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  Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story by Hitt, Garriott and Kerwin (Outward Odyssey Series) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story by Hitt, Garriott and Kerwin (Outward Odyssey Series)
BobbyA
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posted 08-30-2007 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BobbyA   Click Here to Email BobbyA     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story
by David Hitt, Owen Garriott and Joe Kerwin
As the United States and the Soviet Union went from exploring space to living in it, a space station was conceived as the logical successor to the Apollo moon program. But between conception and execution there was the vastness of space itself, to say nothing of monumental technological challenges. Homesteading Space, by two of Skylab's own astronauts and a NASA journalist, tells the dramatic story of America's first space station from beginning to fiery end.

Homesteading Space is much more than a story of technological and scientific success; it is also an absorbing, sometimes humorous, often inspiring account of the determined, hardworking individuals who shepherded the program through a near-disastrous launch, a heroic rescue, and an exhausting study of Comet Kohoutek, as well as the lab's ultimate descent into the Indian Ocean. Featuring the unpublished in-flight diary of astronaut Alan Bean, the book is replete with the personal recollections and experiences of the Skylab crew and those who worked with them in training, during the mission, and in bringing them safely home.

The website for Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story just says coming soon, but does anyone know when this book is suppose to "drop?" Or will the authors tour signing books?

ColinBurgess
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posted 08-31-2007 12:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Series Editor for this ongoing Outward Odyssey set of ten books outlining the social history of space flight I'm probably in the best position to respond. The three authors are actually David Hitt, Owen Garriott and Joe Kerwin, although every other living Skylab astronaut participated in what they see as the definitive book on the orbiting outpost and science program that was Skylab.

The books in this series are being released at a rate of two per year, and the next book in the wings is the excellent "To a Distant Day" by Chris Gainor (who also wrote the superb "Arrows to the Moon"). This book, detailing the history of rocketry and astronautics up to the time of Gagarin, will be released early next year, and the Skylab book will be published sometime around the end of next year. So there's still a bit of a wait, but the book is currently going through the editing process. I have read the unedited manuscript, as I can tell you that I am very excited about this book.

As to any signings or tours, that has yet to be discussed.

Sy Liebergot
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posted 09-06-2007 08:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sy Liebergot   Click Here to Email Sy Liebergot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As one of the flight controllers who suffered the entire year of Skylab "mothering" it, I can't help but wonder if "The Skylab Story" book is yet another astronaut book, with no regard to the role that we flight ops guys had in saving and maintaining that bugger. I never had an inquiry from Mr. Hitt.

Sy Liebergot
"Apollo EECOM: Journey of A Lifetime"
www.apolloeecom.com

DavidH
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posted 09-07-2007 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sy Liebergot:
I can't help but wonder if "The Skylab Story" book is yet another astronaut book, with no regard to the role that we flight ops guys had in saving and maintaining that bugger.
The short answer: No.

Since the book is still in the editing phase with The Powers That Be at the publisher, I'm reluctant to discuss exactly who or what is in the book, since that may be subject to changes beyond our control. I'll defer to Colin in that regard.

I will say that the scope of the book is much larger than the actual manned period in chronology and larger not only than flight crew, but ops in general, in content.

Obviously, in a book of any size about a subject with this much depth to it, there's no way to tell every story, but we've tried to cover as broad a spectrum of the experience as possible.

Collecting those experiences was a tremendous pleasure. Everyone we talked to was delighted at having the opportunity to talk about Skylab, had an amazing passion for the subject, and, very often, considered it the highlight of their career.

------------------
All These Worlds Space Blog | Hatbag.net
"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

FFrench
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posted 09-08-2007 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While things may indeed change in the final copyediting process (which I am not part of), having read an earlier draft of the book I've been extremely impressed by the effort this wonderful book makes to tell all sides of the Skylab program, from a very human, engaging and readable point of view. The engineers, flight controllers, astronauts and many others provide first-hand and unique additions to this work that gave me a new appreciation of this often-overlooked program.

To answer your question from my outside perspective, the flight controllers get a large amount of attention and respect for their efforts in the book. For example, long after the astronauts had finished with missions to Skylab, the difficult, fascinating and often-overlooked efforts of the Skylab reentry flight control team are explained with first-hand input from many key members. People forget (or never knew) how much active work was done from mission control to try and create a safe Skylab re-entry, and the story is a fascinating one.

