Dammit. Arthur C. Clarke died. He was one of the handful of people I had on my Want To Meet Before They Die list, along with Frank Sinatra and Stanley Kubrick (yes, I suppose it could use some updating). Of course, to tell you the truth, I kept thinking he was dead anyway and was always surprised to learn that he was still alive, but I guess I won't be making that mistake any time soon.
Clarke was totally my favorite writer, and I have more books of his than of anyone else. And I've probably read those books more than I've read any other books. I've always found his short stories to be better than his novels, and while I prefer just about anything he wrote before 1970 over anything he wrote after it; most of his stuff is pretty decent (with the exception of 3001). In fact, it's a pretty sad state of affairs that 3001 is still in print, while many of his best works seem to be out of print. Of course, it always chafes me to read that 2001 was his main book, as I always found it to be one of his lesser works. Great movie, but the book was fairly mediocre.
My personal favorite: A Fall of Moondust. It's got a lousy title and is somewhat reminiscent of a disaster movie (though I think it predates them, being published in 1961), but it's really quite good. It looks like it's not in print anymore, but I got mine at a used bookstore, like where I find all the rest of my sci-fi books. If you're interested in science fiction and want a page-turner, I totally recommend this book. The science in this one is a bit dated, which is understandable seeing as how we hadn't been to the moon yet when it was written, but the story is great.
Anyway, it was a bit inconvenient for Clarke to have pulled this kind of stunt before I had a chance to meet him, but I suppose I only have myself to blame for taking too long to get to Sri Lanka. I guess I'll just have to be a little quicker the next time around.