RECENT NEWS ABOUT SIR ARTHUR C. CLARKE
* Updated 1 Feb 2007 *
PURPOSE OF THIS PAGE: In addition to news links on our main Clarke page, lots of "tidbits" come our way via discussion groups, wire services and e-mail. These are listed in chronological order, with the more recent material at the top.
Thank you for your concern about my safety in the wake of last Sunday�s devastating tidal wave.
I am enormously relieved that my family and household have escaped the ravages of the sea that suddenly invaded most parts of coastal Sri Lanka, leaving a trail of destruction.
But many others were not so fortunate. My heart-felt sympathy goes out to all those who lost family members or friends.
Our staff members are all safe, even though some are badly shaken and relate harrowing first hand accounts of what happened. Most of our diving equipment and boats at Hikkaduwa were washed away. We still don't know the full extent of damage -- it will take a while for us to take stock as accessing these areas is still difficult.
We are encouraging concerned friends to contribute to the relief efforts launched by various national and international organisations. If you wish to join these efforts, I can recommend two options:
- Contribute to a Sri Lanka disaster relief fund launched by an internationally operating humanitarian charity, such as Care* or Oxfam*
- Alternatively, considering supporting Sarvodaya, the largest development charity in Sri Lanka, which has a 45-year track record in reaching out and helping the poorest of the poor. Sarvodaya has mounted a well organised, countrywide relief effort using their countrywide network of offices and volunteers who work in all parts of the country, well above ethnic and other divisions. Their website, http://www.sarvodaya.lk/, provides bank account details for financial donations. They also welcome contributions in kind -- a list of urgently needed items is found at: http://www.sarvodaya.lk/Inside_Page/urgently%20needed.htm
There is much to be done in both short and long terms for Sri Lanka to raise its head from this blow from the seas. Among other things, the country needs to improve its technical and communications facilities so that effective early warnings can help minimise losses in future disasters.
29 December 2004
DIAMONDS IN THE SKY - AND OTHER EVENTS
Week of Feb. 23, 2004
This note by Sir Arthur was written in the last week of February 2004 and relayed from intermediary Richard Murch:
"You may seen the recent press story that a diamond a
quarter of the size of the Earth has been discovered in
deep space and has been given the name Lucy.
"I did just this in my book 2061: ODYSSEY THREE (published
1989) - and also named it Lucy! (see chapter 48). It's
almost as spooky as, 30 years ago, using the date 9/11 for
the global catastrophe in my book RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA.
"Friends are recommending I turn my attention next to the US
"Arthur C. Clarke"
CLARKE INTERVIEWED ABOUT MARS
4 Aug 2003
Sir Arthur C. Clarke was a guest during the BBC program "The Sky at Night," which was shown on Aug. 4, 2003, and repeated on Aug. 9.
During the program, astronomer Patrick Moore talked to Sir Arthur about terraforming and manned exploration, particularly as the subjected related to Mars, which within a few days was about to reach its closest approach to Earth in 50,000 years.
It was noted by some concerned fans who watched the program that Sir Arthur did not seem entirely well.
CLARKE ADVISES ROBOT HALL OF FAME
May 2, 2003
This is the partial text of an article by Byron Spice of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and distributed by Scripps Howard News Service
Must credit Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"R2D2, meet NavLab, the truck that steers itself."
That could be the scene at the induction ceremonies at the new Robot Hall of Fame.
Created by Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science and Robotics Institute in collaboration with the Carnegie Science Center and the Pennsylvania state tourism and economic development departments, the hall will honor noteworthy robots, both real and fictional, with interactive exhibits.
Pittsburgh, already touted as the Detroit of robotics, thus could become the field's Cooperstown as well.
The hall will induct its first honorees this fall and initially will be housed at the university. But it may be included, along with a large robotics exhibit and arena, in a proposed expansion of the Carnegie Science Center, said James Morris, dean of Carnegie Mellon's computer science school.
Betsy Momich, spokeswoman for Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, said a robotics hall and exhibit will be considered as officials develop plans for the expansion. But much remains to be determined. Parisian architect Jean Nouvel was selected for the project last year and schematic plans are being developed this year. Decisions about construction will depend in part on fund-raising efforts.
"We're committed to make this (hall) happen," Momich said. "Whether it's on our site or not, the commitment is there."
The hall will include either the robots themselves, or replicas. But just as the Baseball Hall of Fame is more than a bunch of old, musty uniforms, the hall envisioned by Morris would include a number of interactive educational and entertaining exhibits about robots.
