Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book Review: Space Chronicles, by Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Finished reading Space Chronicles by Degrasse Tyson. Amazing book. Makes me sad we have not left earth orbit since 1972! Makes going to mars seem like a distant dream unless we go to war again. The main reason we went to the moon was to beat the Soviet Union in the space race during the cold war. What an ignoble thing it is that war between super-powers is one of the greatest drivers of discovery. 8/10 

Not his best novel, but this is only because his other works are so greatEasily readable as Neil takes us on a wonderful journey; taking the ultimate frontier of space back down to earth. This is more a collection of essays on the space race and the future of space than a novel, this it is not all that noticeable as the general story unwinds with ease. The style seems to work and each section is both informative and interesting. The contrast between the brutal reality of space exploration and what really drives and motivates this industry is tragic.

Space is expensive and we went to the Moon, he explains, due to the Space Race - a battle to the death between the two cold war superpowers. America won, they got to the Moon and the cold war ended and funding dried up. Yet the Moon landings are historic and Tyson must be aware of how important it is to educate people on our true coordinates in the cosmos. Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot is what Space Chronicles could have lived up to. Tyson has Sagan's ability to be truly profound. The book is full of his powerfully cosmic perspectives and vivacious enthusiasm which makes one want to keep turning the pages. His love of the cosmos is evident, yet his disappointment about the state of Space Exploration was obvious to me - He wanted to call this book Failure to Launch (one can't blame him).

Space Chronicles is worth reading for anyone who has read his other works and enjoyed them. Or for anyone looking for a gripping Sagan-like voyage. He is not Sagan, nor does he do a cheap imitation. Tyson gives us his own, usually enthralling stories about the space frontier. Will it be breached again by humans? Perhaps.

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