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Start: Ladies and gentlemen, the last of the “big three of science fiction,” Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke, left us today.

Arthur C. Clarke (I could never think of him as “Sir Clarke,” and he professed embarrassment about the title) was my first role model as a writer: Stanley Kubrick said, “Arthur’s ability to impart poignancy to a dying ocean or an intelligent vapor is unique.” His grasp on the English language in his prime was remarkable — fluid, at times majestic, and always concise.

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