7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I saw this book at the base exchange and the cover caught my eye. However, I will say that this book definitely fits the bill of "don't judge a book by its cover."
It was in the reading of this book that I was reminded of a commentary from one of Larry Niven's books. The basic gist is that another author, who was using the same editor as Niven at that time, was told by the editor to correct glaring errors regarding the Apollo Program. That other author refused to, saying "no one remembers the Apollo Era," and was never published by that company.
As a member of the Space Cadre and a military aviator, though I will say that this book is entertaining, it is riddled with scientific, historical, technical, and military protocol inaccuracies and errors that made reading it pretty painful and frustrating. I outline a bunch of them below:
1. A mushroom cloud on the moon, really? You need an atmosphere (which allows for convective heating and cooling) to get a mushroom cloud, not to mention a "suspension" of the particulate matter from the explosion in a "cloud" form. Otherwise, all the exploded matter just falls back down to the surface.
2. Runway designations are "one-digit" or "two-digits" (from the first two digits of the runway's magnetic heading, with leading zeros being omitted) plus an "optional letter" (if there are more than one runway pointed in the same direction). As an example, these "optional letters" would be L (for Left), C (for Center), or R (for Right) for airfields with three runways pointed in the same direction. I don't know what kind of airfield would have a runway called "3B."
(Psst...the runways at Incheon International Airport are 15R/33L, 15L/33R, and 16/34...)
3. How does something that travels at Mach 2 "catch up" with something that is traveling at greater than Mach 2 ("catch up" indicating that the "Mach 2" object is BEHIND the "faster than Mach 2" object)? Simple: It DOESN'T, unless I suppose it was powered by Marvin the Martian's "Illudium Q-36"...
4. It was the Saturn V, NOT the Atlas V, that took us to the Moon. There were numerous places that the author waffled between the Saturn and Atlas (about 20% Saturn and 80% Atlas, I would say) as being the rocket that sent the Apollo platforms to the Moon. It was the Saturn, please get the history right (unless trying to write some "revisionist" history...).
5. The International Space Station (ISS) is parked at Geosynchronous Orbit (about 22,000 miles altitude)? Uhh, no it most definitely is NOT.
6. A spacecraft that makes the trip from the Earth to the Moon in "half the time" it took Apollo to get to the moon, and yet travels at the same speed as the Apollo craft? I guess there was some alien "space warping" technology he forgot to mention...
7. Excavated alien ruins that are hundreds of millions of years old (probably on the order of 700 million years old), but somehow the ruins (not to mention the site itself) managed to survive the "recycling of the Earth's crust" every 200 million years or so (due to plate subduction because of plate tectonics/continental drift)? That is quite an excavation site to have survived 3 complete cycles of the recycling of Earth's crust... (Don't get me started on "caves growing up around things above the ground"...)
8. Having done two ground combat tours in Afghanistan, I know that the basic military protocol of saluting goes out the window during a firefight against hostile forces. Ever heard of an "enemy sniper check"? Not to mention: "Get your @$$ down and don't waste time! We're #$%@& taking fire!!!"
9. Last time I checked, a Navy O-3 outranks an Army O-2. Also, regardless of rank, command of a combat unit would fall upon the highest ranking unrestricted line (for Navy) or combat arms (for Army) person. Despite my admiration of scientists, a military scientist would not be given the reigns of a combat unit, especially with there being a higher ranking unrestricted line/combat arms person on the crew.
10. "Hydrogen ice" is what forms on, and falls, from the exterior of spacecraft being fueled on the launchpad before lift-off??? No, that's "WATER ice" (hydrogen has an extremely low freezing/melting temperature).
11. A number of scenes with "sound in space" (gotta love those), as well as the use/presence of sonar in space... (I guess those aliens have reverted to using submarines...I wonder if they are yellow submarines...)
And the list goes on and on and on...
I would call this book "extremely soft" science fiction, and wonder if it should be considered science fiction at all and not just "fiction."
Though I say that the fast-paced action in this book makes it rate decently high on the "entertainment" scale (like the movies "The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012"), it's science (among other things) is on par with those movies as well: simply horrendous and embarrassing.
On a lemon scale of 1 to 5, I would give this book 5 lemons.