Prelude to Space
Prelude to Space is a science fiction novel written by British author Arthur C. Clarke in 1947, it appeared for the first time in 1951 as a paperback from World Editions Inc, as number three in its series of Galaxy novels. Sidgwick & Jackson published it in the UK in 1953, followed the next year by a United States hardcover edition from Gnome Press and a paperback from Ballantine Books. Prelude to Space recounts the fictional events leading up the launch of Prometheus, the world's first spacecraft capable of reaching the Moon. Prometheus consists of two components, named Beta. Alpha is designed for travel from Earth orbit to the back, it is not capable of independent atmospheric flight. Beta is a nuclear-powered flying wing. Beta uses a nuclear reactor to superheat either air or its own internal supply of methane to achieve thrust. Beta functions as a ramjet in the lower atmosphere and must be launched using an electric launch track; the return journey to the Moon proceeds as follows: Beta carries Alpha into orbit.
Prelude was written before the Apollo program landed men on the Moon and follows the ideal that space travel is realistic and within the grasp of the population. Clarke wrote a new preface in 1976 in which he admits that he had some propagandist goals in writing Prelude to Space — he was an influential member of the astronautics community when the idea of rockets leaving Earth's atmosphere was scoffed at by many scientists; the novel ends with the launching of Prometheus. Dr. Alexson is the historian assigned to prepare the official history of the Moon mission. Prelude to Space has been published under the titles Master of Space and The Space Dreamers. Groff Conklin characterized Prelude as "a magnificent book". Boucher and McComas praised the novel, saying that Clarke handled scientific detail "with so sensitive a poetic understanding that this simple factual narrative is more absorbing than the most elaborately plotted galactic epic." P. Schuyler Miller reviewed it favorably, citing its "documentary quality" and "many of the poetic bits" that mark Clarke's work.
Chalker, Jack L.. The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. pp. 303–304. Prelude to Space title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Prelude to Space at the Internet Archive
Childhood's End is a 1953 science fiction novel by the British author Arthur C. Clarke; the story follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival begins decades of apparent utopia under indirect alien rule, at the cost of human identity and culture. Clarke's idea for the book began with his short story "Guardian Angel", which he expanded into a novel in 1952, incorporating it as the first part of the book, "Earth and the Overlords". Completed and published in 1953, Childhood's End sold out its first printing, received good reviews and became Clarke's first successful novel; the book is regarded by both readers and critics as Clarke's best novel and is described as "a classic of alien literature". Along with The Songs of Distant Earth, Clarke considered Childhood's End to be one of his favourites of his own novels; the novel was nominated for the Retro Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2004. Several attempts to adapt the novel into a film or miniseries have been made with varying levels of success.
Director Stanley Kubrick expressed interest in the 1960s, but collaborated with Clarke on 2001: A Space Odyssey instead. The novel's theme of transcendent evolution appears in Clarke's Space Odyssey series. In 1997, the BBC produced a two-hour radio dramatization of Childhood's End, adapted by Tony Mulholland; the Syfy Channel produced a three-part, four-hour television mini-series of Childhood's End, broadcast on December 14–16, 2015. The novel is divided into three parts, following a third-person omniscient narrative with no main character. In some editions, the short first chapter is a separate prologue rather than the beginning of the first part. In the late 20th century, the United States and the Soviet Union are competing to launch the first spacecraft into orbit, for military purposes; when vast alien spaceships position themselves above Earth's principal cities, the space race ceases. After one week, the aliens announce they are assuming supervision of international affairs, to prevent humanity's extinction.
They become known as the Overlords. In general, they let, they overtly interfere only twice: in South Africa, where some time before their arrival Apartheid has collapsed and been replaced with savage persecution of the white minority. Some humans are suspicious of the Overlords' benign intent; the Overlord Karellen, the "Supervisor for Earth," who speaks directly only to Rikki Stormgren, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, tells Stormgren that the Overlords will reveal themselves in 50 years, when humanity will have become used to their presence. Stormgren smuggles a device onto Karellen's ship in an attempt to see Karellen's true form, he succeeds, is shocked by what he sees, chooses to keep silent. Humankind enters a golden age of prosperity at the expense of creativity. Five decades after their arrival, the Overlords reveal their appearance, resembling the traditional Christian folk images of demons: large bipeds with cloven hooves, leathery wings and tails; the Overlords are interested in psychic research, which humans suppose is part of their anthropological study.
