Joaquin's Reviews > The Hazards of Space Travel: A Tourist's Guide

The Hazards of Space Travel by Neil F. Comins
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M 50x66
's review
Jan 20, 2008

really liked it
Read in January, 2008

At first, two warning signs almost made me put this book back on to the shelf of my LPL where I found it: 1) The author's degree (PhD) is listed after his name on the cover, and it has the disclaimer: "The Hazards of Space Travel is a work of nonfiction based on hard science." Those are usually dead giveaways that you're in for a real stinker.

Fortunately, this book was exactly the opposite - a detailed and thought provoking book that tries to tackle a subject that pretty much nobody has written about so comprehensively and in such detail. This book is pretty much exactly what its title says it is - all of the different hazards one will encounter as a tourist in space as we know it, bot as it's portrayed in science fiction. Sort of like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, only serious and based on humankind's experiences so far and what is known about space.

Sounds like a total snoozer, I know, but there were moments when I found the book in all of its seriousness to be as hilarious as the HHG2G itself. Also in there were some touching moments, human tragedy, and some terror. A lot of this had to do with the author's uniformly serious and objective tone and matter of factness. For example from the Intro: "Hazards exist virtually everywhere you will go off Earth: The atmospheres, solid surfaces, molten rock, and water on the worlds all present specific dangers: radiation damage and impacts from space debris will be daily fare; medical and psychological traumas will likely affect you or your fellow travelers; mechanical and electrical failures are apt to dog your ship and your equipment; and readapting to life on Earth will probably be a heart-wrenching experience."

A totally different form and imagining of space travel than I've read or thought about before. Sign me up!

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