Arthur C. Clarke
Well known for nonfiction science writing and for early promotion of the effort toward space travel, his fiction was often grand and visionary.
Could be worse, could be much worse. There’s plenty about Clarke that I’d feel pretty chuffed about if my writing could be compared to – I loved 2001: A Space Odyssey as an example. I also like his pithier observations – “Every revolutionary idea, evokes 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.”
And I have been known to actually quote – “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
2001 was written effectively as an early multimedia piece – Stanley Kubrick (wikipedia) and Arthur C. Clarke (wikipedia) working collaboratively on taking Clarke’s 1948 story, ‘The Sentinel’, into a novel, a screenplay, and movie at the same time. It was an astounding creative effort – sumptuous, virtuoso performances by them both. I think I enjoyed the book more, but I loved the film nevertheless. What I have never understood is why every review I’ve ever read has talked at length with the meeting with aliens – all the while ignoring the fact that Bowman was communicating an alien – a non-human sentient life form (HAL) from the start.
Clarke has produced as list of what he believes are the best science-fiction films of all time.
1. Metropolis (1927)
2. Things to Come (1936)
3. Frankenstein (1931)
4. King Kong (original version) (1933)
5. Forbidden Planet (1956)
6. The Thing from Another World (original version) (1951)
7. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
9. Star Wars (1977)
10. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (CE3K) revised version (Special Edition) (1980)
11. Alien (1979)
12. Blade Runner (1982)
I have to agree with most of them (well, as if I’m about to argue with him) – I haven’t seen Things to Come or The Thing from Another World. There are some others that I would add to fill in to make up my dozen. I think Predator and Enemy Mine did good jobs of presenting aliens, and Total Recall, I Robot, Terminator, 12 Monkeys, A.I., and the Fifth Element are all movies I’m always happy to watch again. Oops – was that more than a dozen?