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Prelude to Space (Arthur C. Clarke Collection) [Kindle Edition]

Arthur C. Clarke
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The world's first lunar spacecraft is about to launch. The ship, Prometheus, is built from two separate components-one designed to travel from Earth's atmosphere to the Moon and back, and the other to carry the first component through Earth's atmosphere and into orbit. Sound familiar? That's because it's the basic description of the first space shuttle-well before its launch in 1971.

Prelude to Space was published in 1951-well before the first Sputnik expedition. Even so, the book is full of detailed technical descriptions and conversations regarding the possibility of spaceflight-many of which were actually included during the construction of the first spaceships-as well as telecommunications satellites. It's a fascinating read-from both a fictional and a historical perspective.

Editorial Reviews


"Clarke Is Mighty Convincing As A Scientific Prophet!"-- Orville Prescott, The New York Times

From the Inside Flap

Here is the compelling story of the launching of Prometheus -- Earth's first true spaceship -- and of the men who made it happen.

Dirk Alexson:
Chronicler of the greatest space adventure of all time, he was chosen to immortalize the incredible story of the men and their heroic mission.

Sir Robert Derwent:
Direct-General of Interplanetary -- London Headquarters for the international space-flight project -- he was the man who got the mission off the ground and into the pages of history.

Professor Maxton:
The world's leading atomic engineer, he designed the huge ship's drive units and he waited with the rest of the world to see if the project would be a success.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1094 KB
  • Print Length: 172 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (November 30, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,068 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Prelude To It All October 29, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Despite the fact that this was Arthur's first published novel (came out in 1951), it is one of his most interesting in many ways. First, note the date I listed above of it's publication. That's right, it came out several years before Sputnik (much less Apollo) and yet still offers up numerous technical-drenched in-book conversations detailing the ins and outs of rockets and spaceships. Arthur describes an elaborate plan of how to build and execute a spaceship, many of which were taken into account in the eventual building of the first spaceships (ACC placed the first Moon landing in 1977, and thought he was being optimistic), and several of which we have yet to fulfill. An interesting thing to note is that he uses atomic technology for the spaceships.
Aside from what I already mentioned above, there are several othe prophetic things in this book. For example, Clarke mentions an array of satellites positioned above earth to be used for communications purposes (this is written by the man who invented the Com-Sat, after all), and this book was written in 1947!
Also, Clarke fans will notice that this lays the foundation for many of his later works. It is a Prelude To Space in more ways than one. For one thing, he mentions in the book how we will attempt to colonize the Moon, something that has been done in the majority of his subsequent novels. It makes one wonder why we haven't done this in real life. Also, in an ironic twist of fate, the novel ends with the earth at the turn of the century, in the year 2001! Truly amazing stuff.
This is a good story in and of itself, and it is interesting to go back and read older (pre-Apollo) books like this and see how close they were to the real thing. As interesting as it would have been to read a groundbreaking (back then) book as this at the time it first came out, it is just as interesting, if not more so, to read such a book now.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! Terrible edition... April 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book by Arthur C. Clarke is EXCELLENT.

But don't buy this digital edition! Really, I must recommend that people either buy a paperback edition or else download a pirated version of the text;

Publisher Gateway is ripping us off, this edition is simply a direct OCR of the printed text without any proof-reading WHATSOEVER. Sometimes there are 2, 3 wrong words and symbols in each page, and you can't go three pages without at least one error. The word "was" for example is written "\vos" ate least once every ten pages!

It's money grabbing at its most insidious what this publisher is doing. If they want to charge full price for a book, the least they MUST do is proof-reaf the final product.

I DO NOT recommend anyone buys this book or any of the other Kindle editions in the classic sci fi collection from Gateway, which I can only believe were similarly published.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Prophetic June 29, 2009
By Dave_42
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Prelude to Space" is the first novel by Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008) and was published in 1951 in the series of Galaxy Science Fiction novels. Originally this short novel was written in 1947. According to the introduction which he wrote, Clarke wrote the entire novel in just 20 days, but it took a while to get it published even though he was a successful writer of short fiction. The story is about the first manned mission to the moon. Some of the correct predictions that Clarke made include the first Lunar impact in 1959 and he had the number of astronauts on the lunar mission correct, but much more impressive was his discussion of telecommunications satellites. He didn't do too bad with his prediction of when the landing would be, as he was within a decade by setting it in 1978.

The story is told in three parts, the first of which takes place in England where we meet Dirk Alexson, a historian who has been hired by Interplanetary to record the project of sending men to the moon for posterity. This section provides the background of how man came from the end of World War II to the verge of space travel. Clarke believed that the rocket would be nuclear powered, and that the mission would be one supported by many nations, and in particular England, with Australia being the launch site due to the vast unpopulated areas in the interior. In part two the preparations are made for moving the operation to Australia in preparation for the launch. Part three details the final preparations and finishes with the launch itself. There is an epilogue which looks back from further in the future as man continues to reach out to other planets in the solar system.

The strength of this story is the science.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Arthur C. Clarke is at the top of my list of authors February 20, 2013
By Owba
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'll read anything Clarke wrote. That's my bias. As soon as I saw that a number of his books had finally come to Kindle, I bought most of them (the rest come with my next paycheck). This is one of his early pieces. Honestly, I don't think it's up there with Rendezvous with Rama or City and the Stars, but it's still a solid story with Clarke's always-interesting voice. I have no problem recommending it to any Clarke fan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An example of EARLY Arthur C. Clarke February 26, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
First imagined in 1947 but written in 1951 Prelude to Space is nothing less than Arthur C. Clarke's then visionary story about mankind's first trip to the moon.

Because Clarke gets so many elements wrong (who did it, when it happened, etc.) the book now sadly reads very anachronistically.

But because it's Arthur C. Clarke it's still a well told tale and worth the read.

Because Clarke would later go on to write so many wonderful books though I wouldn't suggest starting with this one. About the same time as he wrote Prelude Clarke also wrote Childhood's End which I'd recommend over this book. Later of course Clarke wrote the 2001 series, the Rama series and (with Stephen Baxter) the Time's Eye series. I'd easily recommend any of those over this book.
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