Arthur C Clarke

I’m convinced that if it wasn’t for Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, then I wouldn’t read anywhere near as much as I do. It was through spending my childhood reading those authors (and others like them – but mostly those three) that I developed my love of reading. Oh, I admit that most SF isn’t exactly great literature and none of those three authors are literary geniuses – characterisation, in particular, seems to be a closed book to them – but they got me into a habit of always having a book with me. And for that I will always be grateful to them. I don’t read much SF these days, but I always think of it fondly.

Clarke outlived the other two by over fifteen years, but he died yesterday at the age of ninety. To be honest, I don’t think he wrote anything worth reading for about twenty years, but I still highly recommend novels like Childhood’s End[1], Rendezvous With Rama and Songs of Distant Earth.

If you haven’t read any Clarke, and want to give him a try then start with the short story The Nine Billion Names of God.

Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.

[1] Which, shockingly, seems to be out of print. There’s a new edition due in August. Wonder if they’ll bring that forward now.

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