Don't just embrace the crazy, sidle up next to it and lick its ear.
I discovered science fiction when I was in high school, and Clarke, along with Asimov and Robert Heinlein helped keep me sane when my home life was driving me insane. They also fueled my love of science in general and astronomy in specific.Rest in peace, Mr. Clarke. Your impact on the world will long be felt.
I started reading scifi in grade school (one of the first 'adult' books I ever read was The Time Machine in fifth grade, which scared the ever living hell out of me). Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke were the first things, other than H.G. Wells I read.Asimov: I loved the Foundation trilogy and his short story Founding Fathers haunts me to this day. But he wrote like a Chemistry Professor. I liked his stories, and hated his style (I find the same is true of Benford and Forward), and I recently tried rereading Caves of Steel and found that I couldn't do it because the writing style grated on me so badly.Heinlein: I loved, loved, his 'Juveniles' - still do. However, most of his adult novels I could take or leave, mostly leave. Stranger in a Strange Land did and does nothing for me. And while his writing style was more personable than Asimov, he wrote like an Engineer - don't get me wrong here, I credit him with getting me interested in science, engineering,and technology, but still he spent a lot of time on the nuts and bolts, his vision tended to be close and focused.Clarke, on the other hand wrote with grandeur, scope, vision. His work was filled with the vastness of the universe. If there's anything that defines his writing for me it's the phrase: space is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we can imagine. I loved Clarke and he filled me with a sense of wonder, awe, and amazement.
I read Childhood's End when I was much too young to understand it, and I've never been able to happily reread that book (I haven't a clue as to why it spooked me and still does). One of my favorite SF books, however, is A Fall of Moondust, although I can't find my copy and haven't reread it in years. Must go find it.
Imagery is a recurring theme in Clarke's stories. In one or two words he paints a vivid panorama of alien worlds and wonderous creatures. His work has inspired my own.
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