Transcendence of Gravity: Arthur C. Clarke and the Apocalypse of Weightlessness

Thore Bjørnvig
  • Thore BjørnvigEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology book series (PSHST)


Arthur C. Clarke’s influence on the conceptualization of man’s venture into space, the globalization of earth and the contact with extraterrestrial intelligence is immense. A recurrent theme in his work is the portrayal of earthly existence in the grip of gravity as an evil to be transcended, and mankind’s destiny to break the shackles of gravity and become a ‘heavenly being.’ Using the comparative type of apocalyptic (heavenly sojourn, eschatological vision, cosmological revelation) as an analytical tool sheds light on the role a culturally invested narrative masterplot plays in the endeavor to invigorate the weaning public interest in the space exploration/SETI cause. Like many other science-fiction writers, Clarke demonstrated time and again a keen awareness that it is not only kerosene that will get rockets into space; of equal importance is the narrative fuel.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CopenhagenDenmark

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