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