I feel that it should be pointed out too that even if this was "yet another astronaut book," that would not be a bad thing for this subject. Because there has never been an astronaut book like this about Skylab for this to be "another" of. Unlike other histories and memoirs of the human spaceflight era, there has not been an astronaut-penned book for adults dedicated to chronicling this amazing program. To have two Skylab astronauts working together on this one, adding the never-published inflight diary of another, and with major insight and input from the other surviving Skylab crews (flown and backup), makes it an incredible piece of personal insight. That it uses these stories as just one part of a rich tapestry of astronaut, engineer, flight controller and other stories makes it all the more engaging. I believe that this book will very quickly be regarded as the book on Skylab.

I should add, Sy, that I enjoyed reading the Skylab chapter in your great book "Apollo EECOM," just as I enjoyed reading the rest of it, for its interesting personal insights.

Sy Liebergot
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posted 09-09-2007 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sy Liebergot   Click Here to Email Sy Liebergot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As usual, Francis, you can always be depended upon to post a considerate and thoughtful reply. For that, I thank you. I wanted to take some time to contact my fellow flight controllers that were some of the ones whose actions saved Skylab, especially during the period before the first crew arrived. You said: "..first-hand input from many key members." I wonder who these key people were. So far I've determined that, I (humbly), Craig Staresinich, or John Aaron were never contacted-- EGILs all. I consider them VERY key.

Well, I believe that I've said enough on this subject, don't wish to start an e-mail war, just want make sure that the contributions of the Apollo era flight controllers are not overlooked. We're dying off at an alarming rate.

DavidH
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posted 09-09-2007 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sy, I am very flattered by your interest in this book, and, again, am awed by the passion those involved in Skylab feel for the program.

I feel obligated to make one small factual correction. I still have a copy of your e-mail of 5 Sept. 2006 deferring from participation in the book.

While, as I said earlier, I'm reluctant to discuss details of the book publicly while it's still this early in the editing stage, you are more than welcome to contact me directly if there's anything else I can let you know.

Thanks!

Sy Liebergot
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posted 09-09-2007 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sy Liebergot   Click Here to Email Sy Liebergot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DavidH:
I feel obligated to make one small factual correction. I still have a copy of your e-mail of 5 Sept. 2006 deferring from participation in the book.
Yes, It was in a note to Colin B., where I simply recommended that you talk with John Aaron, since he was our lead guy.--Sy

cspg
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posted 02-21-2008 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And there's a cover now! (Ok, the same as the one for one of NASA's SPs book!)

johntosullivan
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posted 03-12-2008 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johntosullivan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why change the format of the cover? The layout of Title, subtitle, author(s) and forward is different from the previous three books and "The Skylab Story" is in blue?

So far I'd appreciated the effort to make each one part of a collection by using the same layout and spine design.

ColinBurgess
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posted 03-12-2008 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At the end of the day it's the publisher's design team that comes up with the covers - the authors can only make suggestions (and I know that the cover art they suggested for the Skylab volume was not taken up). The dark spine will match up with the three previous volumes. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when they ran their "Nebraska" logo lengthwise on the spine of Chris Gainor's book, which was out of step with the two previous books.

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-13-2008 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If it is one thing I know from my modest graphic arts training is that styles can change over the years and what works for one title may not necessarily work two years down the road when follow on titles come out. A collector may want something that looks cohesive for their collection, but these books are also stand alone titles and they are going to be published for many years to come yet. A publisher on the other hand has other factors to consider in the quest to sell books and the cover will be the first thing potential buyers see. As it is, I like the cover of this book with Skylab on it as it says a lot more then a potentially more abstract cover that is still related to the subject being covered internally.

When it gets to the end and all the books are out, I think all the titles will still have a cohesive look to them and at a glance you will know they are part of the same series.

cspg
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posted 04-09-2008 01:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ordered my copy from Amazon today (not that the discount has any significance whatsoever, the $10 saved are eaten up by the order fee and the postage!).

Naraht
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posted 04-09-2008 06:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Naraht   Click Here to Email Naraht     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having just read through this thread, I will be very interested to hear about the manner in which this book does discuss the flight controllers' contribution to the Skylab story. The documentary Beyond the Moon: Failure is Not an Option II does a great job in telling this side of the story, which I had never heard before, using interviews with a great many flight controllers. One of those interviewed is John Aaron. It's certainly a shame that he didn't contribute his experiences for this book as well.

Like Sy Liebergot, I suppose I'm biased in that I have no interest in reading "yet another astronaut book." Whether this book fits into that category or not, we will see.

FFrench
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posted 04-09-2008 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't speak for the authors, of course, and as you know I have already posted something above which explains why I feel like this book will indeed be of interest to readers looking for a good number of behind-the-scenes stories of people who don't normally see the limelight, in addition to the personal insights of the astronauts.

One sentence of yours puzzled me, however - is there such a thing as "yet another astronaut book" when it comes to Skylab?

