The great futurist now belongs to history; AP reports that Arthur C. Clarke was found dead in his home in Sri Lanka. Others can write about Clarke's contributions to technology ... for example his 1945 scientific paper "Extra-Terrestrial Relays" describing the possibilities of the communication satellite, which was as essential to modern living as electricity was to earlier generations. Let's talk about movies. 2001: A Space Odyssey is in some ways a collaboration between Clarke and Kubrick ... or as the author said, "the film should be credited to Kubrick and Clarke and the novel should be credited to Clarke and Kubrick."

This account from wikipedia notes the genesis of one of the ultimate science fiction films was a 1950 short story by Clarke, titled "The Sentinel." The classic spawned a 1984 sequel, 2010. Various short stories were adapted for television (unfortunately not enough of them from Tales From the White Hart, still waiting for its time on screen.) It's been announced that David Fincher will film Rendezvous With Rama, with Morgan Freeman in the lead; here's Jessica Barnes' item on it from 2007. The film concerns a close encounter of the third kind with an alien spacecraft. And John Hurt is definitely playing a Clarke figure in this Jodie Foster outer-space movie.

Clarke was born in England, and was a radar expert with the RAF during World War 2. Years of astronomical research gave way to a later-life interest in the ocean; hence his life in Sri Lanka, where he could scuba dive. He is remembered, among numerous accomplishments, for the fostering of Clarke's Three Laws: 1."When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong." 2."The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible." 3."Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."