Steven Poore's Reviews > Rocket Science: Science Fiction and Non-Fiction

Rocket Science by Ian Sales
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's review
Jul 13, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: sf
Read from April 21 to July 13, 2012

The concept behind this anthology - that all the stories within must be underpinned by scientific fact rather than the handwavium of hyperspace, warp drives, teleporters, and little green men - appeared daunting to someone whose roots in the genre are based on lightsabers, timelords, hobbits & dragons. In fact Rocket Science both looked and sounded very dry: fiction and non-fiction? Together? Eek!
Actually, it works. And it works damn well. While the fiction herein is built upon science, science is not the star. The heroes (and occasional villains) of these stories are well-drawn, ambitious humans, and every single story is so well constructed that you scarcely notice you are reading real "hard" science fiction.
The stand-outs for me include "Conquistadors" by Iain Cairns, "Fisher's Gambit" by Stephen Gaskell, "Going, Boldly" by Helen Jackson, and "Not Because They Are Easy" by Sam Kepfield - the latter being an incredible alt-history account of the first (Russian) men on the moon which manages to throw in Watergate, OJ Simpson, and a nice final reveal.
The non-fiction, interspersed throughout the anthology, lends more credence to the stories. Conversely, the stories themselves make the articles far more approachable, and as such I thoroughly enjoyed these too. If the authors deserve individual credit for rising to the challenges of the anthology's brief, then so does the book's editor for having created such an excellent end product.
If you think you aren't going to enjoy this, that "hard sf" is unapproachable, then this is the book that will prove you wrong. Fact.
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Reading Progress

04/21/2012 page 40
13.0% "First 2 stories are excellent. Now on 3rd..."
05/29/2012 page 74
23.0% "So far, every story has held my interest. Now for the non-fic!"
06/23/2012 page 136
43.0% "Only mildly confused once so far. That ain't bad going for me."
07/01/2012 page 166
52.0% "Here comes the science..."
07/06/2012 page 190
59.0% "And now massive alt-history too? Epic stuff!"
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