Arthur C. Clarke

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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Sri Lankabhimanya Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, most famous for the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, written in parallel of the script for the eponymous film, co-written with film-director Stanley Kubrick; and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.

Clarke served in the Royal Air Force as a radar instructor and technician from 1941–1946. He proposed a satellite communication system in 1945 which won him the Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Gold Medal in 1963. He was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1947–1950 and again in 1953.

Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956 largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving,[9] and lived there until his death. He was knighted by the British monarchy in 1998, and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005.

Adapted screenplays

2001: A Space Odyssey

Clarke's first venture into film was the Stanley Kubrick directed 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick and Clarke had met in New York City in 1964 to discuss the possibility of a collaborative film project. As the idea developed, it was decided that the story for the film was to be loosely based on Clarke's short story "The Sentinel", written in 1948 as an entry in a BBC short story competition. Originally, Clarke was going to write the screenplay for the film, but Kubrick suggested during one of their brainstorming meetings that before beginning on the actual script, they should let their imaginations soar free by writing a novel first, which the film would be based on upon its completion. "This is more or less the way it worked out, though toward the end, novel and screenplay were being written simultaneously, with feedback in both directions. Thus I rewrote some sections after seeing the movie rushes -- a rather expensive method of literary creation, which few other authors can have enjoyed." The novel ended up being published a few months after the release of the movie.

Due to the hectic schedule of the film's production, Kubrick and Clarke had difficulty collaborating on the book. Clarke completed a draft of the novel at the end of 1964 with the plan to publish in 1965 in advance of the film's release in 1966. After many delays the film was released in the spring of 1968, before the book was completed. The book was credited to Clarke alone. Clarke later complained that this had the effect of making the book into a novelisation, that Kubrick had manipulated circumstances to downplay Clarke's authorship. For these and other reasons, the details of the story differ slightly from the book to the movie. The film contains little explanation for the events taking place. Clarke, on the other hand, wrote thorough explanations of "cause and effect" for the events in the novel. James Randi later recounted that upon seeing the premiere of 2001 for the first time, Clarke left the movie theatre in tears, at the intermission, after having watched an eleven-minute scene (which did not make it into general release) where an astronaut is doing nothing more than jogging inside the spaceship, which was Kubrick's idea of showing the audience how boring space travels could be.

In 1972, Clarke published The Lost Worlds of 2001, which included his accounts of the production, and alternate versions, of key scenes. The "special edition" of the novel A Space Odyssey (released in 1999) contains an introduction by Clarke in which he documents the events leading to the release of the novel and film.

2010

In 1982 Clarke continued the 2001 epic with a sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two. This novel was also made into a film, 2010, directed by Peter Hyams for release in 1984. Because of the political environment in America in the 1980s, the film presents a Cold War theme, with the looming tensions of nuclear warfare not featured in the novel. The film was not considered to be as revolutionary or artistic as 2001, but the reviews were still positive.

Clarke's email correspondence with Hyams was published in 1984.[74][75] Titled The Odyssey File: The Making of 2010, and co-authored with Hyams, it illustrates his fascination with the then-pioneering medium of email and its use for them to communicate on an almost daily basis at the time of planning and production of the film while living on different continents. The book also includes Clarke's list of the best science-fiction films ever made.

Clarke appeared in the film, first as the man feeding the pigeons while Dr. Heywood Floyd is engaged in a conversation in front of the White House. Later, in the hospital scene with David Bowman's mother, an image of the cover of Time portrays Clarke as the American President and Kubrick as the Russian Premier.

Rendezvous with Rama

Clarke's award-winning 1972 novel Rendezvous with Rama was optioned many years ago, but is currently in "development hell". In the early 2000s, actor Morgan Freeman expressed his desire to produce a film based on Rendezvous with Rama. After a drawn-out development process — which Freeman attributed to difficulties in procuring funding — it appeared in 2003 this would indeed be happening.[76] IMDb at one point upgraded the status of the project to "announced" with an estimated release date in 2009. The film was to be produced by Freeman's production company, Revelations Entertainment. David Fincher, touted on Revelations' Rama web page as far back as 2001,[77] stated in a late 2007 interview (where he also credited the novel as an influence on the films Alien and Star Trek: The Motion Picture) that he is still attached to helm.[78] Revelations and IMDb indicated that Stel Pavlou had written the adaptation.

In late 2008, David Fincher stated the movie is unlikely to be made. "It looks like it's not going to happen. There's no script and as you know, Morgan Freeman's not in the best of health right now. We've been trying to do it but it's probably not going to happen."[79] The IMDb page for the project has been removed.

