Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!

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9780006483694: Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!

The definitive work of Arthur C. Clarke’s brilliant career – a pageant of dozens of futuristic pieces that anticipated many of this century’s greatest scientific and technological advances.

The most visionary and versatile thinker of this century here gathers together in a single volume his most significant and prophetic non-fiction writings to present a personal view of the twentieth century.

From predicting the role of geosynchronous satellites decades before they existed to his groundbreaking reporting from Kennedy Space Center in the 60s, to anticipating the internet decades before it happened, Clarke has acted both as technological prophet and cultural conscience, celebrating the great scientific powers of man – but simultaneously warning of the perils of a world where power and greed reign unchecked.

Each with a new introduction, the essays show how science has expanded exponentially on its own inventions. Sir Arthur’s bona fide scientific understanding is combined with a generosity of spirit, the interests of a new renaissance man, a sublime lack of false modesty and a great flair for the dramatic. This is inarguably the crowning achievement of an unrivalled personal odyssey.

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Review:

The wonderfully titled "Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!" is a collection taken from Sir Arthur C Clarke's non-fiction writing from over half a century's prolific output. It might seem a rather daunting book at first sight: 110 separate pieces of writing, well over 500 pages, but in fact it's an excellent read, either from beginning to end or simply dipping in at whim.

There are, as might be expected, popular science articles, pieces about space exploration and, of course, science fiction; there are also numerous sideswipes at uninformed UFO believers, spoonbenders, assorted New Agers and Creationists; and there are several fascinating and informative articles on Clarke's great loves, underwater exploration and Ceylon/Sri Lanka.

Clarke completists may already have a few of the pieces in earlier volumes such as Profiles of the Future, but most of them are available in an accessible form for the first time, taken from The Journal of the British Astronomical Society, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Times Higher Education Supplement and other similarly disparate sources. A number of Clarke's speeches are also included.

There are numerous references to the film and book 2001: A Space Odyssey. Speaking of the late Stanley Kubrick, Clarke writes, "One of my deepest regrets now is that we will not be able to share the year 2001 together". It's good to see that Clarke, in poor health for some years, is still hard at work. --David V. Barrett, This text refers to the hardcover edition

Review:

‘He is the prophet of the space age’
The Times

‘Arthur C. Clarke is blessed with one of the most astounding imaginations ever encountered in print’
New York Times

‘One of the truly prophetic figures of the space age’
New Yorker
3001 is not just a page-turner, plugged in to the great icons of HAL and the monoliths, but a book of wisdom too, pithy and provocative’
New Scientist

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