Science Fiction Author Clarke Dies at 90 Trailblazing science fiction novelist Arthur C. Clarke has died Tuesday in Sri Lanka. He was 90 years old. Having written some 100 books, Clarke is perhaps best known for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Russell Galen, Clarke's longtime agent, talks with Melissa Block.
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Science Fiction Author Clarke Dies at 90

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Science Fiction Author Clarke Dies at 90

Science Fiction Author Clarke Dies at 90

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


And I'm Melissa Block.

We end this hour by remembering two creative talents. Filmmaker Anthony Minghella died today in London, we'll hear about his career in a moment. And the British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke has died at age 90 in Sri Lanka, where he lived for more than 50 years.

Clarke wrote some 100 books. The best known - the novel, "2001: A Space Odyssey." He also co-wrote the screenplay for the film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

In December, Clarke recorded a message to his friends and fans, who he said were asking him how it feels to have completed 90 orbits around the sun. He said he had no regrets and no more personal ambitions.

Mr. ARTHUR C. CLARKE (Science Fiction Writer): I'm sometimes asked, how I would like to be remembered. I've had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer, space promoter, and a science popularizer. Of all these, I want to be remembered most as a writer, born to entertain readers and, hopefully, stretch their imaginations as well.

BLOCK: Arthur C. Clarke suffered from post-polio syndrome. In that video he said, being completely wheelchaired doesn't stop my mind from roaming the universe.

Russell Galen has been the American agent for Arthur C. Clarke for 30 years. Mr. Galen, it's good of you to talk to us. Thanks so much.

Mr. RUSSELL GALEN (Literary Agent): Good evening.

BLOCK: Mr. Clarke was best known, as we said, for "2001: A Space Odyssey," but I wonder if there were other books that maybe he was more proud of.

Mr. GALEN: Well, the novel that most of us in this field respect and admire the most was published in 1954, it was called "Childhood's End." It has outsold 2001 by millions of copies. And in many ways, it's the quintessential Clarke novel because it combines space and technology and aliens on the one hand, with the poetic and spiritual quality on the other.

BLOCK: Did he want to go to space himself?

Mr. GALEN: Well, you know, his great love was scuba-diving, where he sought the majestic feeling of floating weightlessly surrounded by the world. He sought that under the sea, and I don't think he felt he needed to be an astronaut.

BLOCK: You know, in that video that we were listening to, he referred to himself on one point as a space cadet. And he also talked about - one of his great wishes would be to find evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Mr. GALEN: Mm-hmm. Space travel is always more interesting when there are other people out there. He wrote over and over again about making contact. And in almost every case, the contact was with something grander, more majestic than mankind. I think he had a yearning, like all of us do, to encounter something grander than man, but since he wasn't religious, it came across the idea that there might be aliens out there wiser than us, more experienced, older, deeper in some way. And that was a theme that occurred in his science fiction repeatedly.

BLOCK: Well, Mr. Galen, thanks so much for talking with us.

Mr. GALEN: All right. Good night.

BLOCK: Russell Galen, the longtime American agent for science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke, who died today in Sri Lanka at age 90. Mr. Clarke concluded hi video message last December this way.

Mr. CLARKE: So let me end with these words of Rudyard Kipling: If I have given you delight by aught that I have done; let me lie quiet in that night, which shall be yours anon. And for that little, little span; the dead are borne in mind. Seek not to question other than the books I leave behind.

This is Arthur Clarke saying, thank you and goodbye from Colombo.

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