An African mask? Some sort of spear? A seedpod shooting through the air?
I imagine this cover was just indicative of its time (early 60s) but the only thing I can say for certain about this cover is that it does not scream HARD SCIENCE FICTION. At least not very loudly.
Lt. Col. Joseph Faulk, U.S. Marines, is to lead three men on the first flight to the moon. Here is all the suspense endured by Space Team One as they wait to know which of their number will go. Here are all the technicalities of blast-off; the waiting, the tingling drama. The starkly realistic picture of flight to the moon, and the problems of lunar landing and take-off.
Year of First Non-Literary Moon Landing:
Astronauts leave Earth to go land on the moon. They do so. Then they come back.
As you might picked up from the big DNF in the post title, I did not finish this book. I barely dented this book. I was about fifteen pages in (densely typed pages, mind you) before I discovered I wanted to do anything other than read this book through to the triumphant, predictable end.
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Faulk, USMC, faceplate closed and space suit inflated, felt the very first quick vibrations as the five huge F-1 engines build up thrust. Over 30 feet in diameter and 130 feet high, the mainstage could lift six million pounds from the surface of the earth; with the stages above it, it could inject over 200,000 pounds into earth orbit. This particular rocket had been three years in building. Before that there had been long years of dreams, plans, blueprints, mockups, prototypes–incessant changes to meet each advance in the technology. It represented lengthy, bitter debate in Congress, hundreds of millions of dollars funneled to every part of the United States, around-the-clock work by small and large factories, shifts in local economies. It was also the product of tens of thousands of hours over drafting boards, in laboratories, at far-flung test bases.
The back of the cover is not wrong.
Here is all the suspense as Space Team One waits to know which of their number will go–the fact that “all the suspense” equals “no suspense” does not make the statement any less true.
Here (again) are all the technicalities of blast-off; the waiting, the tingling drama. Mostly you wonder if that tingling you’re feeling in your foot is drama, or just your limb nodding off to sleep. And by all the technicalities, they mean ALL of them. No matter how boring or how mundane or how mind-numbingly technical, the details are all there, included for your bitter-eyed perusal.
Apollo at Go, I dub thee Science Porn! And I will have none of it! Get thee to a laboratory!
Actually, I can see a purpose for this book. I mean, it’s not horribly written, the sentences hang together, there are two-dimensional characters, no egregious flaws–except for the boring. But I’m reading this long after humanity landed on the moon, and long after regular space travel became common(ish). And I can see this book being written and published in order to proselytize space travel. However, that doesn’t make it worth my time.
With most books in this series, I can read them regardless of how bad they are because they have fantastic (I mean unbelievable and/or absurd) premises that spin themselves into oblivion. Apollo at Go is like a transcript of a channel showing the International Space Station live.
Now if we were talking meerkats…