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Science fiction genius is dead; Astronomer's tribute to top author.

BRITISH astronomer Sir Patrick Moore has paid tribute to his friend, the science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke, after his death in Sri Lanka at the age of 90.

"He was a great visionary, a brilliant science fiction writer and a great forecaster," he told the Press Association.

"He foresaw communications satellites, a nationwide network of computers, interplanetary travel, he said there would be a man on the moon by 1970 while I said 1980 and he was right."

The pair had been friends since meeting at the British Interplanetary Society in its early years in the 1930s.

"I spoke to him only a couple of weeks ago I knew he had been ill and I was rather concerned for him," Sir Patrick said.

An aide to the author, Rohan De Silva, told the Associated Press that Sir Arthur died after suffering from breathing problems.

He was the author of more than 100 books, including 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Originally from Somerset, Sir Arthur went to Sri Lanka to dive in 1954, then two years later made the tropical island his home.

He published his prophetic view of the future, 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 1968 and was coauthor of the highly successful screen version with Stanley Kubrick.

Sir Arthur was knighted in 2000 in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo more than two years after he was conferred with the honour.

The investiture was delayed at Sir Arthur's request after he was accused of being a child molester by a newspaper.

Sri Lankan police investigated the allegations but took no action.

Sir Arthur said: "Having always had a particular dislike of paedophiles, few charges could be more revolting to me than to be classed as one. My conscience is perfectly clear."

From 1995, the author was largely confined to a wheelchair, suffering from postpolio syndrome.


VISIONARY: Sir Arthur C Clarke wrote more than 100 books including 2001: A Space Odyssey; FRIEND: Sir Patrick Moore
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 19, 2008
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