I enjoy Mary Roach's books and have read several of them. I downloaded this one to listen to in the car, but it's been hard. I actually had to stop listening to it because it was hard to stay on topic in my head with the multitude of footnotes Ms. Roach includes. So, I think this is probably a good book, but listening to it is difficult.
I love the conclusion of this book: “Mars is there! RIGHT THERE! You can see it from here! LET’S GO!” (paraphrasing slightly, I’m afraid). And overall this is an enjoyable trip through the back halls of the space program. The ostensible thread through the book is how we can prepare for a trip to Mars and what’s been done so far to meet specific challenges. In reality, however, this is a bit like reading The National Inquirer Meets NASA as told by George Carlin. Mary Roach is always respectful to the men and women behind the space program, but you get the feeling that she kept saying “And isn’t there any little tidbit you can share? Just between us? Promise I won’t tell!”. Oh, and that she has or knows a five your old boy and based some of her humor on his reactions. Fair warning: the chapter on toilets in space will be side-splitting if you like bathroom humor and pretty gross if you don’t.
To be fair, she does throw herself into her research. She relates first hand experience with some of the research and testing NASA is doing, and she isn’t afraid to make fun of herself. And there were times when I was laughing out loud. Seriously, why would an organization dedicated to launching people into space on the tops of guided missiles be so obsessively concerned about slip hazards?
So, look elsewhere if you want scientific rigour or high adventure. But get this book if you want a lighthearted look at the past and future space program with some behind the scenes coverage.
Note- This book was a real stinker. End note. I have a terrible habit of having to listen to all of any book I pay for, and I did this one but it WAS a chore. Mind numbingly boring, with a dull monotone narration that drove me nuts. Somehow, any book I listen to with a woman narrator has this woman reading it- I WILL make a note to check in the future! She did seem well suited to the hour plus part about fecal matter. Sheesh, never again.
My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.
This is some funny but informative stuff about sending humans into space. There's things in here that we would not even think about because we react to gravity here on earth. Out there, all bets are off. What a fun book. Well done, Mary Roach.
This book deals mostly with the difficulties of sending humans into orbit, to space stations or to the moon and such. The problems which have to be surmounted have probably occurred to most of us..... astronaut nutrition, handling bodily wastes, the inability to bathe, etc. The solutions to these problems are delved into in great and nauseating detail. Details I'd probably rather not know; flatulence in a confined space, solid waste escaping and bouncing off the walls and the suggestion of eating dirty worn clothes (made of some edible fiber) on the trip home from Mars, say, to save having to carry so much food. Made me think what nasty things these returning space capsules must be, not to mention the astronauts themselves. A well-researched book with lots of interesting tidbits, it you can stomach them.
i love too read and have people read to me...
I wasn't sure what to expect from this one. i got it during the paperback sale(i'm so stoked when audible does those kinds of things, if you re reading this mr. audible; thank you!!!) so for five bucks, i took a shot...
this one was awesome! the narration is five star and "story" is as well. its not a story in the sense where there are characters and they get in a space ship and fly to mars, or whatever. it's written like a news column or article. it tells the true story, a sort of tongue in cheek take on the space program. the stuff you wouldn't think of when thinking of space flight. what do they eat, where do they sleep, how do you poo in zero g? this one is worth the credit, money whatever. don't miss it!!!
KK, so I like the book, but call me anal, the narrator kept calling an E-V-A, an eva. Duh! Has this person never watched any NASA TV coverage? I found myself shouting E-V-A by the end. If you can get by that then buy this book! Four stars for the book and two stars for the narrator.
I was completely surprised at how enjoyable this book was. Mary Roach does excellent research and always teases out the human in every story. From how they go to the loo in space to how the foods are tested, to her own experiences aboard the Vomit Commit (where they shot Apollo 13).
A great read even if you aren't a space or NASA enthusiast.
I've read a number of Mary Roach's books before and enjoyed them all. This was no exception. Honestly, if this wasn't a book by an author I knew, I likely would have glossed over the title, particularly because I didn't think this topic could be as interesting as some of the other out there. But I am glad I trusted Roach to write an entertaining book. Roach asked all the questions you might have, and a number you didn't about how we might travel to Mars. For example, the logistics of long-term living in a weightless environment and whether astronauts going to Mars would even be able to walk without snapping a leg like a twig. The narrator was pleasant to listen to and did a good job with the author's notes that Roach like to pepper her books with. If you are at all curious about space travel or enjoy Roach's writing, this is a book you for.
I loved Mary Roach's other books, but i just couldn't get into this audio book. I read her other books, so I don't know it is Mary's reading, or the subject matter. I'm kind of a science nerd, so i expected to like the subject. I am going to go ahead and finish this book of in text form rather than trying to listen to it.