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Prelude To Space

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  877 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Divided between the tensions of behind-the-scenes preparations in London & the drama of the launchpad in Australia, this vintage Arthur C. Clarke novel recounts the events leading up to an epoch-making interplanetary space flight.
Precise in his recording of facts, perceptive in his intuitions, Clarke's historian hero is the ideal narrator of this epic chain of events
176 pages
Published 1977 by Sidgwick and Jackson, in association with New English Library (first published 1950)
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Jun 24, 2009 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Cristiano Frigo
Un romanzo datato ed ingenuo. Ben lontano dalla potenza immaginifica di 2001.
In ogni caso una gradevole lettura che ancora una volta stuzzica la nostra fascinazione per le stelle e il cosmo.
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.
Mar 19, 2016 Caprice rated it liked it
Published in the early 1950s, this short novel imagines what it would be like to fly to the moon. However, it sees the lunar landing as simply a prelude, instead of the dead end it has become. Very interesting.
Will Hudson
This certainly isn't Clarke's best work, but it is entertaining to a degree. The more fascinating aspect of the book though, is what he believed the future space program would be like. The book was written I believe the forward said in 1947. The intro he had recorded in 1975. He is very good in the intro about pointing out what he had gotten right, and what he had gotten wrong. I of course have the benefit of hindsight to even the forward considering it has been some 40 years since that was writ ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam Turoff
Sep 10, 2013 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,
Apr 26, 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
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
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 13, 2010 Raj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chuck Kollars
This is Arthur C. Clarke _pre_ '2001: A Space Odyssey' (don't be fooled by the date, this material was originally published as "Prelude to Space" in the early 50s, and written even earlier). Very well written; I see why Arthur C. Clarke was such a big deal in the field of sci-fi writing in those days. All the technical details are fleshed out in great detail (except it was already obvious as soon as this was republished that a few of the technical predictions were way off). The advantage of this ...more
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
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
Feb 02, 2012 Rob rated it liked it
...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
Nov 24, 2013 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Erik Graff
Dec 10, 2008 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
Sep 06, 2008 Ian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 28, 2016 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Truly amazing how much Mr. Clarke got right about the real meaning to n program. One can't help but wonder if the real managers of NASA read this book which was published 8 years before NASA existed. True genius!!
Dec 16, 2011 Sequoyah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 19, 2014 Roger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 25, 2013 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, sci-fi
This book was fantastic at evoking that feeling of awe at the notion of human progress and the exploration of space. The almost complete lack of plot really hampered it.
May 21, 2015 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great insights into the future when it was written. Clark predicted geosynchronous satellites long before they were circling the earth.
David Haverstick
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.
Aug 05, 2008 Bria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Grant Matsuoka
Grant Matsuoka rated it it was amazing
May 06, 2013
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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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