Despite being busy with his many and diverse pursuits, Arthur C Clarke remained a socially engaged author.
He had a personal office in his Colombo home with secretaries and research assistants. With their help, he corresponded with hundreds of persons – known and unknown – around the world. In the days before email, it was done by post.
Perhaps because he hailed from a ‘post office family’, Clarke believed in replying all his mail (after filtering out the complete crackpots). He used a ‘Reply Form’ that answered the most common questions posed by fans – but often personalised it with a greeting or annotation.
The Clarke archive (called the Clarkives), now preserved at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, contains a large volume of such correspondence spanning several decades.
He also remained highly accessible to fans who sought autographs or wanted to pose for photos with him. “If anyone spends money buying one of my books, I can surely spare a few minutes talking with them,” Clarke said.
“ An author should never turn down the opportunity for a new experience. ”
― Arthur C Clarke, in 2061: Odyssey Three (1987)