#BookReview: CyberSpace by Matthew Mather

CyberSpace by Matthew Mather 5*

Interesting Time To Read These Stories. I read CyberStorm nearly a year ago, in February 2020. Right as the COVID issue was beginning to cause global panic. But at least that story *mostly* focused on New York City, so while it was uncomfortable due to being all-TOO-realistic, it was at least possible to tell myself (as a Southern man who has only rarely even been through or over NYC) that it wouldn’t happen here.

This book kept that all-too-realistic nature going (though with perhaps a few too many shots at billionaires who are legitimately trying to save humanity at the front), but this time went from New Orleans to Virginia Beach via Mississippi, Kentucky, and Ohio. Much harder to tune out as “it can’t happen here”, particularly since I stared down the face of Irma less than a month after moving to Florida and this book features just such a storm bearing down on Virginia. 😉

Overall truly a remarkable work of near-future science fiction, one that primarily uses tech that is already available to tell a tale that will hopefully never come to fruition.

And that ending! Let’s just say I’m glad I read this book in January 2021, knowing CyberWar – the next book – is slated to be released in just a few months. 😀 Very much recommended.

This review of CyberSpace by Matthew Mather was originally written on January 9, 2021.

#BookReview: Shuttle Houston by Paul Dye

Fascinating. This book is from a guy that started in NASA in the era right after Apollo and seemingly left right as SpaceX and the other private space agencies were finding their first successes. It is highly technical, yet also very approachable – Dye actively tries to explain as much of his “NASA-speak” (his term) as possible while not getting bogged down in too many details. This covers the entirety of his 40 ish years in NASA, from his first days as a co-op student through his last years planning the recovery missions should a Shuttle be stranded in space in the years after the Columbia disaster. Great insight and sometimes hilarious stories, though it ultimately suffers from the same bad taste of an ending that soured Kranz’s Failure Is Not An Option. In its final chapter, it more often comes across as a bitter old man not understanding the new dynamics of the agency he helped mold, rather than as someone truly hopeful for the future of space exploration and what the promise of the new and immediately future eras. Still, a truly worthy read from one of the people who doesn’t have the name recognition of a Kranz or a Chris Kraft, but who was arguably just as important in getting NASA to where it is today. Very much recommended.

This review of Shuttle, Houston by Paul Dye was originally written on March 10, 2020.

#BookReview: Mission to Mars by Buzz Aldrin

Legendary Man, Solid Vision. Often lost in the fact that Buzz Aldrin was on the first team to land on the moon and the second man to step foot on the moon is the fact that he actually had a PhD – from MIT no less – before that legendary accomplishment. Here, this former fighter pilot and lifelong engineer lays out a comprehensive vision to make humanity a dual planet species forevermore. Reading it several years after publication and just weeks before the 50th anniversary of his walk on the moon – an anniversary Aldrin repeatedly says would be a prime day for a definitive “We Choose To Go To The Moon” speech regarding Mars – it is interesting to see how this vision has been followed (or more accurately, not) over the last several years and how fiction (specifically, The Martian by Andy Weir) has actually hewed closer to Aldrin’s vision than NASA or the various real-world space agencies and corporations have. Very highly recommended.

This review of Mission to Mars by Buzz Aldrin was originally published on May 28, 2019.