Rating 4 stars
Fraser MacDonald’s debut is a fascinating account of the birth of rocket science and space exploration. It’s a hidden history brought to light thanks to MacDonald’s interest in unlocking public records that governments have deemed secret.
This is a history of a group of people who came together in 1930s California, as Fascism was taking hold in Europe. Some were the children of immigrants, others were immigrants themselves, fleeing the persecution building across the Atlantic ocean. At the heart of the group is a scientist called Frank Malina. He was researching at the same time as Robert Oppenheimer, but he isn’t as well known as Oppenheimer, because he has been largely written out of the history of rocket science. Continue reading
Rating 5 stars
Ring the Hill is a walking book, a history book, a nature book, a folklore book and a book about contemporary Britain viewed through a lens that seems to have almost disappeared from most other media. Tom Cox celebrates the little observed quirks of human nature that thread through the story of the British Isles, and in particular the South West corner of England. The story of Britain is a sprawling one, influenced by the landscape as much as by the doings of its inhabitants. Cox weaves together the folklore of our physical landscape with the ways in which we humans across history have tried to best that landscape.
Rating 2.5 stars
Written in 1977 and set in the then-future of 1994, Philip K Dick’s A Scanner Darkly considers a world split into Straights and Dopers. Continue reading