Rupert Boyce, a prolific book collector on the subject, allows one Overlord, Rashaverak, to study these books at his home. To impress his friends with Rashaverak's presence, Boyce holds a party, during which he makes use of a Ouija board. Jan Rodricks, an astrophysicist and Rupert's brother-in-law, asks the identity of the Overlords' home star. George Greggson's future wife Jean faints as the Ouija board reveals a number which has no meaning to most of the guests. Jan recognizes it as a star-catalog number and learns that it is consistent with the direction in which Overlord supply ships appear and disappear. With the help of an oceanographer friend, Jan stows away on an Overlord supply ship and travels 40 light years to their home planet. Due to the time dilation of special relativity at near-light-speeds, the elapsed time on the ship is only a few weeks, he has arranged to endure it in drug-induced hibernation. Although humanity and the Overlords have peaceful relations, some believe human innovation is being suppressed and that culture is becoming stagnant.
One of these groups establishes New Athens, an island colony in the middle of the Pacific Ocean devoted to the creative arts, which George and Jean Greggson join. The Overlords conceal a special interest in the Greggsons' children and Jennifer Anne, intervene to save Jeffrey's life when a tsunami strikes the island; the Overlords have been watching them since the incident with the Ouija board, which revealed the seed of the coming transformation hidden within Jean. Well over a century after the Overlords' arrival, human children, beginning with the Greggsons', begin to display clairvoyance and telekinetic powers. Karellen reveals the Overlords' purpose; the Overlords themselves are unable to join the Overmind, but serve it as a bridge species, fostering other races' eventual union with it. As Karellen explains, the time of humanity as a race composed of single individuals with a concrete identity is coming to an end; the children's minds merge into a single vast group consciousness. If the Pacific were to be dried up, the islands dotting it would lose their identity as islands and become part of a new continent.
An Honest Liar
An Honest Liar is a 2014 biographical feature film documentary and produced by Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom, written by Weinstein, Greg O'Toole and Measom, produced through Left Turn Films, Pure Mutt Productions and Part2 Filmworks, distributed by Abramorama. The film documents the life of former magician, escape artist, skeptical educator James Randi, in particular the investigations through which Randi publicly exposed psychics, faith healers, con-artists; the film focuses on Randi's relationship with his partner of 25 years, José Alvarez, who at the time of filming, had been discovered to be living under a false identity, calling into question "whether Randi was the deceiver or the deceived."The film was screened at a number of 2014 film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival, Hot Docs, AFI Docs Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Best Feature. It was released in February 2015. James Randi - A retired stage magician and escape artist, turned scientific skeptic investigator known for his public exposés of faith healers and other promoters of pseudoscientific and paranormal claims.
The film focuses on his life as an investigator, his relationship with his long-time boyfriend, José Alvarez. Alice Cooper - A rock singer/songwriter who hired magician James Randi to design and coordinate the effects for his 1973 Billion Dollar Babies tour. Randi appeared in the stage show as The Executioner, would end each show by decapitating Cooper. Bill Nye - Science educator and television host, best known as the host of the Disney/PBS children's science show Bill Nye the Science Guy. Adam Savage - Industrial design and special effects designer/fabricator, known as one of the co-hosts of the Discovery Channel television series MythBusters and Unchained Reaction. Penn & Teller - American illusionists and entertainers Michael Shermer - Science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic. Deyvi Peña - Performance artist who posed as a channeller known as "Carlos" on Australian television, in a hoax arranged by Randi, he was Randi's live-in boyfriend of 25 years, the two were married in 2013.
