Yesterday, I told you about my sister-in-law wondering about my book choices. Here's one Dawna, my honorary sister-in-law (She's married to my best friend Patrick), wondered about. How to Live on Mars by Robert Zubrin doesn't look much like a fiction book at all. Looks like what it purports to be, a guide to living on Mars written by some guy named Zubrin... sixty some odd years from now.
And it's one of the funniest books I've read in years. And, it's got more hard science in it, then just about anything since I chugged through Charles Sheffield's Borderlands of Science, which is what, ten years old?
The conceit is simple. We are in the year 2071 and this guidebook to surviving and thriving on Mars has fallen into our hands. Zubrin runs through all the usual topics for this kind of book. Getting there, surviving there and then thriving there. In each case, he talks about the VARIOUS ways of doing these things. And you'd be surprised.
Zubrin offers up just about all of the options for everything and shows you why the 'smart' people do only pick one of the choices they have before them. There IS a best way to get to Mars, to pick out a space suit and how you get your air and water, and how to conduct business. There's a best place to set up a homestead and a better place others place to work. There are even suggestions at what kind of work you should get involved in, depending on your risk reflex.
And Zubrin loves making asides about politics and unions and the women who run them.
If ever there was a case of feeding the patient science in a loving covering of jam-packed humour, this is it. It's not a long book and can be comfortably read in five hours or so. Just about a perfect antidote to a long, tiring week dealing with dolts.