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Prelude to Space

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  815 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
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 intern
Mass Market Paperback, 179 pages
Published 1976 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 1950)
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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyI, Robot by Isaac AsimovThe Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyThe Foundation Trilogy by Isaac AsimovStarship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
Classic Science Fiction - 1950-1959
88th out of 140 books — 173 voters
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Community Reviews

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Jul 10, 2009 Dave rated it really liked it
“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 inclu ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Brian rated it liked it
I've always liked this book, since I first read it in the 70s. Written in 1947 and first published in 1951, it plays on the wonder of space travel that died with the men and women aboard the Challenger. But it isn't the typical science fiction novel, set in the far future, when space travel is taken for granted. As the title suggests, it's about the first step on that journey, a manned mission to the moon, and the men who make that happen.

You caught that, right? Reading the book today, it's impo
Matteo Pellegrini
Jan 22, 2014 Matteo Pellegrini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantascienza
I lettori conoscono già Arthur C. Clarke, che ha inaugurato la serie dei romanzi di Urania con "Le sabbie di Marte". Con lo stesso stile avvincente, la stessa precisione di scienziato, Arthur Clarke ci narra ora come gli esseri umani si preparino al primo volo nello spazio: destinazione Luna. Siamo nel 1980 circa. "Per migliaia d'anni" dice l'Autore "la razza umana si è diffusa sulla Terra, finchè l'intero globo non fu esplorato e colonizzato. Ora è arrivato il momento di fare il passo seguente ...more
Ming Siu
There's really not much plot at all, and it's mostly interesting as a historical artefact, being a speculation of space travel before actual space travel ever happened. Still, the enthusiasm and optimism (though sadly misplaced, as history has shown) is infectious.
Andrea Bampi
Un juvenlie che più juvenile non si può. Bisogna riconoscere che questo romanzo d'esordio di Arthur Clarke (più o meno contemporaneo a The Sands of Mars) non ha retto benissimo al peso degli anni. Per varie ragioni, in primis percè già allora era nato più come opera "divulgativa" che come vero e proprio romanzo. Fin dalle prime pagine quello che emerge potente è l'amore per le stelle, per l'esplorazione dello spazio ed il desiderio di trasmetterlo ai lettori in ogni modo possibile. Non è facile ...more
Adam Turoff
Apr 16, 2014 Adam Turoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
If I were reviewing Prelude to Space based on what I remembered reading decades ago, it wouldn't be flattering. I remember a dull story about that ends abruptly with a Plutonium powered rocket launched from Australia. The story misses roughly all of the romance and drama of a manned flight to the moon. A bunch of speculation was way off, like a Plutonium powered rocket that can't be inspected and is so toxic no one can go near it for decades after launch. (Heh. Decades.)

But it was a quick read,
Nov 27, 2012 Mel rated it liked it
This book was written in 1947 when Clarke was on his summer holiday from King's College. It's an interesting piece of propaganda, set 30 years in the future when man is planning his first trip to the moon (using atomic rockets). The book itself is partly fascinating and partly dull. It's an interesting glimpse to see what people thought the future would be like, and what was thought to inspire the rocket engineers of the future. The problem as it's more propaganda than novel there is no real cha ...more
Apr 30, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although first published in magazine form, this was Arthur C. Clarke's first novel, and traces its origins as far back as 1947. Clarke was, thus, among the first proponents of space exploration in the wake of WWII, and this novel is equal parts entertainment, education, and propaganda. (This last is admitted, as such, by Clarke in his introduction to this 1976 edition.) As a result, this is an odd sort of sci-fi novel from a current-day perspective.

This is a story without much of a plot, and wit
Space travel as imagined by ACC in the 50's was a far different thing than what actually occurred. For myself, I think I would prefer Clarke's "reality" to that of today.

Great Britain was a serious world power, particularly in space travel; there was no "space race" per se--countries actually cooperated. Five astronauts were considered for the first flight and the two who didn't make it took it well enough.

The Prometheus (space ship) seemed to me to be along the lines (very generally) of the s
May 22, 2010 Raj rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Written in the early 1950s, this book tells the story of Mankind's first spaceship, the Prometheus, a nuclear-powered vessel that will take its crew of three to the Moon. In this (now) alternative history, Britain is still a major player in the space industry while there is no 'space race' between the superpowers, but all nations worth together in an organisation called 'Interplanetary' for their common goal. Our perspective into this world is Dirk Alexson, an historian sent from the University ...more
...Sixty-five years after it was written Prelude to Space is badly dated in just about every aspect of the story. From the technical developments to the blatant sexism that plagued science fiction in those days. On top of that, Clarke wrote a novel that reads like propaganda for a space program. It is very effective propaganda though. Despite all the novel's flaws, you can't help but be caught up in the excitement of the enterprise and the possibilities of space travel, many of which still haven ...more
Jan 09, 2014 Bob rated it liked it
Shelves: syfy
This is a very early Clarke novel - one that describes the events leading up to the first manned lunar voyage. The novel is filled with scientific jargon, presumably accurate enough for its time and Clarke has a firm grasp on the personal and political issues surrounding space flight. But somehow, the characters don't reach out and pull you into their story. Instead, the reader seems to be a bystander, being told of events as they unfold. I have not yet read much of his work - I plan to read mor ...more
Dec 24, 2014 Roger rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this retrospective space fiction about the first lunar voyage. The fun comparing the maybes with the reality. We don't get to do that very often with fiction. Great read for space fans.
May 21, 2015 Scott rated it liked it
Great insights into the future when it was written. Clark predicted geosynchronous satellites long before they were circling the earth.
Erik Graff
Jan 19, 2011 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historians of space travel, Clarke fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Around the end of '79 and beginning of '80 I went through a phase of reading a lot of Arthur C. Clarke's early writing--something like six novels in a couple of weeks. None of it was particularly good fiction. Contrary to the sf community, I have never regarded him as a very good writer. Prelude to Space, however, is to be judged by a different standard than most fiction because it's purpose is so didactive. Clarke was pushing for a lunar program and this book details one way it might have happe ...more
Jan 01, 2015 Lehana rated it liked it
Jun 11, 2014 Monkeytoad rated it really liked it
Classic Authur C. Clarke.
Feb 27, 2009 Ian rated it it was amazing
A fine example of the pure mastery that was Arthur C Clarke. He left his mark on liturate with everyone of his stories and his spirit lives on through his life's work. Stimulating both scientists and dreamers he has had and will always have a profound impact on the way we view the universe around (and under) us.
Dec 27, 2011 Sequoyah rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I didn't feel that this book should be considered science fiction, but never-the-less, it was still good. Not only was it full of technical jargon, but it also hada some very thought provocing metaphysical themes.
Aug 06, 2008 Bria rated it it was ok
If read any later than about 30 years ago, this book is just sort of bland and uninteresting. Also, a little sad for the optimism it has that history has betrayed.
David Haverstick
Nov 08, 2013 David Haverstick rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Rocket travel as imagined before rocket travel. This book is pretty dated now, but at times shows that Clarke was pretty spot on with his predictions.
Avis Black
Jun 24, 2008 Avis Black rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
My candidate for most boring science fiction book ever.
Jan 11, 2012 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grade C.
Dec 19, 2013 Lauchlin marked it as to-read
Shelves: sci-fi
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Arthur C. Clarke was one of the most important and influential figures in 20th century science fiction. He spent the first half of his life in England, where he served in World War Two as a radar operator, before emigrating to Ceylon in 1956. He is best known for the novel and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he co-created with the assistance of Stanley Kubrick.

Clarke was a graduate of King's Co
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