Following legal action involving allegations of identity theft, "José Alvarez's" real name was revealed to be Deyvi Peña. Richard Wiseman - Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. Jamy Ian Swiss - Close-up magician who works with cards. Ray Hyman - Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, a noted critic of parapsychology. Steve Shaw - Mentalist known by the stage name Banachek, who posed as a psychic in a paranormal research project at Washington University in St. Louis. Michael Edwards - Actor who posed as a psychic in a paranormal research project at Washington University in St. Louis. Uri Geller - Israeli illusionist, television personality, self-proclaimed psychic, known for his trademark television performances of spoon bending and other supposed psychic effects. Geller famously failed to perform his feats under controlled conditions during a 1973 appearance The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, after Randi supervised the staff of that program on the proper handling of the materials used in the performance to prevent cheating.
An Honest Liar documents James Randi's early life as a carnival-bound refugee from Toronto who, early on, dedicated himself to learning every trick performed by Harry Houdini, improving on some of them. In one of his feats as an escape artist, Randi frees himself from a straitjacket while being hung upside down by his ankles over Niagara Falls. Age and concerns over the danger of his profession and his health led him to retire from that occupation and seek out not only a new career, but a crusading obsession that makes him a pop cultural fixture by the 1970s: As a scientific skeptic investigator and challenger to pseudoscientific and paranormal claims, which leads him to expose the deceit behind religious faith healers and other con artists who exploit the public. Randi becomes a recurring guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, makes appearances on TV shows such as Happy Days and in rock music artist Alice Cooper's 1973 Billion Dollar Babies tour, where Randi decapitates Cooper at the end of each performance.
The film spotlights some of the more notable targets debunked by Randi. One is mentalist Uri Geller, who performed psychic feats on the talk show circuit, such as bending a spoon with minimal contact, guessing the contents of sealed envelopes and other objects. Randi worked with the staff of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson prior to a 1973 appearance on that program by Geller, who publicly claimed at the time that his acts were performed with genuine psychic ability, not magic tricks. Randi had The Tonight Show staff observe strict controls over the materials that Geller would work with during his appearance to prevent any trickery or cheating by Geller; as a result, Geller was unable to perform any of the feats that he performed on other TV shows. Another target is faith healer Peter Popoff, who during his church revival meetings, demonstrated personal knowledge of people in the audience, such as their names and illnesses, which he stated was due to the work of God. Randi discovered that the true source of this information was a radio in Popoff's ear with which he was fed information by his wife.
Another venture on which Randi embarked had him perpetrating a hoax on the Australian public in which a young man claimed on Australian television to channel the spirit of an ancient seer. The man was in performance artist José Alvarez. In another, Randi had two confederates, mentalist Steve S
One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge was an offer by the James Randi Educational Foundation to pay out one million U. S. dollars to anyone who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. A version of the challenge was first issued in 1964. Over a thousand people applied to take it; the challenge was terminated in 2015. James Randi developed the idea for the challenge during a radio panel discussion when a parapsychologist challenged him to "put money where mouth is." In 1964 Randi offered a $1,000 prize, soon increasing it to $10,000. Lexington Broadcasting wanted Randi to do a show called the $100,000 Psychic Prize, so they added $90,000 to the original $10,000 raised by Randi. In 1996, one of his friends, Internet pioneer Rick Adams, donated U. S. $1,000,000 for the prize. The prize is sometimes referred to in the media as the "Randi Prize". By April 1, 2007, only those with an existing media profile and the backing of a reputable academic were allowed to apply for the challenge.
It was hoped that the resources freed up by not having to test obscure and mentally ill claimants would be used to challenge high-profile alleged psychics and mediums such as Sylvia Browne and John Edward with a campaign in the media. On January 4, 2008, it was announced that the prize would be discontinued on March 6, 2010 in order to free the money for other uses. In the meantime, claimants were welcome to vie for it. One of the reasons offered for its discontinuation is the unwillingness of higher-profile claimants to apply. However, at The Amaz!ng Meeting 7, it was announced that the $1 Million Challenge prize would not expire in 2010. The Foundation issued a formal update on its website on July 30, 2009, announcing the Challenge's continuation, stated more information would be provided at a date on any possible changes to the requirements and procedures; as an April Fool's prank on April 1, 2008, at the MIT Media Lab, Randi pretended to award the prize to magician Seth Raphael after participating in a test of Raphael's "psychic abilities".
