Monday, 18 February 2013

Review: 'Space Travel' by Ben Bova with Anthony R. Lewis

Space Travel: A Writer's Guide to the Science of Interplanetary and Interstellar Travel by Ben Bova with Anthony R. Lewis, 1997, Writer's Digest Books, $16.99, softbound, 273 pages. Category/Genre: writing reference. Cover: not outstanding, but good enough. Where we got it: bought it. Where you can get it: Amazon.

The authors begin this book with two 'laws of science fiction' (that technology or future science must be so essential to the story that without it the story would collapse; and that science fiction writers may create anything imaginable, as long as no one can prove that their creation is wrong).  
Next, the authors focus on the different types of rockets and their uses; artificial gravity, weight versus mass, and orbital eccentricities are all explored, as well as the seen and unseen dangers of space. The future of the space industry is covered, followed by space habitats, the Moon (its geography, what it's like to work on the Moon, and possible uses for the Moon), and advanced spacecraft. 
An overview of our solar system is given, and the stars have their own chapter, as do starships. The authors also discuss the universe (geography, theories on its origin and behavior, and more). One unexpected but potentially very useful chapter deals with the legalities of space. The main text closes with the military uses of space, and is followed by an epilogue, bibliography, references, glossary, and index. 
We like this book. It's an essential reference book for anyone interested in writing about space travel. 

If you like this one, try: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card, Aliens and Alien Societies by Stanley Schmidt, World-Building: A Writer's Guide to Constructing Star Systems and Life-Supporting Planets by Steve Gillett, and The Writer's Guide to Creating a Science Fiction Universe by George Ochoa and Jeffrey Osier.  

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