Arthur C. Clarke

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Arthur C. Clarke

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88 Quotations from Arthur C. Clarke

airlock n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 20 A clearly marked circular disc, a hundred metres in diameter, was centred on the Pole, and Norton had a strong suspicion that this must be the outer seal of an enormous airlock.
airlock n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 137 The second floor was completely empty, devoid even of temporary fittings. Someone had chalked a large rectangle on the curved plastic panel of the wall and printed inside it: AIRLOCK HERE?
airlock n. 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 118 As they were walking through the airlock to the pressurized Marscar that had brought them from the hotel, the exhibition produced one final surprise.
airlock n. 1951 A. C. Clarke Sands of Mars ii. 12 Help him through the airlock when the tender couples up.
alternative history n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 87 Almost all the Alternative History computer simulations suggest that the Battle of Tours (AD 732) was one of the crucial disasters of mankind.
alternative world n. 1953 A. C. Clarke Other Tiger in Fantastic Universe June–July 117/2 ‘Or perhaps,’ said Arnold, ‘I'll get fed up with the whole conversation, pull out a gun and shoot you.’ ‘Quite possibly,’ admitted Webb, ‘except that I'm pretty sure you, on this Earth, haven’t got one. Don’t forget, though, that in millions of those alternative worlds I'll beat you on the draw.’
anti-gravitational adj. 1956 A. C. Clarke in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan. 31/1 The final clue to the antigravitational nature of the field came when they shot a rifle bullet into it and observed the trajectory with a high-speed camera.
antigravity adj. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 44 At first I thought you had some anti-gravity device—but even I know that’s impossible.
antimatter n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 20 Nothing whatsoever had happened when the expanding cloud of vapour arrived on target—and a matter anti-matter reaction involving even a few milligrams would have produced an awesome firework display.
artificial gravity n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 44 Others proposed hollow, spinning cylinders so that centrifugal force could provide artificial gravity.
astrogator n. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 144 The astrogator was carrying a set of charts, and seemed a little ill at ease.
automatics n. 1955 A. C. Clarke This Earth of Majesty in Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction #5 (1956) 51 He was tense but completely confident. Better brains than his—brains of metal and crystal and flashing electron streams —were in charge of the Centaurus now. If necessary, he could take command, but he had never yet lifted a ship manually and never expected to do so. If the automatics failed, he would cancel the takeoff and sit here on Earth until the fault had been cleared.
Clarke’s Law n. 1972 A. C. Clarke Lost Worlds of 2001 189 The other is Clarke’s Third* Law: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ [footnote] * Oh, very well. The First: ‘When a distinguished but elderly scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong.’(Profiles of the Future) The Second: ‘The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.’
Clarke’s Law n. 1972 A. C. Clarke Report on Planet Three 129 Clarke’s First Law: 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. Second Law: The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible. Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Clarke’s Law n. 1977 A. C. Clarke Profiles of Future (1977) 39 But the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible*… *[footnote] 1) The French edition of this book rather surprised me by calling this Clarke’s Second Law. (See page 25 for the First, which is now rather well-known.) I accept the label, and have also formulated a Third: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ As three laws were good enough for Newton, I have modestly decided to stop there.
Clarke’s Law n. 1968 A. C. Clarke Letter in Science 19 Jan. 255/2 Clarke’s Third Law is even more appropriate to the UFO discussion: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’
cold fusion n. 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 87 The first was the so-called ‘Cold fusion’ revolution, which brought about the sudden end of the Fossil Fuel Age and destroyed the economic base of the Muslim world for almost a generation…
communicator n. 1946 A. C. Clarke Rescue Party in Astounding Science Fiction May 53/2 They had no time to ask any further questions before Alveron himself began to speak through their communicators.
deep-space adj. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 215 This bomb was built for a specific deep-space mission, and it will be fitted with all sorts of safety devices to prevent detonation except on a positive command.
