Friday, September 5, 2014

Today author Brandon Engel reminds you of why Arthur C. Clarke is considered one of the Deans of Science Fiction

"Fiction is more than non-fiction in some can stretch people's
minds, alerting them to the possibilities of the future, which is very important
in an age where things are changing rapidly."
Please welcome Brandon Engel who is doing a guest post for me today regarding Arthur C. Clarke and his amazing ability to predict future technologies. to give just a little introduction to Clarke, he is considered one of the "Big Three" that forged the genre of science fiction (the other two being Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein). Heinlein is kind of my personal favorite of the three because he was such a colorful character (hanging out with L.Ron Hubbard masturbating on a manuscript in Aleister Crowley's mansion while plotting to steal the fortune of the guy that made jet fuel is one reason). Another is that Heinlein simply wrote interesting books like Stranger in a Strange Land. "Grok" anyone?

Anyway, Clarke's career and life are equally extraordinary. I'll let Brandon explain it to you though because he's just awesome at it. However, I'm going to pick out illustrations from series of books that Mr. Engel talks about below because they are done by my favorite cover artist, Michael Whelan. AND IF YOU FOLLOW MY BLOG, you know Michael Whelan is my "Picasso." Seriously. *bows down before Michael Whelan...
If memory serves correctly, this is a piece called
"Star Child." Artist Michael Whelan wanted to
capture the mysteriousness of the monolith,
what was going on with the Discovery
spaceship as it orbited Jupiter, and give a hint
that the monolith, the spaceship, and Jupiter
would become a new cradle of life to an
intelligent species. I think it's rather well done.
Whelan accomplished the effect using an
airbrush on masonite.

The Phenomenal Foresight of Arthur C. Clarke by Brandon Engel

Arthur C. Clarke was an author who predicted many future events dating back to the mid-1900's. One of the most popular pieces of literature written by Clarke includes the script from Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" film, and the novelization of the script that was written concurrent with the script. In addition to the popularity of his books and literature throughout his career, Arthur C. Clarke is also known for predicting future technologies with amazing accuracy.

Popular Writings by Arthur C. Clarke

Among his most popular works are the titles from the 2001 series: "2001: A Space Odyssey" (written concurrently with his screenplay for the film directed by Stanley Kubrick), along with "2010: Odyssey Two", "2061: Odyssey Three" and "3001: The Final Odyssey", released in 1997. The Odyssey books highlight evolution and change throughout society and humanity, specifically dating 50 years back and predicting the future as it is now. They deal with humanity’s propulsion to grow and develop technologically, and the ethical issues that arise as humans becomes increasingly powerful in shaping the world around them.

“The Fountains Of Paradise” is another novel by Arthur C. Clarke that explores the possibility of humans finally finding their path into space with ease. Disregard the typical rocket ships, and instead, build an elevator to space. Following the drama and character development in this novel makes it one of Clarke's most enjoyable reads.

As Mr. Engel talks about in his article,
this book takes place when our sun is
dying. This cover by Michael Whelan
is meant to evoke a feeling of forlorn
-ness as young people stare
 into the distance at the only sun
humanity has ever known,
and watch it die.
After the sun has gone nova, “The Songs Of Distant Earth” follows humanity into its depths and basic emotions and survival tactics. Although this novel by Clarke also highlights and features plenty of tech and future-based material, it is also considered a romance sci-fi novel for those who are seeking a bit of a different genre from previous books.

Predictions Made by Clarke in the Past

Arthur C. Clarke has made numerous predictions involving science fiction and future technologies that are currently in use today. Clarke predicted everything from the very first human clone, sampling items from the planet Mars, launching space probes and even predicting nuclear weapon wars and destruction in the future years off from the debut of his writings. By 2003, Clarke predicted there would be a need for an alternative fuel source to help reduce the overall impact fuels were having on the planet's overall environment and atmosphere.

Clarke also had the wild idea that electronic tracking and monitoring would one day help to reduce and eliminate the amount of criminal activity in all areas of the world, regardless of country or region. Today, satellites, drones and intelligent computers have the ability to locate and access individuals within minutes and in some cases, within seconds of conducting a search. If not for the imagination of someone like Clarke, the world would not have satellites, or any of the modern luxuries which are a by-product of satellite technology like GPS, satellite tv broadcasts, internet plans, or cellular phones.

Towards the end of his life, Clarke made predictions about a myriad of other topics, including the first manned trip to Mars, and actual dinosaur clones. Clarke also mused about when artificial intelligence (AI) would likely meet the same level as humanity. Taking a deeper look into the world of Arthur C. Clarke, his writings and his predictions is a jaw-dropping experience, especially with the predictions involving technology include communication methods and abilities. With Arthur C. Clarke's predictions becoming more true each day, it begs the question: Is there another author out there trying to do the same for us now? We may never know, until 50 years into the future that is.

If you liked this article, please follow Brandon on his twitter: @BrandonEngel2


  1. Great guest post Brandon.

    Whenever people talk about how science fiction has this ability to be so prophetic, they're talking about Arthur C. Clarke.

    Makes me want to pick up his books again just for old times' sake.

  2. One thing he got wrong was in 3001 he thought we'd celebrate the millennium in 2001. He underestimated the stupidity of humanity.

  3. My husband really likes reading Arthur C. Clarke. It's his go-to author when we talk about science fiction.

  4. I've been impressed with Clarke when I've seen him interviewed, but as of yet I haven't read any of his works.

  5. It's fun to watch various videos online of his predictions. Some came eerily true...

  6. Wonderful post, Brandon. I'm ashamed to say I've never read Clarke's books, but I did watch his old TV series, Mysterious World. The man had an open, inquiring mind I came to admire, but you point out he was a true genius.