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Book Review < Back

Astronauts in Trouble

Credits: Written by Larry Young and Illustrated by Charlie Adlard and Matt Smith
Publisher: AiT/Planet Lar

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I got my daughter a Future Martian t-shirt from The Planetary Society. I'm a spaceflight freak from way back, when my dad built a model Apollo 11 stack in order to distract himself from the hyperactive months-old mutant he seemed to have inadvertantly conceived. So, y'know, I've grown up disappointed. That big old Saturn V was supposed to be the start, not the finish, if you see what I mean. Writer Larry Young is the same way. Live From the Moon, the first of three AiT stories contained in this volume, concludes its first chapter with the money shot for all of us who grew up in the twilight of crewed spaceflight. Three crew-rated spacecraft lifting off in formation, on direct transLunar injection trajectories. That's the stuff.

But it's not all the stuff. AiT is big and loud, but it's a summer tentpole action movie with a brain. Right in the middle of this story of the mad billionaire with his secretive private space programme and the savvy TV crew caught up in it all when everything goes wrong... it's got a strange quiet to it. Your actual people sitting down talking about themselves, their lives and their culture, a quiet mindbomb in the centre of the more literal explosions. A David Mamet pause in the middle of a Michael Bay movie. A beautifully measured structure that shows off both sides of Larry as a writer -- the one who waves his beer at Armageddon and the one who thinks long and hard before he begins his pen portraits of people as real as he can make them.

-- Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis has written around thirty graphic novels, comics, prose fiction, journalism, videogames and screenplays. Sometimes he take photographs. He also creates and co-creates websites, including this one. He has awards and stuff, he's been in big magazines and newspapers, and he's been published in Nature, which he always mentions because it makes him laugh. He's on the web at warrenellis.com and diepunyhumans.com.


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