Today marked the birth of not one, but two of science fiction’s greatest talents: Sir Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick. I have to wonder if there’s another single day in the year that delivered up such an eventual impact on the genre we all love.
Clarke was born in Somerset, England in 1917, served as a radar specialist in the Royal Air Force during World War II, and made his first professional sale with the story “Loophole,” which appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1946. With works such as Childhood’s End, Rendezvous with Rama, and the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, for which he co-wrote the short story with director Stanley Kubrick, Clarke became one of science fiction’s most legendary talents, and is often referred to as one of the genre’s “Big Three,” alongside Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. Over the course of his long career, he won a Hugo, an Academy Award nomination for 2001, and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1985. Clarke passed away in 2008, at the age of 90.
Born on December 16, 1928, Philip K. Dick has had more impact on Hollywood than perhaps any other science fiction writer. His works have been adapted constantly since Ridley Scott and screenwriters Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples turned Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? into the film Blade Runner in 1982. The adaptations of his works have never achieved the same level of brilliance as Blade Runner, but his creativity and mind-bending plots have been the basis of dozens of films over the years, ranging from the cult classic Total Recall (based on Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”), to Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, to 2011’s The Adjustment Bureau. Sadly, Dick didn’t get to live to see how lasting his legacy would be. He died on March 2, 1982 — a mere three months before Blade Runner hit theaters. Thankfully, Dick lives in the prolific writings he left behind, and in the countless other writers and artists his work inspired. Dick would have turned 85 today.
Today in Television
Almost Human (Fox, 8/7c) — “Arrhythmia”
Detective John Kennex and Dorian respond to a suspicious death at a hospital where — before having a fatal cardiac arrest — a man claimed someone was trying to kill him, and inexplicably knew his exact time of death. As the investigation unfolds, a black market for vital organs is uncovered in which bio-mechanical hearts can be resold and remotely ‘shut off.’ As the team fights to find the pulse of this 2048 tech-centric crime, Dorian reconnects with a decommissioned DRN.
Robot Chicken: Born Again Virgin Christmas Special (Adult Swim, Midnight PST, 11 pm Central)
Robot Chicken takes down Christmas once again! Our writers reveal the origins of the Heat Miser and Cold Miser. Witness Ebenezer Scrooge learn the true TRUE meaning of Christmas. Learn the perils of getting a job at the North Pole. Discover how Santa Claus ruined World War One’s greatest day!