Casting Call.

Someone in the comments requested some recommended reading, and much like listing "your Top 5 movies", it's not the sort of thing you can answer quickly. You see, the problem with liking Arthur C. Clarke is that it's a bit like saying your favourite band is The Beatles. It's a perfectly good answer, but it's so perfectly true that it ends the conversation... unless you ask: "Which Beatle"?

Then it gets fun. (The Amazon links are the ones I'm recommending.)

  • Arthur C. Clarke: John Lennon. A humanitarian above all, he's the heart and the embodiment of science fiction -- and as he flourishes, so does the genre (much like another Arthur).

  • Isaac Asimov: Paul McCartney. I went back and forth on this one, but the truth is that Paul never would have written 2001. Paul was a smart guy, and ended up with all the glory. Asimov was also a non-fiction science writer, and he's the one with an award and a magazine named after him. Besides, Paul played bass, and Asimov's no stranger to Foundations.

  • Philp José Farmer: George Harrison. What a long, strange, trip it's been, indeed.

  • Robert Heinlein: Ringo Starr. People wince at Ringo's work once he left The Beatles... and Heinlein fans grimace at what happened afterwards with The Bugs. Really, there's little they have in common, aside from the fact that you just can't help but love the dumb lugs.

  • George Martin, Producer: Damon Knight. They're called the Damon Knight Grand Master Awards for a reason. He founded the SFWA, and although he wrote a few good stories, his true contribution was in bringing out the potential in others.

  • Pete Best, "The Fifth Beatle": Harlan Ellison. I still haven't read anything by this guy, but there are as many rumours and legends swirling around this guy as there are around Ringo's predecessor. On top of that, it stands to reason that the Fifth Beatle would be pretty bitter at the world nowadays.

    There you go. A very long-winded way to recommend three books and a text. On the other hand, it would take me three textbooks to list my top five movies. Consider yourself lucky.

    (Disclaimer: The Grand Master list is pretty exclusive -- it's only awarded to living authors. That's why so many names are absent... which is too bad, because I very much would have liked to compare Philip K. Dick to Yoko Ono.)
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    Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.