Visionary science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, co-author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, died Wednesday in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, at the age of 90, said an aide. Clarke wrote more than 100 books on space, science and the future, and was also a scientific innovator, commentator, and ocean explorer. "I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer, and space promoter," Clarke said recently. "Of all these I would like to be remembered as a writer." (AP via Yahoo! News)
What the commentators said
"Clarke was never a stylist to rival Ursula K. Le Guin or Brian Aldiss," said Chauncey Mabe on the culture blog Off the Page, nor was he a "compelling storyteller like Robert Heinlein or Isaac Asimov." But he predicted the future, which some believe to be the "chief purpose of science fiction." He foresaw geosynchronous orbit, and "suggested how it might work"; he predicted a "global library" very similar to the World Wide Web; and the list goes on. As a prophet, Clarke has no rivals -- Jules Verne, perhaps.
Those of us who devoured paperbacks by Clarke and his peers as kids "didn't read them for their craft!" said Andrew Leonard in Salon. "We read them because they dispensed dazzling, startling visions as if tossing handfuls of confetti. Because they cooked up psycho-computers and sent them lurching through the crevices of our minds, dreamed up overpowering alien races to shame us out of our petty human squabbling, zipped us recklessly through space and time with so much gleeful abandon that you knew they could hardly believe they were getting away with it."
Clarke was revered as a "sage of science fiction," saidreputation "never fully recovered from allegations" of pedophilia. that he did not know how old his sexual partners had been, but that “most of them had reached puberty." He "Having always had a particular dislike of paedophiles, few charges can be more revolting to me than to be classed as one," he wrote in a statement.