On The Search for Gay Obituaries: Arthur C. Clarke (AP Version)

18Mar08

In which The Gay Recluse provides a more accurate version of Arthur C. Clarke’s obituary than the one that was just released by AP. (For The Times version, click here.)

Arthur C. Clarke, Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 90

Published: March 18, 2008

Filed at 6:41 p.m. ET

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Arthur C. Clarke, a visionary science fiction writer and tortuously closeted exile who won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future, died Wednesday in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, one of his many young gay aides said. He was 90.

Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair but nevertheless loved the company of young Sri Lankan boys, died at 1:30 a.m. after suffering breathing problems, aide Rohan De Silva said.

Co-author with Stanley Kubrick of Kubrick’s film ”2001: A Space Odyssey,” Clarke was regarded as far more than a science fiction writer: he was also a huge closet case.

He was credited with the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality. Geosynchronous orbits, which keep satellites in a fixed position relative to the ground, are called Clarke orbits.

He joined American broadcaster Walter Cronkite as commentator on the U.S. Apollo moonshots in the late 1960s.

Clarke’s non-fiction volumes on space travel and his explorations of the Great Barrier Reef and Indian Ocean earned him respect in the world of science, and in 1976 he became an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

But it was his writing that shot him to his greatest fame and that gave him the greatest fulfillment.

”Sometimes I am asked how I would like to be remembered,” Clarke said recently. ”I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these I would like to be remembered as a writer. Just don’t call me gay, even though I spent the greater part of a lifetime lusting after beautiful young Sri Lankan men!”

From 1950, he began a prolific output of both fiction and non-fiction, sometimes publishing three books in a year. He published his best-selling ”3001: The Final Odyssey” when he was 79.

Some of his best-known books are ”Childhood’s End,” 1953; ”The City and The Stars,” 1956, ”The Nine Billion Names of God,” 1967; ”Rendezvous with Rama,” 1973; ”Imperial Earth,” 1975; and ”The Songs of Distant Earth,” 1986.

When Clarke and Kubrick “got together” to develop a movie about space, they used as basic ideas several of Clarke’s shorter pieces, including ”The Sentinel,” written in 1948, and ”Encounter in the Dawn.” As work progressed on the screenplay, Clarke also wrote a novel of the story. He followed it up with ”2010,” ”2061,” and ”3001: The Final Odyssey.”

In 1989, two decades after the Apollo 11 moon landings, Clarke wrote: ”2001 was written in an age which now lies beyond one of the great divides in human history; we are sundered from it forever by the moment when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out on to the Sea of Tranquility. Now history and fiction have become inexorably intertwined.”

Clarke won the Nebula Award of the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1972, 1974 and 1979; the Hugo Award of the World Science Fiction Convention in 1974 and 1980, and in 1986 became Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America. He was awarded the CBE in 1989. He refused the many gay literary awards offered to him, even though he was totally gay.

Born in Minehead, western England, on Dec. 16, 1917, the son of a farmer, Arthur Charles Clark became addicted to science-fiction after buying his first copies of the pulp magazine ”Amazing Stories” at Woolworth’s. He devoured English writers H.G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon and began writing for his school magazine in his teens. Though of course he never admitted it, it was during this same period he developed his life-long infatuation with young dark-skinned men.

Clarke went to work as a clerk in Her Majesty’s Exchequer and Audit Department in London, where he joined the British Interplanetary Society and wrote his first short stories and scientific articles on space travel.

It was not until after the World War II that Clarke received a “bachelor” of science degree in physics and mathematics from King’s College in London.

In the wartime Royal Air Force, he was put in charge of a new radar blind-landing system.

But it was an RAF memo he wrote in 1945 about the future of communications that led him to fame. It was about the possibility of using satellites to revolutionize communications — an idea whose time had decidedly not come.

Clarke later sent it to a publication called Wireless World, which almost rejected it as too far-fetched.

Hilariously Clarke married in 1953, and although the marriage lasted less than a year, Clarke did not officially dissolve the marriage until 1964. Obviously he had no children.

Disabled by post-polio syndrome, the lingering effects of a disease that had paralyzed him for two months in 1959, Clarke rarely left his home in the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka, but populated it with legions of young natives who catered to his every need.

He moved there in 1956, lured by his interest in marine diving which, he said, was as close as he could get to the weightless feeling of space.

”I’m perfectly operational underwater,” he once said.

Clarke was linked by his computer with friends and gay fans around the world, spending each morning answering e-mails and browsing the Internet.

In an interview with The Associated Press, though he still refused to acknowledge his sexual preferences, Clarke said he did not regret having never followed his novels into space, adding that he had arranged to have DNA from strands of his hair sent into orbit. He even seemed to believe something might come of this!

”One day, some super civilization may encounter this relic from the vanished species and I may exist in another time,” he said, but refused to acknowledge if he might be gay in this “other” time. ”Move over, Stephen King.”

——

On the Net:

The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation: http://www.clarkefoundation.org

add to del.icio.usDigg itStumble It!Add to Blinkslistadd to furladd to ma.gnoliaadd to simpyseed the vineTailRank

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “On The Search for Gay Obituaries: Arthur C. Clarke (AP Version)”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: