Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Nonfiction that takes you to space

Over at tor.com, a column by Becky Chambers: 5 Non-Fiction Books That Will Put You in an Astronaut’s Boots

I actually am not all that keen on putting myself into an astronaut’s boots. That’s not a fantasy of mine and never has been. If I went into space, I’d want it to be via really mature technology, with artificial gravity underfoot, preferably surrounded by complete ecosystems within a station fairly well indistinguishable from a world.

However, I do find the fourth book on the list interesting:

Ice Station, by Ruth Slavid and James Morris

This book’s not about space at all, but bear with me. Sometimes, the sort of astronauts you want to think about are the kind that set up shop on other worlds for extended periods of time, and that’s not something we’ve done yet (a few quick camping trips in an Apollo Lunar Module notwithstanding). But if you want to imagine what it’s like for humans to live and work in environmentally-hostile isolation, you don’t have to leave our planet at all. Ice Station is a fascinating book about the creation of Halley VI, a research facility in the Antarctic. This slim read is packed with goodies tailor-made for design nerds. Blueprints! Sketches! Considerations about what paint colors are most psychologically soothing! Spending a hundred and six days a year in total darkness never looked so cushy.

That sounds like something I’d enjoy. Even though I would never, ever contemplate even for a second participating in any research that takes place in such an inhospitable environment. Despite not actually wanting to occupy arctic explorer’s boots, this does sound interesting.

For those of you who like the idea of astronaut’s boots better than arctic-explorer’s boots, click through and check out the other suggestions.

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