The Exploration of Space. Arthur C. Clark.
The Exploration of Space
The Exploration of Space
The Exploration of Space

The Exploration of Space

New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1951. First Book Club Edition. Hardcover. "This book has been written to answer all the questions which the intelligent layman asks about the new science of "astronautics"- a subject which is increasingly in the public eye. The treatment, though scientifically accurate, is entirely nontechnical and the many remarkable plates- four in full color- give a vivid impression of the way in which space-travel may be achieved. Among the subjects illustrated are the refueling of spaceships in free orbit outside the atmosphere, the construction of a "space-station," an automatic rocket surveying Mars, and the lunar base. All these illustrations are scientifically sound, and every effort has been made to be factually accurate and to avoid mere fantasy." (from front flap) An early, speculative but fact-based work by Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008), the great British-born science fiction-&-fact writer, inventor & television personality who was perhaps most famous as the co-writer of the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey with the iconic film's director, Stanley Kubrick. Brilliantly prolific & prophetic, Clark wrote here about the furthest advances & predictions in this "...simple, scientifically accurate treatment of space travel and man's place in the Universe" (front cover subtitle) in a manner understandable, & believable, to non-scientist readers. The many illustrations throughout the book range from black-&-white photographs & diagrams to color reproductions of paintings that beautifully, fancifully depict bubble-enclosed space stations, other-planetary landscapes, etc. This is the first American Book-of-the-Month-Club edition, published concurrently with the stated first edition. The copy offered here contains the original prospectus, "A Report by Clifton Fadiman Reprinted from the Book-of-the-Month Club News," a single sheet folded vertically into four sides, all with printing. It is humorous to read this self-conscious little essay today with our hindsight: "One hundred and fifty years ago it was demonstrated that steamships could never cross the Atlantic. As late as 1903 it was proved that man could not fly. As we consider Arthur C. Clarke's The Exploration of Space, it is no more than fair to keep such facts in mind. Otherwise the offering of such a book to our level-headed membership might seem a fantastic gesture. Certainly it is an unusual one, for there is no doubt that in the more than quarter century of the Club's existence the judges have never made an odder choice." (from front panel) Fadiman (1904-1999) was quite a polymath intellectual literary figure in his own right. A fascinating, accessible now-classic treatise; & a canonical Clarke collectible in this very interesting contemporary format. Book in fine condition with only very mild rubbing to front & back boards with mild fading-sunning esp. at/near upper & lower edges; mild wear & occasional bumps at edges & corners of front, back covers & spine; mild browning, rubbing & spotting at edges of text block esp. upper edge. Interior very fine with only very slight browning to blank margins of text-page leaves; more pronounced browning at front & rear paste-downs & endpapers. Unclipped dust jacket in fine condition with only mild rubbing, scratching, creasing & spotting to front, esp. back covers & spine; mostly mild wear & some small bumps with slight chipping & short tearing at edges, esp. spine edges, & corners of same. Prospectus in very fine condition with only some light, faint creases & very slight browning on surfaces, edges & corners. Fine / Fine. [Item #3327]

Price: $60.00

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