British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died at the age of 90 in his home in Sri Lanka after suffering breathing problems.
Clarke came to fame in 1968 when his short story The Sentinel was made into the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by director Stanley Kubrick. He was the author of around 100 fiction and non-fiction books which often promoted the idea that humanity’s destiny lay beyond the confines of the Earth. He published his best-selling 3001: The Final Odyssey when he was 79.
Arthur C Clarke died yesterday evening at the age of 90. Image courtesy of Rohan de Silva.
Clarke was also well-known for making predictions about the future, foreseeing communications satellites, a nationwide network of computers, interplanetary travel and men on the Moon by 1970. Two decades after the first Moon landings, Clarke wrote: "2001 was written in an age which now lies beyond one of the great divides in human history; we are sundered from it forever by the moment when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out on to the Sea of Tranquility. Now history and fiction have become inexorably intertwined."
Clarke was born in Minehead, England in December 1917 and joined the British Interplanetary Society while still at school. In 1937 he began his first science-fiction novel about the distant future that was eventually published as Against the Fall of Night in 1953. He spent World War II as an officer in the Royal Air Force and in 1943 was assigned to work with engineers to develop radar. He graduated in 1948 from King’s College London with first-class honours in physics and mathematics. In his later years Clarke settled in Sri Lanka and in 1998 he received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.
A statement from Clarke’s office said that he had recently reviewed the final manuscript of his latest novel The Last Theorem, co-written with Frederik Pohl, which will be published later this year. He will be remembered as someone who for more than half a century popularised scientific reality through science fiction, and who lived long enough to see many of his predictions realised.