Writer and futurist Arthur C Clarke dies at 90

19 Mar 2008

British science fiction writer and visionary of robotics and space exploration Arthur C Clarke passed away in his adopted home of Sri Lanka last night.

Clarke, aged 90, is most famous for his screenplay 2001: A Space Odyssey which gave an entire generation of baby boomers both a taste for and fear of artificially intelligent agents like HAL 9000, as well as bringing science firmly into popular culture.

With over 80 novels and 100 short stories to his name, Clarke began his career as editor of a science magazine and his writings, both fiction and non-fiction, predicated the arrival of various technologies including satellite communications and the 1969 moon landing.

British astronomer and close friend of Clarke, Patrick Moore, described him as “a great visionary, a brilliant science fiction writer and a great forecaster.”

“He foresaw communications satellites, a nationwide network of computers, interplanetary travel, he said there would be a man on the moon by 1970 – while I said 1980 -and he was right,” Moore said.

Clarke’s 1951 non-fiction work The Exploration of Space looked at the then futuristic world of astronautics discussing brand new, novel ideas such as space stations that would orbit earth, as well as interplanetary travel, which Clarke believed until his death was soon to come.

The prolific science fiction writer said that we are now entering a golden age of space travel, where space tourism would become as common place and accessible as flying on an aeroplane.

By Marie Boran.