On March 8, 2011, the JREF announced that qualifications were being altered to open the challenge to more applicants. Whereas applicants were required to submit press clippings and a letter from an academic institution to qualify, the new rules now require applicants to present either press clippings, a letter from an academic institution, or a public video demonstrating their ability; the JREF explained that these new rules would give people without media or academic documentation a way to be considered for testing, would allow the JREF to use online video and social media to reach a wider audience. Since the challenge was first created by Randi in 1964, about a thousand people have applied, but no one has been successful. Randi has said that few unsuccessful applicants seriously consider that their failure to perform might be due to the nonexistence of the power they believe they possess. In January 2015, James Randi announced that he was retiring and stepping down from his position with the JREF.
In September 2015, JREF announced that their board had decided that it would convert the foundation into a grant-making foundation, they will no longer accept applications directly from people claiming to have a paranormal power. In 2015 the James Randi paranormal challenge was terminated; the official challenge rules stipulated that the participant must agree, in writing, to the conditions and criteria of their test. Claims that cannot be tested experimentally are not eligible for the Challenge. Claimants were able to influence all aspects of the testing procedure and participants during the initial negotiation phase of the challenge. Applications for any challenges that might cause serious injury or death were not accepted. To ensure that the experimental conditions themselves did not negatively affect a claimant's ability to perform, non-blinded preliminary control tests are performed. For example, the JREF had dowsers perform a control test, in which the dowser attempts to locate the target substance or object using their dowsing ability though the target's location has been revealed to the applicant.
Failure to display a 100% success rate in the open test would cause their immediate disqualification. However, claimants were able to perform during the open test, confirming that experimental conditions are adequate. Claimants agreed to observable success criteria prior to the test, results were unambiguous and indicated whether or not the criteria have been met. Randi had said that he need not participate in any way with the actual execution of the test, he has been willing to travel far from the test location to avoid the perception that his anti-paranormal bias could influence the test results; the discussions between the JREF and applicants were at one time posted on a public discussion board for all to see. Since the resignation of Randi's assistant, Mr. Kramer—and subsequent changes to challenge rules requiring applicants to have demonstrated considerable notability—new applications are no longer logged, but there is an archive of previous applicants. In 1979, Randi tested four people in Italy for dowsing ability.
The prize at the time was $10,000. The conditions were. There would be a reservoir just outside the test area. There would be three plastic pipes running underground from the source to the reservoir along different concealed paths; each pipe would pass through the test area by entering at some point on an edge and exiting at some point on an edge. A pipe would not cross itself but it migh
The Sands of Mars
The Sands of Mars is a science fiction novel by English writer Arthur C. Clarke. While he was popular as a short story writer and as a magazine contributor, The Sands of Mars was a prelude to Clarke's becoming one of the world's foremost writers of science fiction novels; the story was published in 1951. It is set principally on the planet Mars, settled by humans and is used as a research establishment; the story setting is that Mars has been surveyed but not explored on the ground. The Sands of Mars was Clarke's first published novel. Martin Gibson, a famous science fiction author, is travelling to Mars, as a guest of the crew of the spaceship Ares. After arriving at Space Station One, in the orbit of Earth, from which all interplanetary journeys start, he begins the three-month trip to Mars; the youngest crew member, Jimmy Spencer, still in training to be an astronaut, is assigned the task of answering his questions about the technology of space flight, they become friends. Gibson tells him about his early life, revealing that he had to leave Cambridge University because of a nervous breakdown and never completed his studies.
