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I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Riff - Vacation Guide to the Solar System by Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich


I seem to be on a science book kick right now! Between this one and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, I'm all about that space right now. I mean, I'm always all about that space, but science books don't come out often enough for me to only read them, so I'm happy that there's two fun and pretty ones to read right now! I read both in one week and my brain is full of stars now. I want a spaceship or a Mars colony or something so bad, you guys.

This book is so cool. It could literally be updated every ten years like a real travel guide until it actually becomes a real one--which, if Elon Musk and Richard Branson have anything to say about it, won't be too far off. And it's crazy-up-to-date. It's got all the neat new info on Pluto...tho not the pictures of pierogi-shaped Pan that just came out. It talks about Pan*, but the images only came in from Cassini recently. That can be first thing on their list for the next update!

The coolest thing about this book, even cooler than the super-cool retro-future design aesthetic, is that it takes each object in the solar system, from Mercury all the way out to Pluto**, and gives them all their own moment. It tells you what it's like there, what that place has that nowhere else does--which really makes these things feel like places--and sometimes even tells you what it would smell like. Did you ever think that Neptune might be kind of almond-scented? 

It treats the whole solar system as if pesky things like getting there and surviving the visit have been figured out, letting the experience settle into what humans can do there, which makes the whole idea much more...human. Relatable. Brings the scope of such big things down to a personal scale. They wryly and cleverly tell you actual science about places people could one day actually go to, and make it sound fun and doable. 

Also, because of this book, I've discovered Guerrilla Science / the Intergalactic Travel Bureau, which look like total bonkers fun--a mix of science, art, pop-up events, weirdness, culture stuff, and awesomeness!

And at the end, they talk about coming back to Earth with new eyes after years away, and I really appreciate that--astronauts all seem to say that being in space changes your view of the world, literally, and it's lovely that they included that effect in a book specifically about going out to see other worlds!


- The preview is an affiliate link!
- The preview also links to the kindle edition because apparently Amazon doesn't care about doing cool stuff for physical books anymore, but the hardcover is what I read and it was GORGEOUS. Nice heavyweight paper, beautiful art, even smelled nice!
*My current favorite non-Earth moon!
**They talk about why it's not counted as a planet anymore, a little, and then also talk about the other big things out there with it, which is awesome--if it's not a planet anymore, at least it's not alone!

- Today's change: Think about a future where things have worked out and everything is an adventure, and Earth is worth coming home to afterward!


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