Book Reviews and Recommended Reading
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Opinions expressed are those of the reviewers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Space Society. To get a book reviewed by NSS: send query with book description to [email protected] Do NOT send attached files with your query. Do NOT mail books to the NSS address. We usually respond to queries within 10 days. Note: review copies must be provided free. They can be electronic, but books must also be available in print. We are ONLY interested in books about human exploration and settlement of space.
The Mars Pioneer’s Guide is a gold mine of ideas that touch on every aspect of building a base on Mars, and from there, expanding out to explore the length and breadth of the new world, learning its secrets and discovering how to build a society that is not dependent on a lifeline from Earth, but rather one that eventually is able to trade and interact with Earth on a peer-to-peer basis.
Until reading this book I hadn’t realized the great extent to which international politics influenced NASA’s manned space programs. “[President] Nixon’s 1969 tour of Southeast Asia and Romania was codenamed Operation Moonglow because of the expectation that Apollo 11’s popularity and prestige would lend their sheen to the president’s new foreign policy initiatives.”
The Jim Baen Memorial Award is a science fiction contest jointly administered by the National Space Society and Baen books, presented annually at the International Space Development Conference. The contest rules limit entries to short stories dealing with human space exploration in the next half-century or so. In this volume we have 16 winners and runners-up from the first decade of the award, all of them looking at various aspects of what living and working in space will be like for the pioneering generations.
The Shiva Encounter is a sequel to Cook’s Arcadia Mars and The Aquila Mission. Shiva is a one-hundred kilometer asteroid with a one in fifty probability of striking Earth during the year 2079. The story is about how some Martian colonists intend to save the day. Presumably, a future book will show if humanity succeeded in diverting the asteroid. In addition, there is an extraterrestrial artifact apparently connected to the fate of humanity.
This Space Available, By Emily Carney. A recent addition to the Apollo library, John Rocco’s How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure, is exceptional in that while it may seem geared towards middle grade students, it beautifully illustrates – and illuminates – the role of unsung heroes throughout the space program.
If the goal is to inspire and inform a younger generation to be involved in space, including lunar settlement in particular, Dyson’s book accomplishes this in spades. I highly recommend it for students, teachers and parents.
Anyone wanting to get a Giant Moon Map and a set of copies of this book for their favorite school can apply at aldrinfoundation.org/giant-moon-map.