Neil DeGrasse Tyson
I am more than a little ashamed of how long it took me to read this book. It had nothing to do with DeGrasse Tyson’s writing and everything to do with my brain’s capacity to process and integrate information. You all know how much of a fan I am of this man, but it bears repeating. There aren’t many people in our current generation capable of igniting imagination is quite the way that DeGrasse Tyson does. With his charisma and charm, every time I hear him speak or read his words, I’m invariably inspired to look back on my science education gratefully and look forward to the future to see how I can use it. This holds true in Space Chronicles as it does everywhere DeGrasse Tyson’s thoughts touch paper. His insights into the universe make me see it with renewed wonderment and that’s something that is truly rare. The way he sees the world and the way he communicates it to his audience is remarkable. One example: I never thought of throwing a baseball as throwing something into an orbit that the Earth just happens to get in the way of. It’s small things like that that make this book so delightful and yet so enlightening simultaneously.
A thought-provoking and humorous collection on NASA and the future of space travel.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of astrophysicist, one who can speak as easily and brilliantly with popular audiences as with professional scientists. Now that NASA has put human space flight effectively on hold-with a five- or possibly ten-year delay until the next launch of astronauts from U.S. soil-Tyson’s views on the future of space travel and America’s role in that future are especially timely and urgent. This book represents the best of Tyson’s commentary, including a candid new introductory essay on NASA and partisan politics, giving us an eye-opening manifesto on the importance of space exploration for America’s economy, security, and morale. Thanks to Tyson’s fresh voice and trademark humor, his insights are as delightful as they are provocative, on topics that range from the missteps that shaped our recent history of space travel to how aliens, if they existed, might go about finding us.
I will say that upon finishing the book, I’m left with a bit of a sad feeling. Tyson, very eloquently, lays out this amazing and hope-filled future, with humans travelling through space again and possible space stations sitting at the Lagrangian points. He also lays out how we, as a nation, have lost our drive to seek out the stars. I’ve looked to the sky for as long as I can remember. I’ve known where Orion is since I could walk, thanks to my dad. I still distinctly remember the day the blow up planetarium came to our elementary school. The universe opened up before my eyes. If they had let me, I would have lain in that igloo of stars forever. (Of course, it helped that it was set up in the school library. I had everything an eight year old imagination could need.) It’s incredibly frustrating to me that there are people who refuse to look out and see the splendor of the universe. Literally all they have to do is look up. I can only hope that enough people read this book and see that problem and say, no something must be done. People who are smarter, more creative, and more charismatic than me. Maybe if enough of us speak up, then people will see that this stuff matters on a very basic level of what it means to be human.
Okay, enough of the diatribe. You see, this is what DeGrasse Tyson does with his writing. He takes people who are more than a little washed up in science (feel free to read me there) and he re-ignites their passion. He reminds them of the innate curiosity that lead them to choose it in the first place. It’s a curiosity that every person shares, which is why I think that this book could be enjoyed by every person.
5 ink bottles.
Pacing/Tension/Urgency: 4.5 Dresdens
Worldbuilding: 5 Snyders
Language: 5 Feegles