(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This completely awesome book's awesomeness is so awesomely awesome that it's difficult to get across just how awesome it is. It's a fun, intelligent, and engrossing read, something that a dude can get excited about. As a bonus, it considers sex in space, something I think only Kim Stanley Robinson and Barbarella have done. Space work-as in orbiting Earth, going to the moon, or getting to Mars-is quite romantic in the abstract. Think of relaxed, competent Bruce Dern in Silent Running or George Clooney in Solaris. In reality, space stuff is smelly, hot, and gross. Roach insightfully researches and chronicles all sorts of topics, like what happens when you sneeze in a space suit or how NASA uses cadavers to test how crashes affect the body. Roach's greatest plus is how quickly she gets to the proverbial donkey punch on the varying experiments. For example, when NASA tested astronauts' ability to withstand a 20-day mission, they put men close together in a room with no bathing. They found that after about day eight, astronauts' noses sort of stopped working-it went beyond "smelly." Roach tells readers why: B.O. combines with "bodily emanations that have built up on the skin: grease, sweat, and scurf, to be specific." Scurf? It's shed skin. Nice! (See also LJ's review in the July issue, posting 7/15/10.)-Douglas Lord, "Books for Dudes," BookSmack! 7/1/10 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Roach brings intrepid curiosity, sauciness, and chutzpah to the often staid practice of popular science writing. With the human body as her endlessly intriguing subject, she not only investigates but also participates in strange goings-on behind laboratory doors. Following her wildly popular Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (2008), Roach explores the organic aspects of the space program, such as the dangerous bane of space motion sickness and the challenges of space hygiene (the early capsules stunk to high heaven). Roach happily goes weightless on a parabolic flight on a McDonnell Douglas C-9 in a NASA zero-gravity research project, and test-drives a pressurized rover on a lunar landscape in the High Arctic. She devotes one chapter to space food and another to zero-gravity elimination, which is a serious matter, even with a term like fecal popcorning. An impish and adventurous writer with a gleefully inquisitive mind and a stand-up comic's timing, Roach celebrates human ingenuity (the odder the better), and calls for us to marshal our resources, unchain our imaginations, and start packing for Mars.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist