Title: It’s a Question of Space
Author: Clayton C. Anderson
Format: Kindle e-book
Published: By University of Nebraska Press on July 1st, 2018
ISBN13: 9781496205087 (Paperback edition)
Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review
Having spent over 150 days on his first tour of the International Space Station, it’s safe to say that Clayton C. Anderson knows a thing or two about space travel. Now retired and affectionately known as “Astro Clay” by his many admirers on social media and the Internet, Anderson has fielded thousands of questions over the years about spaceflight, living in space, and what it’s like to be an astronaut. Written with honesty and razor-sharp wit, It’s a Question of Space gathers Anderson’s often humorous answers to these questions and more in a book that will beguile young adults and space buffs alike. Covering topics as intriguing as walking in space, what astronauts are supposed to do when they see UFOs, and what role astronauts play in espionage, Anderson’s book is written in an accessible question-and-answer format that covers nearly all aspects of life in space imaginable. From living in zero gravity to going to the bathroom up there, It’s a Question of Space leaves no stone unturned in this witty first-hand account of life as an astronaut.
I love reading about space and hearing about the experiences of those fortunate enough to have explored it, which is why I was really looking forward to reading this book. I was not sure what to expect as I don’t generally read a lot of biographies or non-fiction, so I approached it with a bit of trepidation.
The book is styled in a Q&A format and is basically a set of questions asked by users on Quora about space that Anderson has answered. It is also divided into chapters as the questions chosen fit a common theme. The answers were an interesting mix of informative and just plain witty. I liked that there were photos included in the answers wherever possible. However, I feel like the answers could have been edited rather than taken word for word from Quora. The author has also written a memoir previously and there are way too many references to it, urging the reader to buy the book. It broke the flow of reading for me as it’s a “call to action”, so I think limiting the number of times it was used would have made for a better reading experience. The ARC I read was very poorly formatted, which is why I found it very hard to get into and took a really long time to finish the book. This is why I’d initially rated it 3 stars but based on the content, I bumped it up to 4 stars.
My favourite answers to questions:
- What do the people at the U.S., European, and Russian space agencies think about the success of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, particularly in the light of the extremely low cost of the mission (less than one-tenth of a similar NASA mission) and the frugal innovations that made it possible?
- Can you drink hot drinks in space like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
- How does it feel when you celebrate someone’s birthday in space? Has anyone celebrated their birthday in space?
I would recommend this book if you have burning questions on what it’s like to work on the International Space Station and be a part of NASA that need to be answered. It’s a short and quick read, easy for those who are light readers to pick up as well. Pair it up with the soundtrack of The Martian and a cup of steaming hot chocolate to enjoy a smooth reading experience.
Have you read any non-fiction books about space? Recommend me your favourite in the comments section down below.