Also if anyone has read the Algebraist then you'll understand why I want to fly straight into the storm ;)
We would also have accepted A Meeting With Medusa
I wonder how much of the Algebraist was inspired by that - their aliens and settings are painfully similar.
Clarke is tough to ignore in sci fi. The dude wasn't great at characterization but every story he wrote was like a Conde Nast Traveler from the future.