After psychiatric treatment, he had become an author. He reveals that he had an affair at university but that he and his girlfriend broke up and that she married another man, had a child and died. On Mars and the crew go their separate ways. Gibson meets the Chief Executive of Mars, Warren Hadfield, Mayor Whittaker, who run the colony from the base at Port Lowell, he discusses the future of the colony with Hadfield, keen to make Mars as self-sufficient as possible, given the vast distance that materials have to come from Earth. On a trip by passenger jet to an outlying research station and the crew are forced down by a dust storm, they explore the nearby area and discover a small group of kangaroo-like creatures, the unsuspected natives of Mars. They appear to have limited intelligence by human standards and are vegetarians, living on native plants, it is revealed that the plants are being cultivated by researchers to enrich the oxygen content of the Martian atmosphere. This project, related others, are being kept secret from Earth.
Gibson discovers. In the meantime, Spencer has formed an attachment to Hadfield's daughter. Hadfield reveals that scientists have been working on "Project Dawn", which involves the ignition of the moon Phobos and its use as a second “sun” for Mars, it will burn for at least one thousand years and the extra heat, together with mass production of the oxygen-generating plants, will – it is hoped – make the Martian atmosphere breathable for humans. Gibson finds himself so persuaded of the importance of Mars as a self-sufficient world that he applies to stay on the planet, is invited to take charge of public relations – in effect, to “sell” Mars to potential colonists. J. Francis McComas, writing in The New York Times, declared Sands of Mars to be "a careful, thoughtful projection of the problems of government.... Written with a quiet realism." Galaxy reviewer Groff Conklin described the novel as "genuinely good reading." Boucher and McComas found it "first-level science fiction for the intelligent and literate reader.".
P. Schuyler Miller reported that although "the plot mechanism creaks a little... is one of the most believable trips to Mars." The book has given an inspiration for the title of guitarist Jimi Hendrix's last and unfinished album, First Rays of the New Rising Sun. The album contains an unfinished song "New Rising Sun" in which "Jupiter Sun" is mentioned, it was published as part of The Space Trilogy, an omnibus of three of Clarke's earlier works which includes Islands in the Sky and Earthlight. The transformation of Phobos into a second sun has similarities to what is done to Jupiter in Clarke's novel 2010: Odyssey Two. In that case, alien technology triggers a fusion reaction in the planet, hydrogen. In the case of Phobos - tiny and rock - Clarke proposes an imaginary "meson resonance reaction", discovered. A city on Mars named Port Lowell is mentioned by Clarke in his 1955 short story "Refugee" and The Lost Worlds of 2001. Clarke's vision of Mars was based on what was imagined in the 1950s; the Martian canals were long discredited.
Seasonal changes visible from Earth were thought to be caused by vegetation of the sort the novel describes. No dates are given; the space age is stated to have begun in the 1960s and 1970s, implying that the novel takes place in the 1990s. The level of the development is consistent with what Clarke imagined for 2001 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. An expedition to Saturn is mentioned in The Sands of Mars: the book version of 2001 involves the first voyage there. Clarke's early space novels foresee much the same sort of future peaceful and with a benevolent world state. There are however no repeat of fictional people or places; the current edition of The Sands of Mars appears in the same volume as Earthlight, but they are not part of the same future. If they were, the Martian novel would be part of the past of the Lunar one, since humans in Earthlight have gone much further and the planets are now independent; the idea of using a moon as a substitute sun was used by Pohl and Kornbluth in the 1959 novel Wolfbane.
Tuck, Donald H.. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. P. 102. ISBN 0-911682-20-1; the Sands of Mars title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
Earthlight is a science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, published in 1955, it is an expansion to novel length of a novella of the same name that he had published four years earlier. Earthlight is a science fiction adventure story set on the Moon, where a government agent is looking for a suspected spy at a major observatory on the Moon; the context is independent settlers elsewhere in the Solar System. The year is not given. There have been no wars for the last 200 years. Events are low-key: the government agent is a mild-mannered accountant who does not like the task, he notices the beauty of the Moon under'earthlight'. The story proceeds with few violent incidents, though it does climax in a space battle. There is an enigma - the apparent sighting of a'beam of light', that should not be possible on the airless world; this is explained in the story as a weapons beam that included metal particulates moving at high velocity. Though many of Clarke's science fiction novels take place in rather similar futures—Earthlight, A Fall of Moondust, The Sands of Mars, Rendezvous with Rama—the human background is never quite the same and they do not form a series.
