Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Riding Rockets

Normally one finishes reading a book before reviewing it, but I'm so taken with Mike Mullane's irreverent take on astronaut immortality, I simply cannot wait. Riding Rockets is the memoirs of a shuttle-era astronaut - a bracing, funny look at the thrill of manned space flight and the soul-crushing bureaucracy behind it. Make no mistake, this ain't The Right Stuff... But then again, driving space trucks ain't exactly a moonwalk, either. To hear this military man tell it, NASA's second generation of space explorers weren't all cast from the square-jawed, flyboy mold. Instead, the shuttle crew candidates of 1978 included overly-schooled doctorate wonks, pasty scientist-types and humorless pioneers of the Feminist movement. Mullane's account of the resulting culture clash of these very different overachievers is worth the price of the paperback alone, and I got three hundred more pages to go! I can't wait to see how this gifted writer describes space flight itself, or how he handles on page the dark days following the Challenger and Columbia disasters. Whatever the case, I got myself a new favorite astronaut - not so much for his in-flight service, but for the unobstructed view he shares with the rest of us terra-firma schlubs. It's enough to convince this author-wannabe to get his schtick together - for like Blue Blood, Kitchen Confidential, Newjack and Rivethead, Riding Rockets is the exact kind of book I'm trying to write. Just replace 'space shuttle' with 'live truck' and you pretty much have 'Viewfinder BLUES'. That may not sound like high praise, but it is. I mean, what else can you say about an autobiography that opens with the author in mid-enema? You won't see that on C-Span...

1 comment:

FlutePrayer said...

I took your advice and am reading the book. It ROCKS! Thanks for the heads up. Can't wait to read YOUR book.