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"We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40 - and half the things he knows at 40 hadn't been discovered when he was 20?" - Arthur C Clarke


Arthur C. ClarkeArthur C Clarke (1917-2008) is widely considered one of the "Big Three" modern science fiction writers (the other two being Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein). During his 91 years he penned about 100 books and more than 1,000 short stories and essays. He is remembered for his knack of predicting the future long before most people could imagine such things. In 1945, while working as a radar technician, he published a paper predicting communications satellites but a lawyer told him that his ideas were so far fetched that they couldn't be patented - thus, when communications satellites started to appear in the 1960s, he got not a dime.

Most consider 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) to be Clarke's most important work. The mind bending themes explored in both the book and the movie directed by Stanley Kubrick made it one of the most discussed books/films ever - it is said that on a visit to the USA, an immigration official told Clarke, "I won't let you in until you explain the ending of 2001"!

In their obituary, The Guardian describes Clarke as a "beaming and highly articulate shambles of a chap" and gooes on to say that "his amazing career was only possible because he was never, in any ordinary sense, quite a part of the world."

He 1953, he got married and divorced, after which he declared himself not the marrying type. A few years later, in 1956, he moved to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) where he set up a scuba diving business. Although he rejected religion, he embraced a universal spiritualism in both his life and work. He spent his final years in a wheelchair, crippled by post-polio syndrome. In the late 1990s he donated some of his hair to be launched into space.

Interesting Links:
The Arthur C Clarke Foundation
An article published in 2000 in which Clarke predicts 1000 years into the future


More Quotes by Arthur C Clarke

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

"CNN is one of the participants in the war. I have a fantasy where Ted Turner is elected president but refuses because he doesn't want to give up power."

"Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: 1- It's completely impossible. 2- It's possible, but it's not worth doing. 3- I said it was a good idea all along."

"Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal."

"I don't believe in astrology; I'm a Sagittarius and we're skeptical."

"I don't pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about."

"Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering."

"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale."

"The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion."

"The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible."
Arthur C. Clarke

"This is the first age that's ever paid much attention to the future, which is a little ironic since we may not have one."

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

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