Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Week Three - C is for Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke

When you think of Arthur C. Clarke, generally the first thing to come to mind is 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not only did he write the book, but also helped create the film and went on to write 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey. I recently found 2061 and it is on my list to read this year.

Clarke loved science and built his very first telescope when he was 13 years old. In 1945 he wrote a technical paper "Extra Terrestrial Relays" in which he wrote the principles for satellite communications which led to the global satellites systems we use today. In 1949 he became Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society. According to the Clark Foundation:

Clarke's work, which led to the global satellite systems in use today, brought him numerous honors including the 1982 Marconi International Fellowship, a gold medal of the Franklin Institute, the Vikram Sarabhai Professorship of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, the Lindbergh Award and a Fellowship of King's College, London. Today, the geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometers above the equator is named The Clarke Orbit by the International Astronomical Union.

Clarke wrote a number of interesting non fiction books about exploring space and the sea.

Interplanetary Flight (1950) about rockets, orbital mechanics and space

Exploration of Space (1951) About the possibilities of space exploration

Exploration of the Moon (1954) and the possibilities of future space travel

Young travelers in Space (1954) History of rocket development and satellite launches

He also spent years exploring the great barrier reef and wrote several books about underwater exploration:

The Coast of Coral (1956) about his adventures and mishaps which exploring the great barrier reef.

Boy beneath the sea (1958)

The Challenge of the Sea (1960) about deep sea exploration and the future

Arthur Clarke was not only a prolific writer and wrote many great science fiction books. He's made many predictions over the years which can be found here.

He also came up with the "Three Laws" of prediction:

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    Arthur C. Clarke died at the age of 90 in 2008.    Whether you agree with his predictions or not, he was an excellent writer and many of his fiction books have found a home in my bookshelves.  I've never read any of his non fiction books and look forward to discovering what he had to say.


    Book Review Links for Week # 3

    Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post.


    1. In the book Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux describes a visit he paid to Clarke's house in Sri Lanka in 2006 or 2007. Clarke was wearing a t-shirt that read "I invented the satellite and all I got was this lousy T-shirt". He describes him as "surrounded by books and trophies, falteringa nd fuguitive in his memories.".

      He is an author I'd really love to read this year, too.

    2. Ghost Train sounds interesting. I looked it up on Amazon. Will add it to my wish list.

    3. From my review of Seth Godin's "Linchpin":

      In just over 200 pages, Seth Godin asks, explores, and answers many of the ideas questions that have been on my mind lately, especially as it relates to work and the possibility of work as art. I’ve been considering this not just for myself but for my sons, one a junior and the other a senior in high school. This book is a must read for anyone considering their own future, or what to tell their kids about how they can live their own lives.

    4. This week I tackled poetry, with rave reviews.

    5. Still hanging in there. Short book this week. The Old Man and the Sea. Review is at the link above or click here:

    6. Oh, it looks like I am a week late...SORRY! I finished book 3--The Temple Dancer a few days ago and posted the review on Wednesday. Hope you like it!

    7. I've been keeping up w/my reading, but due to a family emergency I have not been keeping up with writing my blog reviews. Today I posted "Where is God?" and next up will be a classic "Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling.


    Thank you for your kind comments.