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A fascinating departure for the renowned science fiction author, Glide Path is an alternative history of the development of Ground Control Approach radar set during World War II.

Clarke draws upon his own wartime experience as a radar control operator during World War II to tell a story fascinating not just for its plotting—combining science, intrigue, and a host of compelling characters—but also for its prescience and technical insight. Glide Path is sure to be an enthralling read not just for science fiction fans, but for history aficionados.

Published: RosettaBooks on
ISBN: 9780795325519
List price: $8.99
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Mr. Clarke is a master of explaining technical things to a layman, which explains his enduring popularity. That, and he writes great SF. Glide path is about two things; first, the development of advanced tracking radar to guide WWII planes safely down to the runway, second, it chronicles Alan Bishop's growth from a timid radar technician in the RAF into a Lieutenant in command of an airbase developing a very advanced radar system, of which parts are still in use today. The focus is really on the original Mark I that Bishop worked on and how he was more attached to it than his own family. All in all, a pretty good, and pretty quick read, perfect for those times when you are eagerly anticipating a package of books, one of which is to be immediately devoured, and the shipment is late. This was also one of the rare books where chapter 1 actually starts on page 1 and the text ran neatly through to page 200.Most people know, but I'll throw in here that Clarke was a player in the development of radar, this book is a fictional 'memoir' of sorts. He also came up with the idea of geo-synchronous satellites (in an orbit matching the earth, holding the satellite in exactly the same space in the sky) as a device for an alien civilization to instantly communicate with any point on their planet. These are called Clarke Orbits and the band of satellites up in near space is referred to as the Clarke Belt. He had retired from a life as a prominent scientist to relax in Sri Lanka and write.more
This is often described as Clarke's non-sf novel, but it has a very similar feel to some of his hard sf. There is the same world building and sense of wonder inspired by science -- but the world he brings to life here was real and recent history. For this novel is a fictionalised account of the development of Ground Control Approach radar during the second world war, and Clarke draws upon his own experience of working on the project to safely talk down aircraft by radar.It might sound dry, but it isn't. Clarke does a fine job on showing both the the technology, and the people who created the technology, with the interplay between different personalities, and the little and large incidents that make up life in a developmental project. The main character's not always that likeable a person, but in a way that makes him a believable viewpoint character rather than a stock hero. There's plenty of dramatic tension, and lighter moments as well, with both clearly being drawn at least in part from Clarke's own experiences. Glide Path is well worth a read for both sf readers and WW2 History buffs.more
An interesting look into the pioneers of radar talk down systems for night flying bombers during WWII, based somewhat on Clarke's own experiences.more
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Reviews

Mr. Clarke is a master of explaining technical things to a layman, which explains his enduring popularity. That, and he writes great SF. Glide path is about two things; first, the development of advanced tracking radar to guide WWII planes safely down to the runway, second, it chronicles Alan Bishop's growth from a timid radar technician in the RAF into a Lieutenant in command of an airbase developing a very advanced radar system, of which parts are still in use today. The focus is really on the original Mark I that Bishop worked on and how he was more attached to it than his own family. All in all, a pretty good, and pretty quick read, perfect for those times when you are eagerly anticipating a package of books, one of which is to be immediately devoured, and the shipment is late. This was also one of the rare books where chapter 1 actually starts on page 1 and the text ran neatly through to page 200.Most people know, but I'll throw in here that Clarke was a player in the development of radar, this book is a fictional 'memoir' of sorts. He also came up with the idea of geo-synchronous satellites (in an orbit matching the earth, holding the satellite in exactly the same space in the sky) as a device for an alien civilization to instantly communicate with any point on their planet. These are called Clarke Orbits and the band of satellites up in near space is referred to as the Clarke Belt. He had retired from a life as a prominent scientist to relax in Sri Lanka and write.more
This is often described as Clarke's non-sf novel, but it has a very similar feel to some of his hard sf. There is the same world building and sense of wonder inspired by science -- but the world he brings to life here was real and recent history. For this novel is a fictionalised account of the development of Ground Control Approach radar during the second world war, and Clarke draws upon his own experience of working on the project to safely talk down aircraft by radar.It might sound dry, but it isn't. Clarke does a fine job on showing both the the technology, and the people who created the technology, with the interplay between different personalities, and the little and large incidents that make up life in a developmental project. The main character's not always that likeable a person, but in a way that makes him a believable viewpoint character rather than a stock hero. There's plenty of dramatic tension, and lighter moments as well, with both clearly being drawn at least in part from Clarke's own experiences. Glide Path is well worth a read for both sf readers and WW2 History buffs.more
An interesting look into the pioneers of radar talk down systems for night flying bombers during WWII, based somewhat on Clarke's own experiences.more
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