Arthur C Clarke
Writing is a lonely profession, and after a few decades even the most devout egotist may occasionally yearn for company. But collaboration in any work of art is a risky business, and the more people involved, the smaller the chances of success. ”
– Arthur C Clarke, in essay titled ‘Coauthors and Other Nuisances’ (1989)
During more than six decades of professional writing, Arthur C Clarke collaborated with a number of accomplished writers, photographers and painters.
An early collaboration was with Mike Wilson (1934 – 1995), British diver, photographer and filmmaker with whom Clarke explored the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the seas around Ceylon in the 1950s and 1960s. Their collaboration led to five books: Boy Beneath the Sea (1958), The First Five Fathoms (1960), Indian Ocean Adventure (1961), The Treasure of the Great Reef (1964), and Indian Ocean Treasure (1972).
Arthur C. Clarke wrote the epilogue for First on the Moon: A Voyage with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. (1970). This is the “official” memoir of the Apollo XI mission to the Moon in 1969.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Clarke collaborated with Gentry Lee, chief engineer for the Planetary Flight Systems Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and science fiction writer. This resulted in a stand-alone novel Cradle (1988) and three sequels to Rendezvous with Rama, Clarke’s 1973 novel: Rama II (1989), The Garden of Rama (1991) and Rama Revealed (1993).
Mike Wilson (left) and Clarke, circa 1955
Gentry Lee and Clarke with their collaborative output, circa 1995
There was a single book collaboration with writer Mike McQuay (1949 – 1995). It produced Richter 10 (1996).
The 1990s saw another collaboration, with writer Michael P. Kube-McDowell for a novel titled The Trigger (1999).
Clarke’s last major collaboration was with British writer Stephen Baxter, with whom he created what is known as the Time Odyssey series, comprising three novels: Time’s Eye (2003), Sunstorm (2005) and Firstborn (2007).
The Last Theorem, Clarke’s final novel was started as a solo effort but ill health forced him to abandon it. The incomplete manuscript and notes were handed over to writer Frederik Pohl (1919 – 2013) who completed it. The novel was published in August 2008, a few months after Clarke passed away.
In television, Clarke’s longest collaboration was with British producer Simon Welfare, who created three successful series that saw Clarke investigating and commenting on the mysterious and paranormal.
Official memoir of Apollo XI mission
Clarke with Simon Welfare, producer of Mysterious TV Series