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Going Interstellar Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack McDevitt is a former English teacher, naval officer, Philadelphia taxi driver, customs officer, and motivational trainer. McDevitt is the winner of the Nebula award, the Philip K. Dick Special Award, and the UPC International Novella award. McDevitt lives in Georgia with his wife Maureen, where he plays chess, reads mysteries, and eats lunch regularly with his cronies.
Les Johnson is a NASA physicist, manager, author, husband and father.  By day, he serves as the Deputy Manager for the Advanced Concepts Office at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  Johnson is also an on-screen consultant and commentator for National Geographic Channel special programming, including Evacuate Earth.  He is the co-author with Travis S. Taylor of science fiction thriller Back to the Moon from Baen Books.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451637780
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451637786
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #647,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bart Leahy on June 4, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's a tough market for trying to "sell space" right now. Budgets are tight for space agencies worldwide, and there's no telling how long it will take for some of our more ambitious missions to the moon, Mars, or an asteroid to come to pass. So it might seem a little outlandish to be talking about missions out of the solar system--to other stars, no less!--but that is the exact point of Going Interstellar, a new anthology of articles and short stories about interstellar travel using current technologies.

The editors (Les Johnson and Jack McDevitt) and writers of this book have decided to throw caution to the wind, daring to talk about how human missions beyond our solar system might unfold. The technical articles in the book are brisk and light on equations or technobabble. In addition to Johnson, who's written extensively about solar sails and other high-tech propulsion systems, Dr. Greg Matloff has added articles on fusion and antimatter starships. They make it clear that the systems needed to span the incredible distances between stars are all technologically feasible, and none of them require "warp drive" or violations of known physics. Of course it should be pointed out that "feasible" is a long way from "doable right now." For instance, the ability to generate every Star Trek fan's favorite, antimatter, would take years. The energy output would be akin to half the world's total current production and would require special facilities out near Mercury's orbit. Hydrogen fusion, another favorite of science fiction writers, is also elusive, but we're at least working on it. "The rest," as physicists might say, "is just engineering."

The stories in this book are quite engaging. In fact, I finished this book over the course of three days.
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I'm a big fan of short-story collections such of this, and given the subject it was only a matter of time before it migrated from my Wish List to my Cart. I just finished it the other day.

This is a good collection, very solid. I had expected it to be a collection of short stories devoted to aspects of interstellar travel and those ARE there, but it's more than that....there's a focus (which I didn't know prior to purchase) on stories that used *known* physics and current or near-current technologies....no warp drives or Stargates here! Interspersed are various essays on starship design, various propulsion options (solar sails, fusion, anti-matter), etc. Because the focus is on known or plausibly-known propulsion options, the stories themselves revolve around expeditions to nearby stars only....the "early days" of interstellar travel as it were.

The stories themselves are the usual mixed lot, some so fascinating I couldn't wait to turn the page and others so "weird" (for lack of a better phrase) that I skipped them after a few pages. This is typical for any collection such as this, and the ones that didn't work for me might very well be favorites for somebody else...there's plenty to go around here.

The design essays were generally very solid with some interesting designs postulated; they formed an excellent background for some of stories.

Recommended for anybody who likes this type of focus and a little different take from the more space opera style stories one often finds.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I still swear I remember watching one of the moon landings on TV. I was barely five years old when Apollo 17 sent the last men to the moon, so maybe I am mistaken, but I am sure this is one of my earliest memories.

Going Interstellar is a collection of short stories and essays by notable science fiction authors and physicists with the obvious theme of going interstellar. This book appears to be a labor of love, published by Baen, that stalwart of hardcore hard SF nerds. These people (the editors and authors) really, really want to see us launch interstellar missions. There is a certain sense of futility in their cause, which is evident when even the most optimistic of the non-fiction essays acknowledges that the technological and economic challenges dwarf anything mankind has ever attempted, but still... it's possible! It could be done!

Certainly not in our lifetimes, though.

Every story sticks to the strictly plausible, or at least mostly plausible, so there is no FTL travel here, no wormholes or aliens, and no other "super-science." All the technology is, if not currently possible, at least within the realm of our current understanding of physics.

The non-fiction essays describe the means by which a ship could be sent interstellar distances: antimatter, fusion, and solar/beamed energy sails. Each one has potential and is theoretically possible, each one also has some major drawbacks that physicists refer to as "simply a matter of engineering."

The stories ranged from "okay" to "pretty good." All are fairly typical SF short stories built around the theme of interstellar colonization.
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