Steven Poore's Reviews > Rocket Science

Rocket Science by Ian Sales
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's review
Apr 15, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: sf

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

April 15, 2012 – Shelved
April 21, 2012 – Started Reading
April 21, 2012 –
page 40
12.5% "First 2 stories are excellent. Now on 3rd..."
May 27, 2012 –
page 58
May 29, 2012 –
page 74
23.13% "So far, every story has held my interest. Now for the non-fic!"
June 21, 2012 –
page 110
June 23, 2012 –
page 136
42.5% "Only mildly confused once so far. That ain't bad going for me."
July 1, 2012 –
page 166
51.88% "Here comes the science..."
July 6, 2012 –
page 190
59.38% "And now massive alt-history too? Epic stuff!"
July 11, 2012 –
page 227
July 13, 2012 –
July 13, 2012 – Shelved as: sf
July 13, 2012 – Finished Reading

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