The plot describes how political tension between the government of a politically united Earth and independent settlers and traders elsewhere in the Solar System who have formed a federation, erupts into warfare over the terms for the availability to the Federation of scarce heavy metals. The trigger for hostilities is the publication of a research paper suggesting that the Moon may have unsuspected heavy metal resources which Earth proposes to monopolise; the Earth government's intelligence agency suspects that confidential information concerning the exploitation of these mineral riches may be being leaked to the Federation and presses an accountant, Bertram Sadler, into service. Sadler is sent to the Moon's main astronomical observatory located near the crater of Plato as a tip off has suggested that information is being routed through that location. Sadler's cover story is; the rising political tension is accompanied by the observatory staff enjoying the good fortune of observing a nearby supernova explosion in the constellation of Draco.
Despite a long preceding era of peace and the Federation each prepare technologically for war. The Federation develops a new method of spacedrive propulsion while Earth develops new shielding technology and a weapon which uses an electromagnet-propelled bayonet of liquid metal.. A climactic battle between three Federation cruisers and the fortified mining installation is played out near Mount Pico close to the lunar observatory. Two astronomers who have delivered a top Earth scientist to Pico with only a couple of hours to spare, witness the battle. Sadler, whose investigations have had no pay off except for the unmasking of an embezzling store manager, relinquishes his cover by going to debrief the two astronomers. Of the three Federal cruisers, two are destroyed along with the mine in the battle; the third cruiser, named The Acheron, is terminally damaged and retreats towards Mars, but has little chance of reaching it before her nuclear reactor explodes. However, her new drive gives her the capability of a rendezvous with a passenger liner, The Pegasus, able to rescue all but one of the crew who have to make the 40 second crossing without space suits.
This inconclusive duel between mother planet and dependent colonists, with each side suffering stiffer resistance than anticipated, discredits the governments on both sides. Sadler is able to return to civilian life but suffers nagging frustration that he never found out whether the spy that he was searching for existed or not. Many years the commander of the Acheron writes his memoirs and reveals that information had reached the Federation from "One of Earth's most distinguished astronomers, now living in honoured retirement on the Moon". With this hint, Sadler is able to confirm the spy's identity as Robert Molton, the first one of the observatory staff to greet him on his way to the observatory; the novel concludes with Molton enlightening Sadler and the reader as to the brilliant technical subterfuge with which he transmitted information, namely that he used the observatory's main telescope as a transmitter by placing a modulated ultra-violet source at its prime focus. The signal was received by a Federation spaceship a few million kilometers away.
Groff Conklin characterized Earthlight as "a standard type of melodrama developed with all of the author's abundant ability to make melodrama plausible." Floyd C. Gale stated that the novel had "some of the most inspired descriptive writing in or out of science fiction... a thoroughgoing delight... Worth reading and rereading". Anthony Boucher praised the novel as a convincingly real, scientifically detailed story of the near future, yet infused with that sense of wonder and excitement that we sometimes think vanished from literature about the time our voices changed."At the time of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lester del Rey expressed regret in his review of the film that Earthlight had not been filmed instead. The weapon developed in the story by Earth, which uses an electromagnet-propelled bayonet of liquid metal, is said to have inspired DARPA to develop a weapon along the same lines. Earthlight was first published in 1955, in the US by Ballantine Books and in the UK by Frederick Muller Ltd, was last printed as a paperback in New
Glide Path is a novel by Arthur C. Clarke, published in 1963. Clarke's only non-science fiction novel, it is set during World War II, tells a fictionalized version of the development of the radar-based ground-controlled approach aircraft landing system, includes a character modeled on Luis Alvarez, who developed this system, it is based on Clarke's own wartime service with the Royal Air Force, during which he worked on the GCA project. Tuck, Donald H.. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. P. 102. ISBN 0-911682-20-1. Glide Path title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database