Earthian adj. 1997 A. C. Clarke 3001: Final Odyssey Sources 255 I foresaw Earthian traffic vertically ascending to the bridge, revolving and descending at preferred Earth loci.
earthie n. 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 49 ‘He’s doing very well.’ ‘Yes, for an Earthie.’
earthlike adj. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061 112 Only on Ganymede and Europa were there regions with Earthlike temperatures.
earth person n. 1986 A. C. Clarke Songs of Distant Earth 81 It was Tarna’s first demonstration of Earthpersons—or rather Earth robots—in action, and the villagers were hugely impressed.
extraterrestrial adj. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 71 It should cut out all Earth-related references—they would certainly number in the millions—and concentrate entirely on extraterrestrial citations.
farside n. 1961 A. C. Clarke Fall of Moondust 31 When a ship’s down on the Moon, it can be spotted very quickly from one of the satellites—either Lagrange II, above Earthside, or Lagrange I, over Farside.
farside n. 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 93 The signal was picked up loud and clear, during a routine survey, by one of the smaller radio telescopes on lunar Farside—still a fairly quiet place, despite the local communications traffic.
farside n. 1997 A. C. Clarke 3001: Final Odyssey xix. 138 Ten of us…went into Farside, and chased the Sun down to the horizon so it really was night.
ferry n. 1951 A. C. Clarke Exploration of Space 78 At the end of these manœuvres, which would occupy only a few hours, it would be back in a stable, circular orbit waiting to be refuelled and serviced, and the crew could be taken down to Earth by one of the winged ‘ferry’ rockets.
first contact n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 161 Feeling extremely foolish, the acting representative of Homo sapiens watched his First Contact stride away across the Raman plain, totally indifferent to his presence.
gate n. 1968 A. C. Clarke 2001: Space Odyssey 222 The Star Gate opened. The Star Gate closed. In a moment of time, too short to be measured, Space turned and twisted upon itself.
gee n. 2 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 104 I know it’s boring, but unless you crank up to half a gee when your schedule tells you to, you'll never be able to walk on Mars again—let alone Earth.
gravity n. 1949 A. C. Clarke Hide and Seek in Astounding Science Fiction Sept. 71/1 It was accelerating at almost five gravities—and it had broken its radio silence.
gravity well n. 1970 A. C. Clarke in Galaxy Magazine May 84/1 They were still accelerating when a fantastically unlikely accident occurred. Flatbush ran straight into the gravity well of a neutron star.
group mind n. 1946 A. C. Clarke in Astounding Science Fiction May 53/2 Long ago, Alarkane had written a book trying to prove that eventually all intelligent races would sacrifice individual consciousness and that one day only group-minds would remain in the Universe.
insectoid adj. 1956 A. C. Clarke Publicity Campaign in Satellite Science Fiction Oct. 112/2 The malevolent insectoid shapes shown pouring from the skies bore no resemblance at all to Prince Zervashni, who, apart from his four eyes, might have been mistaken for a panda with purple fur—and who, moreover, had come from Rigel, not Sirius.
light-second n. 1976 A. C. Clarke Communications in Galileo Sept. 66/3 On the Apollo voyages, for the first time, men traveled more than a light-second away from Earth.
Martian n. 1 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 64 Olympus Mons was the best example. Martians were fond of saying that it was three times the height of any mountain on Earth…
motherworld n. 1951 A. C. Clarke Earthlight in Thrilling Wonder Stories Aug. 69/1 Inevitably the new worlds began to loosen their ties with Earth. Their populations were still very small compared with those of the mother world but they contained the most brilliant and active minds the race possessed.
nanotechnology n. 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 101 It would have looked incredibly flimsy to any engineer born before the twentieth century, but the nanotechnology that had built it up, literally carbon atom by carbon atom, had given it a strength fifty times greater than the finest steel.
nightside n. 1986 A. C. Clarke Songs of Distant Earth 34 We saw the lights of their cities—towns, at least—as soon as we had a good view of the nightside.
nightside n. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 53 Coming in from the nightside—heading straight for Mount Zeus.
offworlder n. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 162 Too clannish—not really friendly to offworlders.
orbital tower n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 157 Whatever problems might still lie ahead, no one doubted now that the Orbital Tower was an idea whose time had come.
orbital tower n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 160 For the very first time the construction of the proposed Orbital Tower gives us a chance of establishing fixed observatories in the ionosphere.
