I have had many favorite authors. They never fall out of favor; new writers get added to the ranks of the elite. I don’t rank them in any particular order, and I lost count years ago. But I will always remember which one of them came first.

I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, 2010, before I knew the name of Arthur Charles Clarke. And then for Christmas in 1984 my stepmom gave me a paperback copy of 2010: Odyssey Two. I read that thing backwards and forwards probably a hundred times. It was my first experience with science fiction that put a real emphasis on the science part. From there I immediately backtracked and read the novel version of 2001, and tore through the sequel, 2061: Odyssey Three. The Sentinel, an amazing collection of short stories, kept me entertained when I was supposed to be doing homework. The titles of his books thrilled me all by themselves, and the stories inside blew my mind. I still remember the first time I read Childhood’s End, Rendezvous With Rama, Songs of Distant Earth, Against the Fall of Night, and The City and the Stars.

And did you know he created the concept of the communications satellite? The ring of comm satellites that orbit the earth today is called Clarke’s Belt. How cool is that?

A Moment of Silence for Arthur C. Clarke: