While I haven’t read any of his work in years, Clarke’s novels had a major impact on my teenage imagination, from Childhood’s End to Rendezvous with Rama, he made the universe wonderful even if, at times, it might be challenging or even frightening to our fragile human minds and egos. Ars Technica has a fitting tribute to him:
One of the striking themes of Clarke’s work was the moment where we made contact with another intelligence, and what it might do to us. This lead to powerful scenes, but the thought behind it was almost plaintive. Technology is getting more powerful, and yet we’re still our normal, violent and hateful messes. Clarke seemed sometimes to be looking into the stars and wishing for help. What he may not have realized is that with his fierce intelligence and limitless imagination he was helping us, and in the work he left behind he will continue to help us. He knew that technology can make the world better, and that a rational mind was no less beautiful than any other. [From Childhood’s end: Arthur C. Clarke passes away at age 90 ]
On a search for free Arthur C. Clarke audio, I found a site, HardSF.org, that links to a radio program from the late 70s to early 80s called Mind Web that has a number of Clarke’s stories, including “The Sentinel,” upon which 2001: A Space Odyssey was based. There are lots of other stories by some of the great science fiction writers, including Bradbury, Bloch, Vonnegut (check out the Pink Floyd music in the background of Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron” as well as Clarke’s “The Haunted Spacesuit”), Ellison and many others.