Arthur C. Clarke

One of the most influential science fiction writers of the 20th and 21st century, Arthur C. Clarke is the author of over 100 novels, novellas, and short story collections that laid the groundwork for the science fiction genre. Combining scientific knowledge and visionary literary aptitude, Clarke's work explored the implications of major scientific discoveries in astonishingly inventive and mystical settings.

Clarke's short stories and novels have won numerous Hugo and Nebula Awards, have been translated into more than 30 languages, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Several of his books, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey II, have been adapted into films that still stand as classic examples of the genre. Without a doubt, Arthur C. Clarke's is one of the most important voices in contemporary science fiction literature.

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In 1968, Arthur C. Clarke's best-selling 2001: A Space Odyssey captivated the world-and was adapted into a now-classic film by Stanley Kubrick. Fans had to wait fourteen years for the sequel-but when it came out, it was an instant hit, winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983.

Nine years after the ill-fated Discovery One mission to Jupiter, a joint Soviet-American crew travels to the planet to investigate the mysterious monolith orbiting the planet, the cause of the earlier mission's failure-and the disappearance of David Bowman. The crew includes Heywood Floyd, the lone survivor from the previous mission, and Dr. Chandra, the creator of HAL.

What they find is no less than an unsettling alien conspiracy-surrounding the evolutionary fate of indigenous life forms on Jupiter's moon Europa, as well as that of the human species itself. A gripping continuation of the beloved Odyssey universe, 2010: Odyssey II is science-fiction storytelling at its best.

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Prelude to Space

The world's first lunar spacecraft is about to launch. The ship, Prometheus, is built from two separate components-one designed to travel from Earth's atmosphere to the Moon and back, and the other to carry the first component through Earth's atmosphere and into orbit. Sound familiar? That's because it's the basic description of the first space shuttle-well before its launch in 1971.

Prelude to Space was published in 1951-well before the first Sputnik expedition. Even so, the book is full of detailed technical descriptions and conversations regarding the possibility of spaceflight-many of which were actually included during the construction of the first spaceships-as well as telecommunications satellites. It's a fascinating read-from both a fictional and a historical perspective.

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The City and the Stars

A billion years into the future, Earth's oceans have evaporated, and humanity has all but vanished. The inhabitants of the City of Diaspar believe theirs is the last city, but there is no way to find out for sure. The city is completely closed off by a high wall, and nobody has left in millions of years.

The last child born in the city in millions of years, Alvin is insatiably curious about the outside world. He embarks on a quest that leads him to discover the truth about the city and humanity's history—as well as its future.

The City and the Stars is a rewrite of Clarke's first novel, Against the Fall of Night. While the author assumed that the old version would be replaced by the new version and eventually go out of print, he was surprised to find that the older version was popular enough to stay in wide circulation. Today, both stories are equally popular.

Any fan of Clarke's would find this book a fascinating read, not just for the intriguing story and Clarke's singular futuristic vision, but also for the purpose of comparing his approach to the same story at different points in his writing career. While The City and the Stars shares the general plot of Against the Fall of Night, many details are different—making an interesting study of Clarke's progression as a writer.

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Arthur C. Clarke