Tag Archives: space travel

Recommended Science books

I like to read science nonfiction books – they feed my inner scientist. Sometimes it’s hard to pick out the really interesting books from the “you’ll only love it if you’re already a fan of the topic.” Today, I thought I’d put together a post of some of my favorite science books. All these books fall into the “fascinating” category. Be careful  – you’ll want to share random bits of information with your nearest friends and relatives.

If you click on the title, you’ll be taken to my original review. If you click on the cover photo, you’ll be taken to an Amazon page where you can buy the book yourself (and thanks for supporting my blog!).

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

Here’s your first book full of tidbits. In this case, it’s all about the periodic table of the elements. You get everything from how the periodic table was put together to the discovery of elements, both natural and synthetic. My favorite part was discussing the origin of element names.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

I like pretty much every book Mary Roach has written. In this case, she’s writing about long-term stays in space. This is even more appropriate now since there are several organizations working on sending people to Mars. A trip to Mars will involve a new series of issues, and Roach discusses many of those issues in this book. She’s not afraid to discuss any bodily function, either, so don’t be surprised by the topics covered!

A Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston

Let’s bring the books back to Earth, but still stay timely. This is the oldest book in the list, and it was inspired by the anthrax attacks in 2001. The book is all about smallpox. While smallpox has been eradicated from the wild, it still exists in at least a couple of labs and could be used to create a biological weapon if the wrong group gets a hold of it.

Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson

This is my submission for the single topic science book. You know what you’re going to get when you pick up the book – it’s all about feathers. However, the author does a great job of alternating between how birds and humans use feathers. There’s also a bit on the evolution of feathers, that probably needs an update by now, but is still interesting.

Anything sound good to you? Anything you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Reclamation by Ryan Row

This is the first short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: August, 2016 in Clarkesworld Magazine

Genre: science fiction

Setting: the asteroid belt, near future Continue reading

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Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

I saw (and loved) the movie and wanted to read the book it was based on. When there was a Kindle sale of the book, I bought it. I read it now to see if it would work for our next American History Club meeting about the space race.

Subtitle: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Published: 2016

Genre: nonfiction science biography

Length: 267 pages of text, 368 pages total

Setting: In and around Langley, Virginia, 1940s-1960s Continue reading

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The End of All Things by John Scalzi

This is the sixth book in the Old Man’s War series that I’m trying to finish up this year.

Published: 2015

Genre: military science fiction

Length: 380 pages

Setting: various location in the Galaxy, far future, soon after the events of The Human Division Continue reading

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The Human Division by John Scalzi

This is the fifth book in the Old Man’s War series (which apparently I’ve only posted a review of the first book in the series – I’ll get to those other ones one of these days). It’s been out a few years now and I just never got around to it. I’m making an effort to finish those series this year.

Published: 2013

Genre: space opera science fiction

Length: 431 pages

Setting: various points in the Universe, soon after the events in The Last Colony Continue reading

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Planetary Scouts by Stephen Sottong

I didn’t get a weekend post up since I spent very little time at my house this weekend. My daughter had her first gymnastics meet of the season and I visited my sister for her birthday. But, it’s a new week, and time to read more! Since it’s Monday, it’s time for some short fiction. Today’s story from the 2014 Campbellian Anthology was a bit longer than most, making it into the novelette length.

Published: 2013 in Writers of the Future Volume 29

Genre: science fiction

Length: 43 pages

Setting: various planets, far future

Summary: Our narrator, Aidan Pastor, is a veteran Planetary Scout with a new partner fresh out of training. Pastor would like to get to his 25 missions and out of the Scouts, so he preps Lester as well as he can for the upcoming missions. They successfully navigate several tricky planets (if they weren’t tricky, the unmanned probe data would have been sufficient) before they nearly don’t make it off another planet.

Final thoughts: This was an enjoyable read. You’re thrown right into the middle of the story (the first mission we see is Pastor’s 19th mission), and there’s plenty of history and atmosphere that inform the story. We get the excitement of going to new planets and trying to figure out how it’s going to try to kill them, and even a bit of character development. (Not too much – this is a short story, after all.) I liked the end. It wasn’t a happy ending, but it was still a hopeful ending.

Title comes from: It was the job of the characters we follow.

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The Plitone Revisionist by Paul S. Jenkins

the-plitone-revisionistBack when I didn’t have many podcasts I listened to, I found a source of audiobooks put out in podcast format. Podiobooks is still going strong and looks to be published new titles. I was looking for science fiction stories and found this one. You can listen to it for free from Podiobooks, and maybe throw a few bucks at the author if you enjoy it. It is not available as a print book.

Published: 2007

Genre: science fiction

Setting: out in space, far future Continue reading

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