Sunday, March 21, 2010

Arthur Clarke's interview with Ken Kelley for Playboy, July 1986

Link. [via Free SF Reader]

Interview spanned a fortnight the interviewer spent in Lanka.

  1. From introduction to interview: "There are some places over the equator where the earth's gravity is so strong that satellites placed there don't need fuel, because they never drift out of position. It turns out that one of the most stable places on the planet is directly above the piece of property that Arthur bought in Sri Lanka. It makes you wonder where this man came from."
  2. On Neil Armstrong's statement, "That's one small step for man, one giant step for mankind"?: 'I took him up on that statement afterward, because he dropped out the "A." It was supposed to be "That's one small step for a man." He just fluffed it. When I talked with him about it later, he said, "That's what I thought I said, and that's what I meant to say."'
  3. "I write science fiction only about things I know are reasonably true, even though the extrapolations may not be known."
  4. "I like to think of the monolith as a sort of cosmic Swiss army knife—it does whatever it wants to do."
  5. On space elevators:

    "Is anything as outlandish as that even remotely possible?"

    "Almost anything you can imagine that's feasible that is likely to be done is going to happen."
  6. 'In several of your books—Childhood's End comes to mind—you bring up the idea of "nonmaterial minds"——'

    'That comes from William Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men. He's a science-fiction writer from the Thirties who's most influenced all my writing, when you come down to it.'
  7. "One of my problems now is that I'm not just a private citizen anymore. I have to keep up certain standards, or at least pretend to, so that I don't shock too many people."
Related: Stories of Arthur Clarke; from Playboy magazine.