We lost a true hero of science, engineering, and science fiction this week with the death of the final Grand Master of Science Fiction, Sir Arthur C. Clarke. The original three Grand Masters were Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Clarke.
Clarke was probably most renowned for 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I enjoyed each and every one of his books and stories, and own them all. The novel I would recommend to a newcomer would be the mysterious and ambiguous Rendezvous with Rama, although I am also very fond of the inventive The Fountains of Paradise, Childhood’s End is justifiably famous, and the little-known A Fall of Moondust is a great engineering adventure.
Clarke was an extremely intelligent and funny man who helped bring awareness and understanding of the Space Age to the public. He was a featured commentator on television for the moon shots. He invented the concept of communications satellite, although he did not patent the concept. A sign of his humor was his 1965 essay about this: How I Lost a Billion Dollars in My Spare Time.
You can see his farewell video, recorded three months ago as he approached his 90th birthday, at YouTube. Rest in peace, Sir Arthur.