AP is reporting that legendary science-fiction writer and futurist Arthur C. Clarke passed away at his home in Sri Lanka after suffering from breathing problems. The author of over 100 books was 90. Clarke never wrote for Star Trek, however he certainly had an influence many of those who were involved with Trek , including creator Gene Roddenberry.
In a 2006 essay commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek, Clarke showed that he was clearly a fan and that he apparently did have an influence on Trek’s creator. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Appearing at such a time in human history, Star Trek popularised much more than the vision of a space-faring civilisation. In episode after episode, it promoted the then unpopular ideals of tolerance for differing cultures and respect for life in all forms – without preaching, and always with a saving sense of humour.
Over the years, the sophistication of storylines and special effects has certainly improved, but Star Trek retains its core values – still very much needed in our sadly divided and quarreling world.
Although Gene and I met only a few times, we had a warm friendship that lasted twenty years. I am proud to have played a part in creating one of the great icons of our time – as Gene reminded my biographer, Neil McAleer, when he made an extremely generous assessment of my contribution. Nor was this the first time; in 1987, he wrote for my seventieth birthday felicitation volume: “Arthur literally made my Star Trek idea possible, including the television series, the films, and the associations and learning it has made possible for me.”
Clarke Trek refs
There are a number of references to Clarke’s 2001 A Space Odyssey, including a quote on the Dedication plaque of the USS Odyssey “Its origin and purpose, still a total mystery.” Also, on Enterprise, Captain Jonathan Archer’s father contracted a disease named “Clarke’s Disease.” In addition it could be argued that Clarke’s 3rd ‘law of prediction‘ (“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”) was the source of this exchange in the TNG episode “Where No One Has Gone Before”
You’re asking us to believe in magic
Yes, I guess from your perspective it does seem like magic.
Much more on Clarke at Wikipedia and The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation.
RIP, We’ll all be on that odyssee someday!
In Star Trek XI there will should be a reference, graphic, mention, of the
starship, USS Arthur C. Clarke
Wow, that’s to bad. I loved that guy.
A sad loss,, and will be very much missed
so sad — he was a brilliant humanist in addition to all his other smarts.
A few years ago I bought at auction Herb Solow’s copy of the letter mr Clarke sent to gene Roddenberry with advice on the naming of Picard and others. The fact that it was from Clarke was even cooler to me than the fact that it was initialed by gene Roddenberry.
Such a bright, sweet, and optimistic man. He apparently knew he was close to death, and filmed a video in December where he said ‘goodbye’ to fans & friends. He will be missed.
PS – I agree with #2, if there’s any way to fit in a small tribute to Clarke in Trek XI it would be very fitting.
He was a pioneer, that’s for sure. I remember reading a story during the production of 2010 (I think it was that film) where he and the director were e-mailing script changes back and forth across the world–and this was in 1983 or 84, the days of 300-baud CompuServe-type services. I always thought that was pretty cool :)
I agree with 2 and 6 — I hope that the new Trek movie will have a dedication to all those who have gone before into the great unknown, and naming specifically Dr. Clarke. What a great man he was, and what a great loss to all of us now that he has passed!
I’m sure i read somewhere that he was consulted by GR for TMP…maybe its in the making of TMP
Great Man. He will be surely missed. His stories helped sci-fi become something far more believable with a coherent storyline and appeal the inner scientist we all have. He influenced many people to study sciences and fight for better future for all.
Goodbye, Mr. Clarke. You were truly one of the absolute icons of Science Fiction. And we are the poorer with your absence. But I have no doubt you have transcended to…something wonderful.
Science Fiction has lost a great man today.
R.I.P. Arthur C. Clarke
Wow, you’d think that would be on my Yahoo page. I haven’t watched the news today and it was a minor shock to log in and see that Clarke has passed. I also didn’t know that he and The Great Bird were friends, although that is not surprising. I certainly hope CNN does a special on him tonight,
One of the GIANTS of SF is gone. A sad day indeed.
Jeez, another childhood hero gone … Asimov and Clarke fill my shelves and entertained me throughout my life .. RIP. but what a legacy he leaves behind …
He actually did a review of Star Trek III for Starlog. He was very fond of Trek.
What disheartening news. Another 20th century genius gone. I was just discussing the passing of Vonnegut a few years ago with a friend. He will surely be missed.
I was just looking at my 2001 poster in my office yesterday and thinking that we probably wouldn’t have him around much longer. Sometimes, it hurts to be right.
A very sad day…
Really sad…and an incalculable loss to humanity and science fiction literature!
Anyone up for a campaign to change the name of Europa?
What can I hope to add, aside from noting the singularity of my own grief? From his early nonfiction book The Promise of Space through “Childhood’s End,” “The City and the Stars,” “Imperial Earth,” and, of course, “2001,” Clarke was a window to a world much larger than most of us are capable of grasping fully, yet he never lost sight of the humanistic values he judged to be all the more important to a species that finds itself but a blip in cosmic history. Yes, he wanted Mankind to journey to the stars, but not so we could just fight wars or build ghettoes at the other end of the journey–he thought we had far greater potential than that. If we manage to survive, I have no doubt that momuments acknowledging his vision will be built in strange and exotic locales long after most of the vain and petty personalities we currently mistake for historical figures are long since forgotten.
For this hardcore secularist, watching 2001 is as close to a religious experience as I can come, and I’ll always be grateful to Arthur Clarke for that, and much more. R.I.P., Sir Arthur.
Another one of the greats…sorry to hear about it. Thank you, Mr. Clarke, for the inspiration.