It was one of the most amazing space programs ever carried out, with a huge amount of drama and achievement - and yet I can't think of a single book written by Skylab astronauts for adults about the program - before this one.

The nearest we have had is:

- Alan Bean and Bill Pogue writing slim space books for children, neither wholly devoted to Skylab.

- An authorized biography of Jerry Carr by David Shayler, which has yet to be published.

- A biography of Pete Conrad by his widow.

- Space-themed science fiction novels by Bill Pogue and Ed Gibson, a book of Apollo paintings by Bean, and science textbooks by Owen Garriott and Ed Gibson.

But no book about living and working on Skylab written for adults, by Skylab astronauts, before this one.

So I am not sure there is such a thing here as "yet another" - this will be a first.

Naraht
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posted 04-09-2008 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Naraht   Click Here to Email Naraht     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
One sentence of yours puzzled me, however - is there such a thing as "yet another astronaut book" when it comes to Skylab?

I don't mean to suggest that there is no value in writing books about the astronaut experience on Skylab. It's just that I personally am not interested in reading books primarily about the astronauts. Hence for me it falls into the category of "yet another astronaut book," alongside the ones on Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and the Shuttle.

(Note also that I can't take credit for the phrase, as I was quoting Sy Liebergot!)

Jay Chladek
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posted 04-09-2008 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, it more then likely won't just be about astronauts as none of the Outward Odyssey books are. In fact, I would say in the first two titles, astronaut/cosmonaut experiences only account maybe for 1/3 to 1/2 of the total body of text as there are many other individuals who are talked about in the book that aren't tied to the astronaut corps itself.

I will say though that Homesteading Space won't be the only book coming out to cover Skylab in some capacity. My own proposal for a book in this series has been greenlighted and I just signed the contract. So in about three and a half years, expect another title covering space stations to come out in the series and the Skylab section will compliment what is in Homesteading Space.

FFrench
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posted 04-09-2008 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Naraht:
It's just that I personally am not interested in reading books primarily about the astronauts. Hence for me it falls into the category of "yet another astronaut book," alongside the ones on Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and the Shuttle.
That makes perfect sense, then - understood - thanks. And I agree, sometimes those books can be far more insightful - the Murray and Cox book, for example, is one of my favorites in that regard.

I think you'll be pleased by the broad scope of this book when it does come out, and find plenty of interesting non-astronaut stories in there - I know that I did when reading the draft.

And hopefully, so should Sy - who hasn't read the book, to my knowledge...

DavidH
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posted 04-10-2008 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is Homesteading "yet another astronaut book"? That's an interesting question, and one I'm completely unqualified to answer. I look forward to finding out whether it is or not on this board in a few months.

(From a personal perspective, the idea that there's even a possibility that I've co-authored "yet another astronaut book" is kind of cool.)

Obviously, it's not going to be unusual for a book about a human spaceflight program to pay a fair amount of attention to the in-space operations, and Homesteading is no exception. However, a pretty fair amount of the book takes place on the ground, as well.

The book is also not a memoir; my co-authors' personal experiences and recollections certainly are a key foundation of the book, but, in the end, they are just two characters in a larger cast.

I initially approached Owen about working with him on his memoir; after we heard about this project from Colin, he decided that he was much more interested in telling the story of Skylab than his own personal story.

And, ultimately, that's what we've tried to do. Writing the book was an amazing experience because of the sheer level of passion everybody we talked to had for Skylab, from the grunt-level engineers to George Mueller. They were so excited that the story was finally being told like this.

And that, more than anything, was ultimately our goal for the project -- that the story not be lost; that the story of those people's labor of love be recorded for history. There's no way, of course, that we could do justice to all those people, or even to a fraction of the different types of contributions that were made. But we hope that we've captured some impression of what went into making Skylab happen.

(Which is not to say we're not hoping all of you will buy it!)

FFrench
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posted 07-17-2008 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just spotted that the publisher's page for the book now has some very positive review blurbs from Ed Gibson, Tom Jones and Jim Oberg. Nice!

I particularly liked the line "a worthy addition to any space library -- including, I hope soon, the one aboard today's International Space Station."

Shalene
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posted 07-24-2008 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shalene     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
I just spotted that the publisher's page for the book now has some very positive review blurbs... I particularly liked the line "a worthy addition to any space library -- including, I hope soon, the one aboard today's International Space Station."
I suspect it will be read in space even in the 23rd Century...

cspg
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posted 07-25-2008 12:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's this book? An advanced reading copy of some sort?

FFrench
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posted 07-25-2008 12:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
What's this book? An advanced reading copy of some sort?
Yes, that's correct.

(either that, or the cover of the 92nd edition, two centuries from now...)

