Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Five dramatic books about space-faring history

Jeffrey Kluger's latest book is Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon. One of his five favorite books that make epic drama out of space-faring history, as shared at Tor.com:
The Martian by Andy Weir

True, this isn’t based in history, but it reads like it could be. There are, so the thinking goes, only a few basic plots: comedy, tragedy, rebirth, romance, voyage and return, warfare, rags to riches. But there are sub-categories too, and in the “voyage and return” column, include the tale of the castaway. The storyline is so appealing because the survival tale is magnified by the lone person’s awful solitude. It was inevitable that eventually the person who was cast away would be cast away in space—the idea was tried in the broadly awful 1964 film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which relied on scale and flash to achieve its execrable results. Weir’s book is the utter opposite—precise, detailed, almost pointillistic. And yet from that fine, dot-at-a-time writing comes a roaring, churning story. Weir’s writing is the literary equivalent of nuclear fuel: compact, seemingly spare, and improbably powerful.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Martian is among Elisabeth Delp's seven classic science fiction space odysseys, Alexandra Oliva's five novels that get important aspects of survival right, Jeff Somers's seven works of speculative fiction that don’t feel all that speculative and  five top sci-fi novels with plausible futuristic technology, Ernest Cline’s ten favorite SF novels, and James Mustich's five top books on visiting Mars.

--Marshal Zeringue