Arthur C. Clarke was born in 1917 in Minehead, Somerset. His mother was Nora Clarke and his father was Charles Wright Clarke. He had two brothers, Frederick and Michael and one sister, Mary. There were many events that helped to shape him and his writing style. The first major event in his early life was his first plane ride. He went on a Avro 504 biplane with his mother in 1927, this ride remained in his mind forever, and as he progressed as a writer it fueled his science fiction from jet-planes to space travel. Soon thereafter in 1928 Arthur read his first science fiction magazine. At the young age of twelve he began to develop his almost fanatic obsession with Science Fiction. This forever curved his path towards writing Science Fiction. Also in early 1930 Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men was published, this beautifully written piece of science fiction was to have a profound effect on Clarke’s writing. The last major event in Clarke’s early life is on a sadder note. His father died in 1931 when Clarke was only 14 years old. As a result most of the major characters in his novels perish. (www.acclarke)
In his later life there were also several events that helped to shape Clarke’s writing style. In 1941 Clarke joined the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft hand Radio Wireless Mechanic/Aircraftmen Class 2. He was later trained in the use of Radio Direction Finding, termed RADAR. This allowed him to write well about armed conflict because he had experienced it for himself. In June 1946 Clarke was demobilized from the R.A.F. Only 3 months later in October of 1946 Clarke Enrolled at King’s College in London where he attained a bachelor’s of General Science Degree in physics, applied and pure mathematics. This gave him the base of knowledge, which he used to understand space and underlay many of his fiction works with true physics of movement. Other important events in 1946 include his election to Chairmanship of the British Interplanetary Society and his meeting of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein. In 1948 he graduated college with first class honors. He then attended University College for post-graduate studies in Astronomy. This further reinforced his knowledge of space and helped allow him to write the myriad of non-fiction books about space that he has written. In June of 1952 his book, The Exploration of Space is sold for some 50,000 dollars, this marks a turning point in his career as being known to only a select few to becoming widely known. He appeared on “The Today Show” that same month. He also meets Robert Bloch “Psycho” and E. E. “Doc” Smith at the American Science Fiction convention. In June of 1953 Clarke is married to Marilyn Torgenson. This marriage lasts only until the Christmas of the same year. This is portrayed through the marriages in his books showing fluctuations in stability, though most marriages in his books do not end. In 1998 Clarke was knighted, an honor reserved to those who have made a significant impact on the world in some way. (www.lsi.usp) Clarke also is the chancellor of the University of Moratuwa. (www.slt.lk)
There are many applicable quotes to describe Clarke and his work. But, the best quotes seem to flow from Clarke himself. “The only way to find the limits of the possible is by going beyond them to the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke. (www.acclarke.) This truly reflects Clarke’s life; he went from being a slightly above-average child to being an acclaimed and respected Science Fiction Author and head of the space department of Sri Lanka. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – Arthur C. Clarke. (www.acclarke.) This reflects the description of the technological devices in Clarke’s books, from matter conversion to teleportation; he made it all seem magical. “When a distinguished but elderly scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he says it is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” – Arthur C. Clarke. (www.acclarke.) This reflects Clarke himself, he stated impossibilities and then continually went past even his own expectations.
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