An exhibit within the expanded science center might also include a permanent or portable arena for RoboCup robotic soccer competitions, Morris said.
Inductees to the hall will be selected by a 10-member jury that includes noted roboticist Rodney Brooks, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology�s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, author of "2001: A Space Odyssey."
Morris expects two to five robots will be inducted each year, including real robots that do actual work or research as well as fictional robots that have fired the public�s imagination. The jury is still discussing the criteria, but some robots would seem to be shoo-ins.
"Arthur C. Clarke has mentioned HAL twice now," Morris noted, referring to the HAL 9000 computer that controlled a robotic spaceship and ultimately turned villainous in "2001." ....
Nominations to the hall of fame are open and will be accepted until Aug. 31. They can be e-mailed to Morris at james.morris(at)cmu.edu. The jury will make its selections by Oct. 1 and the inductees will be announced at a Nov. 30 ceremony.
CLARKE LISTED AMONG 50 GREAT BRITONS
Feb 26, 2002
The following is the text of a press released distributed from Sir Arthur's office
Sir Arthur C. Clarke Among 50 Great Britons of our Time
Colombo: Sri Lanka: 25th February 2002: Sir Arthur C. Clarke has been included in a list of 50 outstanding men and women of the past half century "who will go down in history as great modern Elizabethans". The list appears in the British Airways High Life for February, to mark the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.
"We have chosen to include men and women who, in the words of biographical dictionaries "flourished between the years 1952 and 2002" say the magazines editors. "By this, we mean they came to prominence, or recorded their most notable achievements, during the present monarchy."
The list includes writers, actors, singers, sportspersons, entrepreneurs and politicians. Among the scientists are Francis Crick who co- discovered the structure of DNA, cosmologist Stephen Hawking, inventor Clive Sinclair, and Tim Berners-Lee who created the World Wide Web - and credits Sir Arthur's short story, 'Dial F for Frankenstein' for the initial idea.
Other famous Britons include Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Sir Sean Connery, Laurence Olivier, Sir Paul McCartney, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Anthony Burgess and J. K. Rowling author and creator of Harry Potter.
List Sir Arthur under the year 1968, the magazine writes: "Not many scientists can claim to have influenced as diverse a group as Stanley Kubrick, Rupert Murdoch, and David Bowie. In 1968, the visionary film 2001, directed by Kubrick, was the brainchild of 51= year old Arthur C Clarke, a freethinking fantasy writer with serious scientific credentials. Clarke's message cleverly combined anxiety (super-intelligent computers gone berserk) with comfort (super-intelligent aliens are out watching over civilization) The magazine goes on to say that as an RAF officer, Clarke developed the idea of the communication satellites in geostationary orbit � now the basis of global television.
Elsewhere in the same issue, High Life, refers to Sir Arthur again in a discussion on the modern day Renaissance Man - one whose versatility spans several areas of human endeavor. Noting that the post-war period has been an era of the specialist, the editors single out playwright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard and Sir Arthur as "talented individuals in our list whose achievements are anything but narrow"
Sir Arthur's career spans a period of 60 years ahs seen him excel in several fields, as amateur astronomer, science fiction author, underwater explorer, television personality and science populariser.
'CHILDHOOD'S END' FILM RIGHTS OPTIONED
February 2, 2002
The following is from the Hollywood Reporter: "Clarke's 'End' is Peirce's next odyssey at Universal"
Kimberly Peirce, who co-wrote and directed the critically acclaimed feature "Boys Don't Cry," is in final negotiations to direct a big-screen adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's science fiction novel "Childhood's End" for Universal Pictures/Beacon Pictures. A screenwriter is expected to come aboard shortly to adapt the project. Published in 1987 [actually in 1953 - jcs], Clarke's novel features giant spaceships that suddenly appear over every major city on Earth. The arrival of the mysterious aliens, known as the Overlords, ushers in a half-decade of unprecedented peace and prosperity during which poverty, disease and prejudice are nearly eliminated. Not all is what it seems, though, as this "golden era" is the precursor to a new evolution for mankind, bringing about the end of the human race as we know it.
Beacon's Armyan Bernstein and Rudy Langlais are producing the project, whose book rights are owned by the studio. (Zorianna Kit)
John Sherwood adds: This is at least the third time an attempt has been made to bring this novel to the big screen. During the 1960s and 1970s, two experienced film scriptwriters -- Abraham Polonsky and Howard Koch -- each produced a screenplay for a production that never came to fruition. It remains to be seen how far this effort will go, especially in view of the long-standing difficulty Morgan Freeman has had in attempting to film "Rendezvous with Rama."
