Saturday, January 28, 2006

Darwinian Book Selection

Four new books showed up on Friday - two from Amazon (Roving Mars by Steve Squyres and The Wellstone by Wil McCarthy, SF), two that were irresistable bargains at a Barnes & Noble store (First Man by James Hansen and Creation: Life and How to Make It by Steve Grand). I had a few things I wanted to do this weekend, and a couple I need to do, but now these books are competing for my attention. It's not exactly Darwinian - all of them want me to read them, but they will survive if I don't read them right now.

The SF is easy - it looks good but it's an airplane read for two weeks from now. But I had to start reading the other three. So far Roving Mars is winning, influenced perhaps by the fact that I'll be seeing the IMAX film of the same name tomorrow with my daughter. I've reached the part where the the author's science/engineering team has just been selected in 2000 to do the 2003 rover missions with JPL, after trying and failing to be selected on multiple Mars mission proposals since 1987! Planetary science requires great patience, among many other things. But if you do have patience, good technology, a great team, and some luck, good things can happen, even long after you expect them to (e.g., Gusev rocks solidified from lava, a recent report from Spirit in today's Space News Blog).


Anthony Kendall said...

I am really looking forward to reading "Roving Mars." I just thought I would save my pocket book a bit and get it in trade paperback in a few months.

Just make sure your review doesn't have any spoilers! :-) Actually, I'm totally kidding, it's hard to spoil much in that kind of book.

DarthVader said...

How odd ... I also received "First Man" this past friday :)