From Publishers Weekly
Weil, a magazine writer, chronicles the efforts of one baby boomer determined to create a working space ship. Gary Hudson was fascinated with space exploration from his childhood, and by the time he approached his 50th birthday, he had nearly 30 years in the rocket-ship business. An eccentric fellow, Hudson attracted a small group of employees and investors equally as fanatic. Weil shadows Hudson for nearly two years as he attempts to raise money to build and complete the Roton, a single state¤to¤orbit reusable rocket. She attends conventions, speeches, employee barbecues, befriends Hudson's sickly wife and listens endlessly to Hudson's dreams. The book's anecdotes are somewhat reminiscent of stories about the development of computer companies or Internet startups the camaraderie, the hard work and a certain naOvetE about the business world. Weil's writing is simple and occasionally elegant, but the book would have been stronger had she revealed more passion for the subject: she remains an interested but impartial observer. The notion of traveling into space is wildly appealing, but this book never fully engages the reader: unfortunately, Hudson isn't a terribly likable guy and his chances of succeeding seem so slim.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A community of rocketeers flourishes, and they hope to achieve what NASA has not: cheap access to low-earth orbit. Of the companies founded to pursue that goal, the one chronicled here, the now-liquidated Rotary Rocket, generated scads of publicity in the aerospace press during its short existence; its founder, Gary Hudson, assented to a Boswellian presence to dramatize its fortunes. Weil's bio-narrative of Hudson's exertions faithfully expresses the junction where visionary futurism and practicality meet--usually to the detriment of the vision. An entrepreneur, not an engineer, Hudson had several failed rocket ventures behind him when the rotary-rocket idea possessed him. Weil describes the rocket itself--a hybrid of helicopter blades and spinning rockets--and the financial backing Hudson garnered from telecom mogul Walt Anderson and techno-author Tom Clancy. Becoming more skeptical of Hudson by the page, Weil comes to regard his enterprise as faintly fictive yet emblematic of the unreined enthusiasms of "spacers." They (though perhaps not Hudson himself) will revel in Weil's inside account. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved