Arthur C. Clarke
Historical Figure
Nationality: Sri Lanka (born in United Kingdom)
Date of Birth: 1917
Date of Death: 2008
Cause of Death: Respiratory complications
Religion: Atheist
Occupation: Author of Fiction, Author of Non-Fiction, Inventor, Television host
Spouse: Marilyn Mayfield (1953-1964, divorced)
Military Branch: Royal Air Force (World War II)
Fictional Appearances:
Set in the Future
Type of Appearance: Posthumous reference
POD: 1949
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, most famous for the screenplay and novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, written in collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick. His novels include Childhood's End (1953) and Rendezvous with Rama (1973). Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956, largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving, and lived there until his death. He received a British knighthood in 1998, and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005.

Clarke was the first person to propose geosynchronous satellites. In honour of this, "Geosynchronous Orbits" are also known as "Clarke Orbits".

He also published three laws of prediction, the best known being Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".

Literary comment[]

It is claimed that the story "Death in Vesunna" by Harry Turtledove and Elaine O'Byrne was written as a satirical rebuttal to Clarke's Third Law.[1]

Arthur C. Clarke in "Vilcabamba"[]

President Harris Moffatt III recalled a quote by Arthur C. Clarke that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. He didn't know about that. What he did know was that the Krolp used technology, not magic. However, no scientist in what was left of the USA could duplicate it.[2]

Arthur C. Clarke in "Hindsight"[]

Arthur C. Clarke was one of several authors whose work was plagiarized by Michelle Gordian.[3]

The evening Jim McGregor arrived in Los Angeles to confront "Mark Gordian" in June 1953, he had dinner with Pete Lundquist. Among other things, the two discussed the recent coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Lundquist thought it remarkable that film of the event was shown the same day on television since the networks were able to received it by jet. McGregor agreed but was still dissatisfied and said he would have preferred one of Clarke's relay satellites showing it as it happened.[4]

See also[]


  1. See, e.g. Steven Silver's Reviews: Worldwar: Tilting the Balance. Turtledove's website designer Steven Silver originated this claim.
  2. E.g., The Best of Harry Turtledove, pg. 152.
  3. Kaleidoscope, pg. 114, MPB.
  4. Ibid., pg. 102.