STEPHEN KING CREDITS SIR ARTHUR WITH E-PUBLICATION LAUNCH
Dec 13, 2001:
It may not have been an auspicious start, but the first tenous steps toward worldwide e-publication publication got its start because of Sir Arthur C. Clarke.
As the announcement came that MightyWords Inc. -- a former subsidiary of Fatbrain -- would shut down its e-publication business in January, The Associated Press reported the link between Clarke and the venture.
The AP reported that Stephen King had read a brief, Fatbrain-distributed piece by Clarke about future technology, prompting King's decision also to write an e-text. That became 'Riding the Bullet,' an e-novella published in March 2000 that prompted hundreds of thousands of downloads.
A mass audience failed to materialize, however. Apparently, the world will have to wait for further developments.
SIR ARTHUR BEAMED TO GALA VIA HOLOGRAM
Nov. 19, 2001:
Variety reports Science Fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke appeared at a tribute to his iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey last week... as a hologram. "Beam me up, Scotty, indeed," Clarke was heard to say.
The event, hosted by Patrick Stewart last Thursday at the Playboy Mansion, featured a replica of the monolith and three actors in ape suits waving bones at the entrance. Clarke, who was at his home in Sri Lanka, attended virtually via a three dimensional holographic technology created by Teleportec.
SIR ARTHUR TO ADDRESS COLLOQUIUM
Nov. 16, 2001:
Worcester, MA - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is hosting a half-day
colloquium "Imagining the Future: Visions of the World to Come," on Friday, November 30 at 9 a.m. in the Odeum Rooms at WPI's Campus Center.
Featured speakers are Sir Arthur C. Clarke, author, visionary and screenwriter; Dr. Raymond Kurzweil, founder of Kurzweil Technologies; Dr. Alison Taunton-Rigby, President of Forester Biotech; and Dr. David Cyganski, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at WPI.
Clarke, who wrote "2001: A Space Odyssey" will greet attendees via satellite hook-up from Sri Lanka, and answer questions from the audience.
Additional information available at
SIR ARTHUR CAN'T ATTEND PLAYBOY GALA
Nov. 6, 2001:
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Associated Press) 'Arthur C. Clarke said Tuesday he won't travel to Los Angeles for a gala where awards for film and television excellence named for him will be announced.
'I will miss many of my old friends, but long travel for me is close to impossible now,' said the 83-year-old science fiction writer, who uses a wheelchair because of complications from a 1959 polio attack.
'I have decided to keep a low profile so that I get enough time to listen to music and play a game of pingpong,' Clarke said in an interview with The Associated Press. 'Sometimes I think I am doing too much work.'
A series of annual Arthur C. Clarke awards will be announced at the Nov. 15 dinner at the Playboy Mansion. Organizers with the Space Frontier Foundation have said that actor Tom Hanks and movie director James Cameron will serve as co-chairmen, and astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell may attend.
Clarke, who co-wrote the screenplay for the 1968 film '2001: A Space Odyssey' with Stanley Kubrick, said he may be hooked up by satellite for a two-way conversation during the event.
SIR ARTHUR TO BE HONORED AT PLAYBOY MANSION
Oct. 27, 2001:
Sir Arthur C. Clarke is to join a gala event via satellite link from Sri Lanka, when Clarke is honored Nov. 15 at a gathering in Los Angeles.
According to a news release, will be transformed with the monolith from the 1968 movie, along with telescopes and actors dressed as the pre-hominid ancestors of mankind.
Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell are to attend, and actor Tom Hanks and 'Titanic' director James Cameron will co-chair the event. Actor Morgan Freeman is scheduled to read from Clarke's "A Randezvous with Rama."
SIR ARTHUR CALLS FOR UNITY AGAINST TERRORISTS
Sept. 12, 2001:
According to the Lanka Academic, Vol. 2, No. 160, with Roy Mendis reporting in Colombo, Sri Lanka:
"Sir Arthur C.Clarke, the science visionary, hopes that the catastrophic terrorist attack in the United States will 'unite the whole world in an effort to stamp out' those responsible for it.
"'It has been said that every catastrophe is an opportunity and one can only hope that this atrocity will unite the whole world in an effort to stamp out those responsible,' he said in a statement here today.
"'Meanwhile life must go on.To quote the words of the greatest Anglo-American of the last century, Winston Churchill: "Never give up -never give up - never EVER give up!," ' Sir Arthur said."
