Clarke’s international reputation as a master of modern science fiction began in the 1950’s, with his nonfiction popular science best-sellers The Exploration of Space (1951) and Interplanetary Flight (1952). His many impressive works of popular science on themes of space travel, astronomy, the oceans, and the planets won for him an early award from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). He often unites technologically and scientifically accurate observations with metaphysical speculation, for example, in “The Nine Billion Names of God” (1953), “The Star” (1955), and Childhood’s End. Many of his stories of the 1950’s through the 1980’s deal with bodies from outside the solar system colliding with Earth.
Connections among writers exist to a greater extent in science fiction than in other genres, and such collaborations have produced classic works. The 1980’s saw a boom in the area of science fiction collaborations. For example, Marion Zimmer Bradley edited several volumes of stories, written by various authors, set in her world of Darkover. Isaac Asimov has defended such collaborations, observing that a similar sharing of literary universes was practiced by Homer and Sir Thomas Malory.
Clarke’s work is related both to traditions of American science fiction and to European traditions drawn from H. G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon. Like the Americans, Clarke...
(The entire section is 335 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Rama Series Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!