Clarke was a Brit, of course, but I won’t stand on ceremony here–his fiction played as formative a role to my childhood reading (and viewing) habits as it did to many of the folks paying tribute to him today. Jeff VanderMeer has a lovely tribute at Omnivoracious. Back in 2001 I reviewed Clarke’s Collected Stories for the New York Times; excerpt of the blurb:
Clarke began writing shortly before World War II, and he consistently infused his work with both an optimism about technology and a fear of its misuse; the atomic bomb looms large over this book’s 900-plus pages. That balance of dread and wonder is Clarke’s hallmark, and it’s what made his (and Stanley Kubrick’s) screenplay to ”2001: A Space Odyssey” such a deft fable — after all, what’s the HAL 9000 computer if not our collective technophobia personified?