Arthur C Clarke, the noted Grandmaster of literary science fiction who collaborated with filmmaker Stanley Kubrick to create the landmark film 2001: A Space Odyssey, has passed away in Sri Lanka early this morning. He was 90.
As a member of the British Interplanetary Society starting in the 1930s, Clarke became known as a writer of both science fiction and non-fiction scientific papers. His 1945 monograph “Extra-terrestrial Relays” laid out the principals required for a system of communication satellites in geostationary orbit. A decade later he would encourage the United States Weather Bureau to look at developing the idea of using satellite imagery to help forecast the weather.
In 1964, Clarke began collaborating with director Stanley Kubrick on a science-fiction film. Using Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel” as a starting point, the two developed the storyline and script for what would become 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clarke would write about the collaboration and the different drafts and story ideas that went into the developing script in his book Lost Worlds Of 2001. He would also novelize the film, though his version would set the film’s climactic encounter with the mysterious Monolith in the orbit of Saturn, not Jupiter. Clarke would change this detail when he wrote the novel sequels 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: Final Odyssey.
Clarke also collaborated with writer/director Peter Hyams on the development of the film version of 2010 in 1984. As Clarke was living in Sri Lanka and Hyams was in Los Angeles, the two communicated via newly available computer modem technology. Clarke would write about the experience in his book The Odyssey File- The Making Of 2010.
The 1994 film Trapped In Space would be based on Clarke’s short story “Breaking Strain,” though the author had no input into the production.
In more recent years, director David Fincher has been trying to develop a film version of Clarke’s 1972 novel Rendezvous With Rama.