orbital tower n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 51 At last we can build the Space Elevator—or the Orbital Tower, as I prefer to call it. For in a sense it is a tower, rising clear through the atmosphere, and far, far beyond…
outworld adj. 1986 A. C. Clarke Songs of Distant Earth 19 It was an awesome responsibility, facing only the second outworld spacecraft in the history of the planet.
planetary engineering n. 1951 A. C. Clarke Exploration of Space 118 The greatest technical achievements of the next few centuries may well be in the field of what could be called ‘planetary engineering’—the reshaping of other worlds to suit human needs.
pseudogravitational adj. 1968 A. C. Clarke Possible, That's All! in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Oct. 67/2 But the ‘pseudo-gravitational’ force due to acceleration can—in principle at least—be made uniform and parallel over as great a volume of space as desired.
pseudogravity n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 51 He released his grip, and let Rama’s still feeble pseudo-gravity take over.
scout ship n. 1949 A. C. Clarke Hide and Seek in Astounding Science Fiction Sept. 70/2 He had half expected the spy to land on Mars, on the principle that internment was better than annihilation, but when the plotting room brought the news that the little scout ship was heading for Phobos, he felt completely baffled.
shuttle n. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 195 When the cloud had cleared, the shuttle was already landing, two hundred metres away.
skyhook n. 4 2008 A. C. Clarke & F. Pohl Last Theorem vii. 50 That tough first step of getting from Earth’s surface to LEO? With an Artsutanov skyhook it was no problem at all!
solar sailing n. 2008 A. C. Clarke & F. Pohl Last Theorem xxxvii. 237 Natasha’s smile persisted as she thought of all the attempts she had made to explain solar sailing to audiences of potential backers and the merely curious on Earth.
space ark n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama 42 What we have here is undoubtedly a ‘Space Ark’. It’s an old idea in the astronautical literature; I've been able to trace it back to the British physicist J. D. Bernal, who proposed this method of interstellar colonization in a book published in 1929.
space ark n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 44 Some writers suggested that these Space Arks should be built in the form of concentric spheres; others proposed hollow, spinning cylinders so that centrifugal force could provide artificial gravity—exactly what we've found in Rama…
space-borne adj. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 68 Considering the rush to get Universe spaceborne, it was surprising that such a good job had been done on something so spectacularly non-essential.
space capsule n. 1961 A. C. Clarke At the End of the Orbit in Worlds of If 94/2 For the first time, Tibor could see the space-capsule in its entirety. It was such a peculiar-looking object, being designed for conditions beyond all normal experience, that there was an eye-teasing wrongness about it. One searched in vain for a front or a rear. There was no wasy of telling in what direction it pointed as it sped along its orbit.
space drive n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 50 For centuries, men have dreamed of anti-gravity or of ‘spacedrives’.
space elevator n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 146 He would not presume to criticize the engineering aspects of the space elevator.
space elevator n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 51 At last we can build the Space Elevator—or the Orbital Tower, as I prefer to call it. For in a sense it is a tower, rising clear through the atmosphere, and far, far beyond.
space elevator n. 1986 A. C. Clarke Songs of Distant Earth 204 The first space elevator? That was indeed ancient history; it marked the very beginning of planetary colonization by giving mankind virtually free access to the Solar System.
space elevator n. 1975 A. C. Clarke in Future Space Programs 1975 (Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Space Science & Applications, Committee on Science & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives) 198 Imagine my surprise when I saw that the Russians had come up with the same idea quite independently—the Space Elevator.
spacefaring n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 155 Into the automatic mines, production plants and zero-gravity assembly systems had gone much of the engineering genius of the human race, painfully acquired during two hundred years of spacefaring.
spacefaring adj. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 80 During the millennia since they had launched Starglider, their spacefaring ability must have improved enormously.
space flight n. 1949 A. C. Clarke Across Sea of Stars (1959) 76 There is a timelessness about space-flight…unmatched by any other experience of man.
space navigator n. 1951 A. C. Clarke Exploration of Space 82 His position is, clearly, only one of the things a space-navigator would want to know.
space sick adj. 1949 A. C. Clarke Across Sea of Stars (1959) 93 I was sure I'd never be space sick.
spacesickness n. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 76 What the Captain meant, of course, was spacesickness—but that word was, by general agreement, taboo aboard Universe.
