Title: Short Stories of Space
Author: Piers Horner
Genre: Non-fiction / Science / Astronomy
Short Stories of Space dives into seven transformative space events. The journey through space, history, and technology introduces readers to discoveries that vary from lighthearted histories, to industry-changing technological innovations. Readers will explore all aspects of space, from familiar stars like the Big Dipper to unfamiliar devices like Hubble.
Like a friendly science teacher telling you about their favorite parts of the subject, Horner’s writing is friendly and approachable. Their passion and excitement about astronomy shines through and is contagious. The book’s quick pace matches the speed and excitement that the astronomy industry has experienced in the past few years. Filled with anecdotes that are interesting, engaging, and fascinating, readers will walk away with plenty of fun facts to use to light up a dinner party conversation and impress their friends.
The first chapter is the most memorable because it captures the mysteriousness and beauty of the stars. This chapter is the perfect opener for the book, because it includes the elements of space that intrigued all of us as children: the tiny specks of light that we see when we look up at night. Horner tells the story behind the arrangement of Orion, one of the most famous constellations. Creating more chapters that talk about the myths and ancient stories of the stars would have balanced out some of the more content-heavy ones.
Even though the content is thorough, the writing does not intimidate nor bewilder the reader. The book’s clear and easy to understand language makes it inclusive of all readers. The language is straightforward enough for even younger readers such as tweens or teens interested in astronomy. It’s easy to get lost in the writing and the stories, captured by the ever-changing discoveries in the science world.
The strongest points of the book are the ones where the writing addresses the reader personally, making them feel like they are on a journey rather than being told a story. Incorporating more imagery of the different stars, planets, and technology that is discussed would’ve added even more to its transporting quality. In addition, including actual images would have also been a welcome addition.
Horner explains the history behind some of the greatest discoveries in astronomy so simply, even the most novice of readers will feel casual and comfortable with the material. All of the terminology and each of the concepts are explained clearly and are generally easy to understand. At times, the nitty-gritty details can be a lot to follow, because the chapters shift quickly from one discovery to the next. One chapter in particular, though, “The Unpredictable Constant” has the most complex terms, concepts, and explanations of technology and history, so readers may opt to write down key points or reread sections in order to keep up.
In Short Stories of Space, readers are guided through the developments and discoveries in technology and astronomy that are thought-provoking, fascinating, and awe-inspiring. Each discovery that Horner narrates incites excitement and awe, just the same as it did with the scientists credited with the discoveries. Short Stories of Space brings out the inner child in all of us, endlessly curious about the large, shiny rocks seemingly floating in space.
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