May Reviews

Good morning, I’m sick again and the sun has disappeared so I can’t sit around in the garden writing. I’m going to laze in luxury in my room instead. I have two book reviews to write; I’ve been putting them off because of working, but it’s Saturday and I actually have a bit of free time.

The New Moon
Water, Exploration, and Future Habitation

Arlin Crotts

Cambridge University Press

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Description

Explore the Moon in this fascinating book and discover what we should expect from this seemingly familiar but strange new frontier. What startling discoveries are being uncovered on the Moon? What will these tell us about our place in the Universe? How can exploring the Moon benefit development on Earth?

The New Moon is the first complete story of the human lunar experience. Noted astronomer Arlin Crotts reveals the role of the Moon in Earth’s past and present, the stunning scientific discoveries made there from the Apollo era to today, and the possibility of making the lunar environment habitable for humans. Once a notion only in science fiction, the dream of colonizing the Moon is now approaching reality.

Including rare Apollo-era photos and film stills, this book presents many significant but little-known events in lunar science for the first time, and breaks new ground in our understanding and appreciation of the Moon.

Review

Ah, I had such hopes of a fascinating, insightful exploration of the moon’s relationship with humanity, discussion of modern lunar science and future potential. To say I was disappointed by this book would be unfair; I got the science, after all. I just didn’t like it.

This book is aimed, I think, at the fairly well read non-specialist. Unfortunately the writing struggles to straddle the line between popular science and academic textbook. The result is an uneven narrative that swerves between condescension and too complicated. The author’s obvious bias towards lunar rather than planetary exploration is also off putting.

That being said, the little-known nuggets about the lunar landings, lunar science, speculation regarding future moon bases and the practical problems involved, and the photographs/film stills that illustrate this book are interesting.

It certainly provided food for thought even if I found the writing style and authorial tone offputting.
2/5

From science to science fiction next.

Reading Joss Whedon

Rhonda V. Wilcox, Tanya R. Cochran, Cynthea Masson and David Lavery

Syracuse University Press

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Description

In an age when geek chic has come to define mainstream pop culture, few writers and producers inspire more admiration and response than Joss Whedon. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Much Ado about Nothing, from Dr. Horrible’s Sing–Along Blog to The Avengers, the works of Whedon have been the focus of increasing academic attention. This collection of articles represents some of the best work covering a wide array of topics that clarify Whedon’s importance, including considerations of narrative and visual techniques, myth construction, symbolism, gender, heroism, and the business side of television. The editors argue that Whedon’s work is of both social and aesthetic significance; that he creates “canonical television.” He is a master of his artistic medium and has managed this success on broadcast networks rather than on cable.

Review

The geek in me, the one who devoured Buffy and Angel, who squealed with happiness when she heard Joss Whedon would be involved in Marvel’s Avengers and went searching for Firefly and Serenity recently, had little fangirl fits when I found this book on Net Galley. If course I had to read it!

So pleased to say that, unlike the previous book, I wasn’t in the least disappointed by Reading Joss Whedon. A diverse collection of essays discussing all of Joss Whedon’s oeuvre, concentrating on his highly popular television series, while mentioning his other works. Each contributor makes clear and cogent arguments for their position and provides new insight into the work of a talented writer/producer. An excellent example of an academic work that can comfortably be read by non-specialists (film studies is nowhere near my field of education).

Every fan of Joss Whedon’s films and television programmes needs to read this book, and the people who dismiss his work should as well. A new understanding is found in each essay.

Personal comment: I need this book, like stakes in the Buffyverse or Wash needs toy dinosaurs (Firefly-verse), I need a paperback copy I can highlight and scribble notes in, that I can fill with sticky notes when I find an interesting or relevant passage. If anyone wants to supply me with a copy…

5/5

Book reviews done for the month. There will be more next month. I’ll probably be out of work next month so I’ll have plenty of time for reading and writing. And now, the afternoon is wearing on, and I’ve got a novel to write. Bye, enjoy the weekend.

Rose

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