I came to this book when I was nine years old, and it has stayed with me ever since. Although Clarke's reputation as the greatest living SF author has been diminished slightly by the awful '3001', newcomers should read this collection as an introduction to his genius. Each story is beautifully written, and as JB Priestley says in the introduction there is a real suggestion of 'strangeness' in these tales. They can be horrific ('The Nine Billion Names of God'), wistful ('Robin Hood FRS'), and even wonderfully funny ('Trouble with the Natives'). This really is a great collection, well worth reading.