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Visions of Spaceflight: Images from the Ordway Collection Hardcover – January, 2001

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Writer Frederick I. Ordway III worked with Werner von Braun in the early days of NASA; he also spent decades collecting pictures, paintings and diagrams of space voyages, real or imagined. With hundreds of big images in glossy color, Visions of Spaceflight: Images from the Ordway Collection makes available Ordway's hoard. Etchings of 18th-century trips to the moon, with great vultures and giant balloons, dominate one section; another includes a cover from the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (1934). Collectors may love the sometimes garish rockets and grinning spacemen from the 1950s periodicals Colliers and This Week. Arthur C. Clarke provides a one-page foreword.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The human fascination with exploration beyond our own sphere is delightfully portrayed here through the etchings, book illustrations, pulp-magazine covers, and artwork in the treasured art collection of Ordway, a former director of the National Space Society and the National Space Institute. Ordway introduces his collection with a personable autobiographical essay, and his passion for all things aeronautical warms the pages. The volume is arranged chronologically from the pre-1600s to the 1950s. Each illustration is annotated by the author, who explains the theories behind the pictures and stories, from winged chariots and balloons to rockets and spaceships. Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, for which Ordway served as technical adviser, provides an introduction. Ordway's collection was cataloged in Blueprint for Space: Science Fiction to Science Fact (LJ 2/15/92). For a truly detailed history of the science fiction of space flight, see John Clute's Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia (DK, 1995). Recommended for larger public libraries or where the history of science fiction or space flight is popular. Karen Ellis, Nicholson Memorial Lib. Syst., Garland, TX
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Publishers Group West (January 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568581815
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568582870
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 9.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Godwin on September 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Fred Ordway has to be the world's leading space historian. If he isn't recognised as such he darned well should be! True to form Fred delivers an outstanding book filled with beautiful reproductions of some of the greatest space art ever painted. In the past fifty years Fred Ordway's contributions to the documentation of man's preoccupation with the heavens has to be unsurpassed. This book is a brilliant and perfect addition to any space enthusiasts collection. Trust me...buy this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Day on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have been trying to get my hands on this book for years and finally, bought it used via Amazon. It has been well worth the time and effort. The two highlights for me are:
1) Ordway's recollections of searching obscure foreign bookstores for even more obscure books depicting stories of space travel, and
2) the reprints and recreations of the famous Collier's space travel series artwork from the 1950's.
This is a very satisfying book for someone fascinated with early visions of how man would explore space.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Author Ordway's absorption with rockets and spaceflight began before NASA even existed: he was one of the first to work in the space industry and assembled a beautiful collection of images relating to astronautics and rockets. Five centuries of spaceflight images are presented here, in a stunning collection of both real rockets and illustrations of imagined creations. Many a science buff as well as science fiction fans will find Visions Of Spaceflight fascinating.
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Format: Hardcover
This large-format book brings together paintings, etchings and other visual images of how humans envisioned travel to the moon and the planets from early Renaissance times to the 1950's. Most were illustrations accompanying published works of fiction. These images, collected by Ordway, are very well reproduced and have useful captions.
Until the second half of the nineteenth century, these depictions of space vehicles, other worlds, and their possible inhabitants were wildly fanciful. After Jules Verne, improved astronomical observations and better engineering made these visions increasingly recognizable for those who grew up with the Space Age. The book, which includes photographs of early rocket experiments, ends with an extensive section on the 1950's, covering the ideas of Wernher von Braun and illustrated with paintings by Chesley Bonestell and Fred Freeman.
Readers may wonder why there are no visions from non-western cultures; were none sufficiently interesting, or do they really not exist? The foreword by Arthur C. Clarke is disappointingly flippant.
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