DavidH
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posted 07-25-2008 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ha! Those are awesome! Thanks, Francis!

And, yes, Francis was kind enough to review an early draft of the book and provide his valuable expertise to help us immensely.

Dennis Beatty
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posted 09-01-2008 01:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis Beatty   Click Here to Email Dennis Beatty     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I noticed that Amazon shows this book being available November first.

Colin/Francis... might there be a way for advanced copies to be made available to those of us attending the ASF show in November? I'd like to get a couple signed.

FFrench
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posted 09-01-2008 01:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dennis, it is a guess at best, based on when our books were released - and Colin as series editor should be able to say more... but see my response (posted July 19) to this same query on this thread.

ColinBurgess
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posted 09-02-2008 08:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dennis, as Francis has mentioned, the Skylab book should - based on past experience - be available well before that 1 November Amazon release date. However I've just emailed UNP's marketing people to see if I can get a better idea of a release/availability schedule for you. I'll post their response here.

ColinBurgess
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posted 09-03-2008 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dennis (and all), I've just heard back from the University of Nebraska Press and they have advised that they are expecting delivery of the Skylab books into their warehouse in about a week. Assuming there are no mistakes with the printing they expect to start shipping copies out to the retailers soon after.

"We usually get a book in our warehouse two months prior to the publication date," I was informed, "so the book has time to get to the stores by the time reviews come out and people are looking for it."

So in answer to your query, Amazon should have the book and be mailing it out to advance-order customers by the end of the month, or you could buy it direct from the Nebraska Press, at nebraskapress.unl.edu

Dennis Beatty
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posted 09-03-2008 11:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis Beatty   Click Here to Email Dennis Beatty     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello Colin and Francis... Thank you for folowing up on this for me (us?). I will look for the book in the near future.

FFrench
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posted 10-09-2008 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As reported on this thread, congratulations are in order for David Hitt as the cover art for this book is preparing to fly in space.

Congratulations David! About the best "book launch" you could hope for!

DavidH
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posted 10-10-2008 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks! I'm hearing from UNP that my first copies should be arriving very soon, and places like Amazon will start shipping shortly thereafter, so, by a neat coincidence, I should be celebrating two "book launches" at about the same time. It's still rather unbelievable.

DavidH
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posted 10-15-2008 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

It officially exists.

bookcollector
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posted 10-16-2008 08:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bookcollector   Click Here to Email bookcollector     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amazon notified me today that my pre-ordered copy has shipped! I am now waiting with bated breath, and you know what bait smells like. I've always been kinda partial to the Skylab missions, so I cannot wait to read this. Congrats, DavidH!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-17-2008 05:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first lecture and book signing for "Homesteading Space" has now been added to our Space History Events calendar!

DavidH
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posted 10-17-2008 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
BookCollector, thank you, and thanks for the news! I ordered a copy from Amazon as soon as I knew it was listed so I would know when they started shipping, but hadn't heard anything yet, so I'm learning from you that it's shipping.

The first scheduled, but hopefully not the first chronologically. One of my co-authors has been a little preoccupied lately for some reason, but we should be able to focus more on the book once things are a little more grounded, as it were.

And Joe has ordered several boxes of copies to take to the ASF show at KSC in a few weeks.

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posted 10-17-2008 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Zimmer   Click Here to Email Mark Zimmer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A point of clarification: the Amazon page says it's hardcover, but the photos here all look softcover to me. Are there multiple editions, or is the page in error, or are my eyes deceiving me, yet again?

And then there's the added perplexing question of whether to have the Skylab astronauts at the ASF do sign this, or the NASA book of Skylab photos....can't afford to have em both signed, alas.

ColinBurgess
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posted 10-17-2008 03:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The book is definitely hardcover. There may eventually be a softcover version, but that's a long way off just yet.

On edit: Further clarification; the copy Francis French is holding up in the Star Trek photos is likely the one causing you concern. It is actually a mock-up of the book that was privately produced by the authors a couple of years back for proofreading purposes, using their first draft of the text. Now THAT is a collector's item!

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posted 10-17-2008 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Zimmer   Click Here to Email Mark Zimmer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the prompt info!

DavidH
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posted 10-22-2008 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin was kind enough to point out that I should share this here:

A friend of mine who writes music was inspired to create a Homesteading Space Fanfare for the book.

He did a pretty darned good job with it; it makes me wish there was a movie. Failing that, just listening to it will no doubt make the book seem more epic.

FFrench
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posted 10-22-2008 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
What's this book? An advanced reading copy of some sort?
The advanced reading copy was all I had at that time - but now I am delighted to own the hardcover real thing - and the Science Officer is already deeply engrossed!


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