I don't know how many of you grew up reading science fiction, but I did. I was lucky to find a friend, a boy a few years older than me, when I was 14. He was the son of my mom's best friend and he was pretty much (no, totally) a geek. And he brought me books, gave me names, kept me sane I think. He's not a geek any longer - he's a very well respected theatre director - see, you can be a geek as a teenager and change your life as a grown-up.
Anyway, thanks to Roy, as a teenager, that was pretty much all I read. I read Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clark, Stanislaw Lem, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Walter M. Miller, Jr. Lucky for me, a few of these guys were (and remained) astonishingly prolific, so once I got started, I just kept going back to the library and getting more books by the same writers.
I can remember, even now, reading Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama for the first time and opening my eyes to things I'd never considered before - even as an incredibly well-read teenager.
There are times when I walk down the street and I see people walking by talking to the air (they've obviously got their Blue Tooth hidden under their hair) or look up at night and realize that people are living on the Space Station or send an email to a friend in Africa or Russia or South America AND get one back in seconds, that the world I read about in the 60s has come to pass. I'm living that science fiction I read back then.
Arthur C. Clarke and his fellow writers changed my life, changed the way I forever understood the world around me. They opened my eyes to things I couldn't see but could only imagine. They, I think, gave me the perfect grounding to become a writer myself.
So, thanks, Mr. Clarke. I'll miss you.