SIR ARTHUR DECRIES BELIEF IN MOON 'HOAX'
July 11, 2001:
An article about broadening belief in the U.S. regarding the alleged moon-landing 'hoax' -- seen at this URL --
... has drawn a response from Sir Arthur, according to a message from Barry Karr at Skeptical Inquirer. Here's Sir Arthur's reaction:
As a long-time admirer of the United States, I am appalled to hear that a recent poll suggests that 20% of Americans are ignorant fools: I hope the figure is grossly exaggerated, as no other term is strong enough to describe anyone who believes the Moon landings have been faked. If the late unlamented Evil Empire was still around, I might have suspected some of being communist sympathisers attempting to discredit the one achievement for which the U.S.A. may be remembered a thousand years from now.
Remembering how quickly Watergate unravelled, how could any sane person imagine that a conspiracy involving *hundreds of thousands of people over more than a decade* would not have done the same? Ben Franklin put it well : `A secret known to three people can be kept - as long as two of them are dead.'
And how do these nitwits account for the fact that, for the last thirty years, the laser reflectors and radio sensors on the Moon have been transmitting terabytes of data back to Earth? Who do they think put them there - E.T.s?
But I can't waste any more time on lunatics: I am too busy proving that George Washington never existed, but was invented by the British Disinformation Service to account for a certain minor unpleasantness in the Colonies.
11 Jul `01.
PS Everyone: Please pass on - but don't give my address!!
'CITY AND THE STARS' PERFORMANCE SET
June 29, 2001:
David Bedford's musical work, "The City and The Stars," inspired by Sir Arthur C. Clarke's novel of the same name, will be performed at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on July 14. More information can be obtained at this Web site, which features a message board for discussing the concert and Sir Arthur's book:
SIR ARTHUR CHATS AT SMITHSONIAN EVENT
June 6, 2001:
We've written a full report on this event, which you'll find on a separate page by clicking
In coverage of Space Day (Thursday, May 3), The Associated Press reported Sir Arthur's remarks about the prospects for humankind's reach beyond the vicinity of Earth. He said he was optimistic about manned exploration of other planets, but said more work is needed before a trip to Mars happens.
"It's true that Stanley and I were too optimistic about the time scale, but sooner or later in the new century, manned exploration of the planets will happen," Clarke said.
"Many of our speculations in the movie have come true where information technologies were concerned, including the global internet," he said.
He added that more efficient transport systems, a reliable space station and greater cooperation among nations would be necessary before human planetary exploration will occur.
SIR ARTHUR PRESENTS AWARD AT OSCAR CEREMONY
March 27, 2001:
During the presentation of the annual Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood on the evening of March 25, 2001, actor Tom Hanks introduced a brief clip of Sir Arthur, during which Sir Arthur -- appearing hale and healthy -- presented the Oscar for the best original screenplay (it went to "Traffic").
Via e-mail, Sir Arthur related the following: "It was filmed a couple of weeks ago in Colombo - in front of the Moonscape in my lobby! I'm delighted it went so well and I'm very anxious to see the final product, especially of course Tom Hanks' remarks. Another big surprise - a fax from Charles Z. Wick, who was head of the USIS many years ago and I knew in his Washington days. His son got an Oscar for 'Gladiator'!"
When Hanks introduced Sir Arthur as "the greatest science-fiction writer in the universe," the suggestion was very strong that the clip was being shown live from Sri Lanka via satellite (Bob Dylan was seen earlier, in a live transmission via satellite from Australia). This, of course, was not the case. It can be deduced, therefore, that Sir Arthur filmed five alternative announcements, including the one that ultimately was used for "Traffic."
During his presentation, Sir Arthur mentioned that he and Stanley Kubrick had been nominated for best original screenplay for the 1968 film of "2001: A Space Odyssey," and that he still had in his files "the best Oscar acceptance speech never delivered."
SIR ARTHUR SCRIPTED APOLLO PROGRAM?
March 26, 2001:
Here's a howler for those who were around for the space launches of the 1960s and the 1970s: According to an item published and distributed by wire services on March 24, originating from the Los Angeles Times:
"Charles K. Johnson, irrepressible advocate and president of the International Flat Earth Society for nearly three decades, has died. He was 76. ... ...
"Johnson insisted that the moon missions and the whole space program were a hoax scripted by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke and filmed at Meteor Crater in Arizona."
When we informed Sir Arthur of the development, he responded with the following message:
"I've written to Dan Goldin saying I was never paid for this work, and unless he does something quickly he'll be hearing from my killer lawyers, Geldsnatch, Geldsnatch & Blubberclutch."
