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The View from Serendip Mass Market Paperback – January 12, 1984

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (January 12, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345314417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345314413
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,961,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"SIR ARTHUR C. CLARKE (1917-2008) wrote the novel and co-authored the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey. He has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and he is the only science-fiction writer to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. His fiction and nonfiction have sold more than one hundred million copies in print worldwide.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on May 8, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Everyone knows Arthur C. Clarke as one of the best -- many would say THE best -- science fiction writer of all-time, but it is often forgotten nowadays that, at least up until the 1970's, Clarke was also one of the best and most prolific popularizers of science. Early in his career, before he ever really got into writing fiction per se, and certainly before he started writing novels, the majority of Clarke's output consisted of technical science pieces and popular science journalism. This collection of such pieces, which appeared in the last 70's, was one of his last of the kind before he began concentrating solely on novel writing and before he retired -- and came back -- and retired again... and so on (anyone who is a writer knows that a writer can never "retire".) The pieces themselves consist mostly of space articles (mainly projections of future society), a few articles about Clarke's home, Sri Lanka (once called Serendip, hence the title), a handful of speeches, autobiographical fragments, exactly one piece of fiction, and a smattering of various other types of articles. As the lifeblood of the book is a series of essays giving future projections for years that have now passed us by, it is easy to dismiss this book as dated, as most have; and, indeed, it will probably never again be in general circulation. However, there is a certain fascination about these articles when looked back upon with hindsight. It is always interesting to see where Clarke was dead-on (describing the internet in almost exact detail nearly 40 years ago, for instance), and where he was wholly off-target (predicting stellar conolization by the end of the 20th century). Few futurists have been as compelling -- and frequently accurate -- as Clarke, and these pieces always make for interesting reading.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Arsov on September 4, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Arthur C. Clarke

The View From Serendip

Pan, Paperback, 1979.
12mo. 237 pp.

First published thus, 1978.


Concerning Serendipity
Dawn of the Space Age
Servant Problem - Oriental Style
The Scent of Treasure
The Stars in Their Courses
How to Dig Space
A Breath of Fresh Vacuum
The World of 2001
'And Now--Live from the Moon . . . '
Time and the Times
The Next Twenty Years
Satellites and Saris*
The Sea of Sinbad*
Willy and Chesley*
Mars and the Mind of Man*
The Snows of Olympus*
Introducing Isaac Asimov
Life in Space
Last (?) Words on UFOs
When the Twerms Came
The Clarke Act
Technology and the Limits of Knowledge
To the Committee on Space Science
The Second Century of the Telephone
Ayu Bowan!

* Reprinted in Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! (1999).


The first and most important thing about The View from Serendip that must be stated unambiguously is that this is a book for Clarke aficionados. The subtitle is rather telling: "Speculations on space, science and the sea, together with fragments of an equatorial autobiography". There is a good deal of the former in Clarke's extensive bibliography, but the latter is something of a rarity. Like all great writers - for great writing is measured by its impact on you, not by stylish linguistic acrobatics - Arthur Clarke always had very personal writing style, combining simplicity and lucidity in the best Maugham-fashion, though in a rather different fields of both fiction and non-fiction.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is supposed to Clarke's memoir of his life after he moved to Sri Lanka, but other than a few recollections of his early days on the island, it mostly consists of essays and columns he wrote about space travel. I would have preferred a more insightful memoir of a westerner living in an Asian country instead of just Clarke's takes on the planets and conjectures about the future of space travel. The most interesting parts come early in the book, where Clarke writes about meeting a variety other "colorful" western residents, including the legendary Major R. Raven-Hart, the author of the wonderful "Canoe Errant" series of travel books. More anecdotes like that would have brought more life and color to this otherwises lackluster memoir.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave Deubler on July 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not much good can be said about this collection of essays, speeches and reminiscences from science fiction colossus Arthur C. Clarke. Only one piece of fiction is included: the short short "When the Twerms Came" which could be considered clever, perhaps even cute, but hardly memorable. Not surprisingly, most of the offerings deal with space, or space travel, or predictions about future technological developments (many of which involve space and space travel), with the predictable result that as one gets further into the book, the essays begin to have a vague familiarity about them. Moreover, this volume closes with a piece written in 1977, so most of the collection is 25 years old or older; as a result, much of this material is sorely dated, although Clarke tries to rectify this by revisiting each subject in his introductions. All that aside, it's probably safe to say that the essay is not really Clarke's strong suit. His greatest gifts are his encyclopedic knowledge of science and its history, his almost poetic descriptions of nature, and his rarely seen but always pointed sense of humor. Many of these pieces demonstrate the first of these qualities, but very few take advantage of the latter two, much to the book's detriment. Clarke is at his most eloquent when describing his adopted country, Sri Lanka, (once known as Serendip, thus the title), or when he's discussing his passion for the world under the sea. So much of Clarke's work is borderline philosophical that he rarely indulges himself in humor, but when he does, he is usually very effective with it. (Does anyone remember his Tales from the White Hart? A classic of science fiction humor.Read more ›
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