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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization

Recently, my reading habits have taken a jaunt from my usual sci-fi/fantasy into presuasive non-fiction. Yeah, I know... it sounds about as exciting as watching grass grow.

I advise you to give non-fiction a shot every once in a while, it'll surprise you. Case in point? Robert Zubrin's Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization.

In the interest of full disclosure, this book is a little heavy on the science, but just about all of the hard science stuff is patiently and concisely explained.

If you have ever wondered exactly why we haven't been back to the moon? Did you ever hear people complain about the ineffectiveness of the Space Shuttle? ( ... no? oh. I think about this stuff occasionally. Yeah. I'm a space nerd. Sue me. ) Well... the answers to these questions can be found within these pages. Zubrin's background as an Astronautical Engineer and a Futurist make him almost uniquely qualified to bring this book to life.

A constant theme that Zubrin tries to bring across in his persuasive prose is, space is not just for science fiction. We actually do possess the technology to reach out there in very practical ways. The no-nonsense tone reminds me of The Right Stuff, where Tom Wolfe paints a canvas of the early days of space and the men who brought it about. Zubrin takes the reigns where Wolfe left off and propels us with rockets, magnetic fields, antimatter, and nuclear bombs (seriously! see Project Orion), into intergalactic space.

I give this book Three and a half very educational sheep.


  1. I will try really hard to be an intellectual individual that can speak intelligently about space exploration; oh who am I kidding, I hereby refer you to my son who can carry on a dialog on this issue much better than I every could and will refer this read to him. I know he will enjoy it. Thanks for sharing today.

  2. Science is hott, I don't care what people say. :) Because knowledge and learning is a MAJOR turn on for me. Mmhmm.

    Smut it may not be but damn who cares!!! Loved this review Richard can't wait to see what else you get into next.

  3. I love science and this looks like a fascinating must-read, one which I will definitely add to my list. However I think it should be mentioned that the book was originally released in 1999. That's a century ago in science years. Robert Zubrin has been featured on a number of Nat Geo and other science programs since that time, as part of the Mars Society.

  4. Yeah, The book is getting long in the tooth, but unfortunately... most of the material in it is still relevant since there really has not been a *lot* of change as far as status quo goes in the US space program.

    He recently updated his first book (which i'll probably write a review on in a few weeks), A Case for Mars. He's really pushing the Mars Direct plan. :)

  5. sounds interesting. I now the space shuttles were expensive and had issues, etc etc but still I was sad to see them go :( End of an era and all that.

    What child of the 80's is not a space nerd!?!?!?!