Beyond 2001

2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke's most famous work, was extended well beyond the 1968 movie as the Space Odyssey series. Its 1984 sequel, 2010 was based on Clarke's 1982 novel, 2010: Odyssey Two. There were two further sequels that have not been adapted to the cinema: 2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey.

In 2061, Halley's Comet swings back to nearby Earth, and Clarke uses the event as an excuse to take an aged Dr. Heywood Floyd on a romp through the solar system, visiting the comet before crash-landing on Europa, where he discovers the fates of Dave Bowman, HAL 9000, and the Europan life-forms which have been protected by the Monoliths.

With 3001: The Final Odyssey, Clarke returns to examine the character of astronaut Frank Poole, who was killed outside Discovery by HAL in the original novel and film, but whose body was revived in the year 3001.

Essays and short stories

Most of Clarke's essays (from 1934 to 1998) can be found in the book Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! (2000). Most of his short stories can be found in the book The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (2001). Another collection of early essays was published in The View from Serendip (1977), which also included one short piece of fiction, "When the Twerms Came". He wrote short stories under the pseudonyms of E. G. O'Brien and Charles Willis.

Concept of the geostationary communications satellite

Geostationary orbit

Clarke's most important scientific contribution may be his idea that geostationary satellites would be ideal telecommunications relays. He described this concept in a paper titled Extra-Terrestrial Relays — Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?, published in Wireless World in October 1945.[80] The geostationary orbit is now sometimes known as the Clarke Orbit or the Clarke Belt in his honour.[81][82]

It is not clear that this article was actually the inspiration for the modern telecommunications satellite. According to John R. Pierce, of Bell Labs, who was involved in the Echo satellite and Telstar projects, he gave a talk upon the subject in 1954 (published in 1955), using ideas that were "in the air", but was not aware of Clarke's article at the time.[83] In an interview given shortly before his death, Clarke was asked whether he thought communications satellites would become important; he replied

    I'm often asked why I didn't try to patent the idea of communications satellites. My answer is always, "A patent is really a license to be sued."[84]

Though different from Clarke's idea of telecom relay, the idea of communicating with satellites in geostationary orbit itself had been described earlier. For example, the concept of geostationary satellites was described in Hermann Oberth's 1923 book Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen[85] (The Rocket into Interplanetary Space) and then the idea of radio communication with those satellites in Herman Potočnik's (written under the pseudonym Hermann Noordung) 1928 book Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums — der Raketen-Motor (The Problem of Space Travel — The Rocket Motor) sections: Providing for Long Distance Communications and Safety[86] and (possibly referring to the idea of relaying messages via satellite, but not that 3 would be optimal) Observing and Researching the Earth's Surface[87] published in Berlin. Clarke acknowledged the earlier concept in his book Profiles of the Future.[88]

Partial bibliography

Select novels

    * Prelude to Space (1951)
    * The Sands of Mars (1951)
    * Childhood's End (1953)
    * The City and the Stars (1956)
    * A Fall of Moondust (1961) (Hugo nominee, 1963[96])
    * 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    * Rendezvous with Rama (1972) (BSFA and Nebula Awards winner, 1973;[97] Hugo, Campbell, and Locus Awards winner, 1974[98])
    * A Meeting with Medusa (Nebula Award for best novella) (1972)
    * Imperial Earth (1975)
    * The Fountains of Paradise (1979) (Hugo Award winner, BSFA nominee, 1979;[99] and Nebula Award winner, Locus Award nominee, 1980[100])
    * 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) (Hugo and Locus Awards nominee, 1983[101])
    * The Songs of Distant Earth (1986)
    * 2061: Odyssey Three (1987)
    * 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997)
    * The Light of Other Days (2000) (with Stephen Baxter)

Short story collections

    * Expedition to Earth (1953)
    * Reach for Tomorrow (1956)
    * Tales from the White Hart (1957)
    * The Other Side of the Sky (1958)
    * Tales of Ten Worlds (1962)
    * The Nine Billion Names of God (1967)
    * The Wind from the Sun (1972)
    * The Best of Arthur C. Clarke (1973)
    * The Sentinel (1983)
    * The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (2001)

Non-fiction

    * The Exploration of Space. New York: Harper, 1951
    * Voice Across the Sea. New York: Harper, 1958
    * Voices from the Sky: Previews of the Coming Space Age. New York: Harper & Row, 1965
    * Astounding Days: A Science Fictional Autobiography. London: Gollancz, 1989
    * Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! : Collected Works 1934-1998. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999
    * The View From Serendip. Random House. ISBN 0394417968.  1977

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