The only one left I can think of is Ray Bradbury. It makes me want to take a trip to a small town and watch the carnival set up near the wheat fields.
A very great loss to all of us who dream. We must honor him by remembering his sense of wonder.
If JJ or Robert or anyone is reading this — I see a tidbit that NASA calls geosyncronous orbits “Clarke” orbits, because he originated the concept of satellite communication many years before it became fact. That would easily fit into the movie!
ps- I fully confess to reading and believing something about Clarke from 2005. I just checked. It was ultimately retracted by the cussed tabloid — including the quotes from Clarke that they added. If you know what I’m talking about, then know I am sorry NOT to have seen the retraction before this. It appears in Wikipedia’s articles.
Vale… and may you continue to go boldly in strange and wondrous places
“Give me a Clarke orbit, Mr. Sulu!”
Arthur C. Clarke,
Thanks for writing great sci-fi books and you are very much missed. :(
I hope he’s on an Odyssey right now….
“My God, it’s full of stars” (classic line)
Here’s to hoping that one of those stars is him. (raises a toast)
I is sad that so many of the great minds of Science Fiction, from Roddenbrerry and Asimov and Heinlein and now Clarke have already passed away.
And I sure hope that there wil be some sort of dedication within Star Trek XI, it would only seem fitting. Sad also because now he will not see one of his most famous books, Rendezvous with Rama, turned into a movie in 2009. (Unbelievable that it’s already 2008. There was a time when 2001 seemed so far away…)
Childhood’s End was one of my all-time favourites! I will surely miss him!
Rama would look awesome in CGI. I’d love to see them favor the later books, when the characters were more important than the gee-whiz discovery, but I suppose Hollywood likes trilogies anyway.
A great writer and visionary, he will be sadly missed by many I think.
Godspeed, Mr. Clarke! May the odyssey never end…
Goodbye, Mr. Clarke. Thank you for all your imaginings. The realms of both science fact and science fiction are indebted to you.
And yes, a “Clarke” orbit indeed, sirs.
R.I.P. Sir Arthur. What a mind.
To say Arthur C. Clarke was a visionary and a giant of the sci-fi genre is a cliche, but I will say it anyway.
He will be sorely missed.
I’m another longtime Arthur C. Clarke fan; I even had the pleasure of briefly corresponding with him back in the 1980’s when I was in college. He was truly one of the last great grandmasters of science fiction and will be greatly missed. I’d recently read that he had arranged to have his DNA shot off into space after his death; I find that to be a fitting epitath for such an imaginative visionary – in a way, his journey will never end. I also agree that some dedication or reference to him in Trek 11 would be a great idea.
You were a giant in the field of science fiction and the author who’s work most closely matched the feeling of humanity, wonder, and exploration which is inherent in Star Trek.
No. 33 Cmdr
They are making Renedezvous to Rama movie.
Ohhho ohhhh #24, is that “Something Wicked This Way Comes”? Made me mess my pants when I first read it in gradeschool. Is Rama really going to be a movie? “Bout time. Loved that one in grade school too. I spent many a lunch break in the school library just reading all these great stories by these great authors. Same for high school and college. Used to hang out at Powell’s used bookstore (2nd largest in the USA) every other weeknight reading scifi books. Great times, great childhood. Thanks Mr Clarke. Thank you. Thanks to all the authors who kept me wondering about the universe…
2001, Rendevous with Rama, The Sands of Mars,Childhoods End,Imperial Earth and so many others, His science fiction was so damned believable, you could read one of his novels or stories and believe that what he portrayed could be the future, it had that level of plausibility. The man was lightyears ahead of the curve and many of his colleagues Whenever I read anything by him I felt a sense of awe,wonder and adventure, that i wanted to be in this place that he created. Not to many writers can give you that sense but he did it better then anybody else. 90 years on this earth is not a bad run and he was at the top of his game for many of those years. Like the late Jack Williamson another great writer , Mr Clark’s career spanned the entire era went from the golden age to the modern era.
Childhood’s End was one of the best horror stories I ever read.
Just caught this on Drudge. Godspeed, Arthur. Even in Heaven, you’ll walk as a Man among men.
R.I.P. Mr. Clark. See you…out there!
This is a very sad day indeed.
I’d just completed my draft of “Rendezvous with Rama” for Morgan Freeman. Though I’d not spoken to Arthur due to his ill health, I understand he had recently asked to read the sript. It is sad that that never came to be. He was quite simply the father of dreams. I have no idea if my draft will become the script that is eventually put to film, but it is my sincerest hope that whatever becomes of the movie, that it honors his memory. Thank you Arthur, for sharing with all of us, your unique vision.
I was published with Sir Arthur in 2005, in the SF anthology Elemental, and it has been a source of great pride that I was asked to adapt one of his great novels.
May he rest in peace, and my thanks for letting me share in his vision.
What can I say that hasn’t all ready been said? From his earliest short stories I read as a youngster to this later novels I enjoyed I my adulthood, this man has had a major impact on who I am. Hence the name Moonwatcher! Rest in peace Arthur….
He will be missed, he was among my first “Hard Science-Fiction” reads and beyond the 2001 saga, i will always remember the 4 rama books that i read when i was 14 years old and opened my eyes as much to the universe at large than the universe that is inside us… I will always be thankful for that… As Stel Pavlou just mentioned i hope that the future “Rendez-Vous with Rama” movie will do him justice.
A towering intellect– a fascinating individual. What we owe him cannot be summed up in words. I have nothing but respect for the Shakespeare of Space.