space station n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 38 The largest of all space-stations, Syscat Five, was less than two hundred metres in diameter.
space station n. 1997 A. C. Clarke 3001: Final Odyssey iii. 17 There was certainly a gravity field here—so he was probably inside the slowly turning wheel of an orbiting space-station.
space tug n. 1997 A. C. Clarke 3001: Final Odyssey i. 7 The message from Earth had taken six hours to reach the space-tug Goliath, here beyond the orbit of Neptune…
spacewards adv. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 155 Most of the passengers, accustomed to climbing spacewards with no visible means of support, reacted with considerable shock.
spaceworthiness n. 1988 A. C. Clarke 2061: Odyssey Three 199 It seemed the right thing to do—even though, with any luck, Galaxy ’s spaceworthiness would soon be of no further concern to anyone.
spacewreck n. 1962 A. C. Clarke Ships for the Stars in Voices from the Sky (1967) 67 A would-be rescue ship could race helplessly past a space wreck without being able to assist it in any way, if its fuel supply was insufficient both to match speed and, ultimately, to depart again on an orbit that would take it back to safety. If it could only carry out the contact operation and not the departure, the result would merely be two derelicts instead of one.
starfaring n. 1986 A. C. Clarke Songs of Distant Earth 11 ‘There are no aliens,’ she said firmly. ‘At least none intelligent enough to go starfaring.’
stargate n. 1968 A. C. Clarke 2001: Space Odyssey 222 The Star Gate opened. The Star Gate closed. In a moment of time, too short to be measured, Space turned and twisted upon itself.
subterrene n. 1956 A. C. Clarke City & Stars i. 6 With a deafening screech of metal upon rock…the subterrene smashed through the wall and came to rest beside them.
superspace n. 1986 A. C. Clarke Songs of Distant Earth 50 There were fundamental reasons why the immense energies of superspace, though they were real enough, could never be tapped.
telescreen n. 2008 A. C. Clarke & F. Pohl Last Theorem xxxii. 209 Like everybody else in the world who owned a telescreen—which, to a close approximation, was pretty much everybody in the world—they had seen the rapturous news stories that had accompanied the Skyhook’s evolution to passenger-carrying.
terraformer n. 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 74 He always had clear skies, and, despite the best efforts of the terraformers, they would remain that way for the next few generations.
terraforming n. 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 66 At one time, Phobos had been regarded as an invaluable source of raw materials for space-construction projects, but Martian conservationists—perhaps feeling guilty about the steady terraforming of their own planet—had managed to prevent this.
thruster n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama xxxi. 145 They could not possibly lift the weight of a man, even against Rama’s modest gravity. Could an EVA thruster be sent up on automatic control, carrying only a rescue line? He had tried out this idea on Sergeant Myron, who had promptly shot it down.
Venusian adj. 1997 A. C. Clarke 3001: Final Odyssey xv. 106 The radar image of the tortured Venusian landscape—its weird volcanoes, pancake domes and narrow, sinuous canyons—dominated the main screen of Goliath ’s control centre, but Poole preferred the evidence of his own eyes.
worldlet n. 1973 A. C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama (1974) 43 Bernal and others thought this could be done with mobile worldlets a few kilometres across, carrying thousands of passengers on journeys that would last for generations.
worldlet n. 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 108 Not much larger than a family automobile, it could provide basic life-support for pilot and three passengers for up to a week, allow them to make a fairly detailed examination of the virgin worldlet, and bring back a few hundred kilograms of well-documented samples.
wormhole n. 1993 A. C. Clarke Hammer of God 18 But no way of avoiding the speed limit set by Einstein had been discovered, and although ‘wormholes in space’ had been proved to exist, nothing even as large as an atomic nucleus could pass through them.
zero-g n. 1952 A. C. Clarke Islands in Sky 80 She was escorted by an elderly woman who seemed to be quite at home under zero ‘g’ and gave Linda a helpful push when she showed signs of being stuck.
zero-gravity n. 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 169 A space-station assembly supervisor, accustomed to working under zero gravity, had forgotten that though he was in space he was not in orbit—and a lifetime’s experience had betrayed him.