If he was still with us, Sir Arthur C. Clarke would have been 92 today, December 16th. I assume that most readers of this blog know who Sir Clarke is, but, if by some chance you’re not, then you’re missing a treat. Sir Clarke was one of the most prolific and one of the very best SciFi authors we have ever had the good fortune to enjoy.
His novel The Fountains of Paradise was the book that inspired me and many others to dream about a Space Elevator – and now many of us are working towards making that dream a reality through the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC).
The Planetary society recently had a program celebrating their own Planetary Radio’s 7th anniversary. The bulk of the show was replaying a March, 2003 interview they had with Sir Clarke shortly after they began broadcasting. This is a fascinating interview and well worth your time… One of the items from the interview that I found very interesting was Sir Clarke’s revelation about how at lunch one day with JR Tolkien (of Lord of the Rings fame), Mr. Tolkien revealed to him how he came up with the idea of the “Hobbits” – funny stuff…
They also briefly discuss the Space Elevator and The Fountains of Paradise.
Incidentally, the host of the Planetary Society’s Radio Show, Mat Kaplan, shows that he’s always had ‘the touch’ when it comes to conducting interviews – Mat, you’re the best…
This YouTube Video is of Sir Clarke talking about the Space Elevator.
I was just able to locate the vinyl record of “Selected Readings” of The Fountains of Paradise that is shown and referenced in this video. I’ve been looking for it for over a year – I love ebay…
The three photographs of Sir Clarke I’ve included in this post have been, in previous posts of mine about Sir Clarke, but for new readers they should prove interesting. The first picture is of Yuri Artsutanov (on the left), one of the modern day ‘fathers’ of the concept of the Space Elevator, and Sir Clarke. It is undated and I found it online (and, alas, the original location of it no longer exists so I can’t reference it or give credit to anyone for it). The second is also a picture of Mr. Artsutanov and Sir Clarke from 1980 (the other “modern father” of the Space Elevator, Jerome Pearson, kindly emailed it to me). The third picture is of Soviet (yes, at the time it was “Soviet”) cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and Sir Clarke at Sir Clarke’s 90th Birthday party. I found this picture on Thilna Heenatigala’s blog.
Listen to the Planetary radio interview with Sir Clarke, watch the YouTube interview with Sir Clarke and, if you haven’t read The Fountains of Paradise, do yourself a favor and find it and read it – you’ll be glad you did.
Happy birthday Sir Clarke – we miss you and your boundless optimism for the future. Someday we will make a Space Elevator and, if there’s any justice, it will be named the “Clarke Elevator”…
(Click on any of the picture thumbnails to see a larger version of the picture)
Sorry to be a pedant..but by the correct form of address for a Knight in the United Kingdom, he is Sir Arthur….not Sir Clarke. A great man; I met him back in the early nineties, and we found we had stayed in the same room at the Chelsea Hotel in New York..he whilst collaborating with Stanley Kubrick on “2001”, and me several years later. I have a copy of the original Wireless World magazine in which he proposed the communications satellite…he thought we’d probably need 3 for global coverage!
Many happies Sir Arthur! Wish you were still with us; someday perhaps one of us will travel to Mars and raise a toast to you there. 🙂
If only we had more optimistic people like Clarke – with wealth – we might see some progress.