Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Book Review

Book Reviews


By Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith
448 pages
Penguin Press

‘A City on Mars: Can We Settle Space, Should We Settle Space, and Have We Really Thought This Through?’

One of the many common rebuttals to the idea of humanity expanding beyond our ailing, brink-of-climate-disaster of a planet is that there are other problems, right here, that need fixing before we go galivanting around the solar system. But, ask yourself, when has that ever stopped us before? 

Humanity’s need to explore, to push outward, to find the new is so ingrained, it seems inevitable we’ll be on Mars long before we figure out how to feed everyone who needs it. With that in mind, the incomparably brilliant and hilarious Weinersmiths take on the many quirks of humanity to speculate on what it might really be like to become a multi-planet species. With excellent illustrations and a perfect sense of humor, this book is a rich examination of the pros and cons of space settlement using historical anecdotes, psychological studies, politics, sociology, and more to answer some questions and pose even more.

Like all the best pop science books, this is a deeply interesting topic that is totally accessible to anyone with an interest in space and futurism. That urge to run away from our problems will always plague us, but the authors do an excellent job of making a case to chill, just a bit, before we soar off to unknown skies. n — Review by Julie Goodrich

By Travis Baldree
352 pages
Tor Books

‘Bookshops & Bonedust’

Do you remember when you fell in love with books? Did it involve one special book that whisked you away? An all-knowing librarian who magically knew what you’d like? An articulated skeleton spirit who lived in a bag on the counter of an old bookshop?

Viv is a mercenary with a lot of time to kill as she recovers from a grievous wound she suffered from doing what she does best — running headlong into danger. Stuck into a nowhere town while the action she longs for goes on without her, she stumbles in a bookshop run by a cranky caretaker. Escapades of literary, magical and even romantic nature ensure Viv is never bored during her convalescence. 

I can remember the spell cast on me the first time I smelled the dust of an old bookshelf, teeming with stories to get lost in. This delightful book fully captured that feeling and brought all that joy back. This is the epitome of the small but growing cozy fantasy subgenre, and I am so ready for more. Keep some baked goods handy, you’ll need them. n 

— Review by Julie Goodrich

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