in the scientific journal Wireless World; ( see diagram and electronic version on ). In 1964, he witnessed how this idea was implemented with Syncom 3 in reality. The geostationary orbit is called in the English language also Clarke Belt or Clarke Orbit.

In the 1962 essay was first published plant profiles of the future, he believes that forward-looking statements often suffer from a lack of courage and imagination that predictions thus often are more likely to be pessimistic than optimistic. In this context, he presented the first of the three " Clarke's Law ", which are now among the most cited ground rules of science fiction. While some of his own forecasts, for example, human spaceflight and the exploration and colonization of the moon and other planets concerning, in retrospect, were too optimistic, other predictions were quite precise. So he described already in the 70s quite well today's Internet (see video).

With the idea of a so-called orbital elevators in his novel The Fountains of Paradise (1979 ) Clarke wrote again scientific history of ideas.

Arthur C. Clarke in 1961 awarded the Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science.



(sorted by year of publication of the original)

Narratives (selection)

Short story collections (selection)

Non-fiction books (selection)

Community works


  • 2000: Greetings, Carbon-Based biped, an outline of his life along with predictions for the next 100 years


  • 2001: A Space Odyssey. Read by Wolfram Koch, The Audio Publishers (DAV), Berlin, 2008, ISBN 978-3-89813-760-7 ( Reading, 5 CDs, 352 min)

Films (selection)