Monday, May 16, 2016

Firestar by Michael Flynn - Book Report #156

Audio book cover

I read this book a long time ago, see book report #52

It has been over three years since I read the first installment in the Firestar series.  I thought it would be a good idea to relive that book in audio form with the intention of listening to the entire series.

After reading my original thoughts on the book I am looking forward to my enjoyment of it now.  In the intervening years Elon Musk and SpaceX have made great strides in the expansion of commercial access to space so it will be interesting to compare how close his path has come to the this particular story.

It was a 30+ hour investment in listening to the book.  My goodness was it good.  I would call it literary science fiction.  It really was grounded in the here and now.  It had all the frustrations of naysayers, political influence, financial realities, personal and professional rivalries.

It really is a massive subject if you want to try to capture almost every aspect of pushing humanity off the face of the earth.  It is made more challenging by making it a private effort which adds the governmental challenges that can be encountered.

I found the characters believable and well rounded.  Some were frustratingly stubborn, just like real people.

What struck me was how the endeavor becomes exponentially more complex as you move forward.

This feels like an important book to read if you are interested in today's space program.  Much like the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson it deals with the known realities of the day.  In this book Flynn does not push the technological speculation very far beyond what was know and proven.  He took results from NASA's X-plane program and pushed them into production instead of the reality of cancelled programs.  Which is much like the environment of today's commercial space efforts who are mining the past efforts of NASA and turning them into private companies.

It's all very exciting.

Paperback cover

Michael Flynn

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