'2001' SEQUENCE AMONG 50 TOP FILM MOMENTS
March 24, 2001:
The U.S. publication TV Guide for the week of March 18-24 included the Hal-disconnection sequence in "2001" as No. 21 on its list of the 50 greatest movie moments of all time.
'2001' DOCUMENTARY ON U.K. TELEVISION
From an e-mail correspondent:
Time - 23:25 to 00:45 (1 hour and 20 minutes long).
When - Saturday 13th January on Channel 4 (UK)
Documentary about the making of Stanley Kubrick's classic
space epic, presented by James Cameron. The programme includes unseen
footage, plus interviews with the film's star Keir Dullea, special
effects man Douglas Trumbull and co-author Arthur C Clarke
CLARKE DNA READY FOR SPACE
From Reuters, Jan. 3, 2001:
Sci-Fi Author Clarke's DNA Set for Space Odyssey
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Arthur C. Clarke will not be on board
himself and the timing might be off by a couple of years,
but a message penned by the science fiction writer and a
DNA sample extracted from his hair will set off on a space
odyssey in 2003.
The 83-year-old author of "2001: A Space Odyssey" is one of
55,000 people who have signed up to take part in a project
organized by Houston-based Encounter 2001 LLC to send a
message into deep space for anybody out there who may be
"It's like a cosmic message in a bottle, an archive of
humanity," said Encounter 2001 spokesman Chris
The spacecraft is tentatively scheduled for launch by an
Ariane V rocket in French Guiana in the third quarter of
Checks will be conducted during a three-week orbit of the
Earth, then a giant "solar sail" will be unfurled which
will carry the craft on a 13.5-year journey beyond Pluto
and on into deep space.
"Fare well my clone!" is the brief handwritten message
which Clarke will send along with the DNA sample and a
photograph of himself to any extraterrestrials who may
intercept the craft.
Pancheri said the project will cost about $25 million,
which Encounter 2001 hopes to recoup through sponsorship
The idea has proved popular among schoolchildren, he said,
who view it as a new twist on the practice of burying time
capsules so that they can be discovered by future
CLARKE IN PAIN AS 2001 BEGINS
From The Associated Press, Jan. 2 2001:
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - The year 2001 got off to a painful start for science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke,who spent New Year1s Day resting.
Clarke, author of "2001: A Space Odyssey," suffers from
post-polio syndrome, a condition characterized by fatigue
and muscle and joint pain. It can strike polio survivors
anywhere from 10 to 40 years after their recovery from
polio. Clarke had the disease in 1959.
"It is really painful; I can1t stand up," Sir Arthur told
The Associated Press from his home Monday. "This is the
first time that I have had this severe pain."
Clarke, 83, predicted space travel before rockets were tested and foretold computers wreaking havoc with modern life.
'2001' SET FOR BERLIN 2001
From Variety.com, early November 2000:
Classic to be re-released March 7
By ADAM DAWTREY
LONDON - A remastered version of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" will close the 2001 Berlin Film Festival before being re-released in several major territories worldwide.
The Berlin screening is set for Feb. 18, while the March 7 re-release date will coincide with the second anniversary of the director's
Before then, there will be a one-off chance to see the film
Jan. 1 at the National Film Theater in London. With the
re-release upcoming, "2001" is not available for theatrical
screening anywhere else in the world.
Warner Bros. has made an exception for the NFT because shortly before Kubrick's death the British Film Institute spent a great deal of money creating a new 70mm print.
It is hoped that Kubrick's widow and children will attend the NFT presentation. They are also expected to attend Berlin, along with the film's special-effects maestro Douglas Trumbull.
RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA
From Variety.com, late September 2000:
AN INTEL REVELATION: The Intel Corp. is forming a strategic partnership with Revelations Ent., the production company run by Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary.
The alliance has to do with Revelations' intention to adapt
"Rendezvous With Rama," the novel by "2001: A Space Odyssey" author Arthur C. Clarke, which David Fincher is attached to direct. But it will also lead to the formation of a subsidiary company devoted to the evolving field of digital filmmaking, which Intel, Freeman and McCreary say is where desktop publishing was a decade ago.
Intel's foray into filmmaking comes as the result of its manufacture of computer workstations that allow for the editing of digital photography. �
Freeman said, "The current trend toward more digital
effects in film will continue until digital cinematography
is the norm, not the event that it is now, and Lori and I created
Revelations with this kind of technological leap in mind."