Arthur C. Clarke is arguably one of the most famous science fiction writers of all time. He helped pioneer the genre of ‘hard’ sci-fi, which requires that at most one currently accepted law of science be exaggerated or ignored, and the rest of the science behind main concepts of the story be accepted as scientific fact (thus differentiating the genre from ‘fantasy’ sci-fi like Star Wars, etc). Clarke won awards for his books, as well as films based on his books, as well as original films. Though Clarke alternated between several religious views he was also inspired by C.S. Lewis, a writer noted for his Christian views, and voiced great praise for his works.
Clarke began his career writing for science fiction magazines. Eventually he also began editing science fiction magazines as well. Clarke wrote during a time when space travel had only just been accomplished and so much of the technology behind space travel was not yet established. In his Fountains of Paradise Clarke described a space elevator (a technology which uses a cable attached to an orbital anchor to lift equipment, vehicles, or terrestrials, to orbit without the use of rockets or aircraft). This and other ideas suggested as possible within his writing have garnered much interest in possible future methods of space travel.
Television and Movies
While Clarke had a television series investigating the paranormal he is probably best known for his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was a collaboration with noted producer and director Stanley Kubrik, and based on his 1948 work ‘The Sentinel’. At the time of its film release it was compared with the Stanislav Lem novel Solaris, and subsequently re-compared after the 1972 Andrei Tarkovsky film adaptation of Lem’s novel. This is ironic in that the Clarke-Kubrik film, presented an extremely cold functionalist future comparable to Soviet ideology, whereas Solaris, especially in its film adaptation, presented a much more dramatic future littered with, and almost haunted by, religious elements that Sovietism suppressed and questioned, though both works were pure hard sci-fi stories in their respective novels.