The Mars Challenge: The Past, Present, and Future of Human Spaceflight, by Alison Wilgus & Wyeth Yates (First Second, 2020)

A student and mentor discuss the logistics of a crewed mission to Mars. Detailed and accessible, this graphic novel-style approach usefully dramatizes some key questions and explains how difficult it is to mount a deep space mission. Topics range from dealing with Mars gravity to the practicalities of maintaining life support systems and mental health over long voyages. Useful and informative: recommended.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight, by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (Hill and Wang, 2019)

The story of the Apollo 11 moon mission, juxtaposed with a history of human engagements with the moon. An excellent graphic novel retelling, finding ways to add new detail and texture to a well-known story. Clear on the contexts of Apollo, and of its relationships to wider US society, while drawing on mission logs for authenticity. Recommended.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Far Side of the Moon, by Alex Irvine & Ben Bishop (Tilbury House, 2017)

Subtitled “The Story of Apollo 11’s Third Man”: a graphic novel biography of NASA astronaut Michael Collins. Brisk and efficient, conveyed in lovely artwork reminiscent of blueprints, concept art, and movie storyboards. A spotlight shone on a perhaps overlooked member of the Apollo mission team, and accessible to boot. Recommended for fellow lunar enthusiasts.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

In Praise of Walking, by Shane O’Mara (Vintage, 2020)

Why walking is good for you, and why we should all walk more. An interdisciplinary popular science approach is offered, linking health in both physical and mental terms, town planning, social interactions, and evolutionary theory. Basically, humans are built and socialized to walk – it’s a key distinction between homo sapiens and other animals – and so we should. Takes a little time to settle into its pace, but worth your perseverance. Recommended.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Universe, by Jorge Cham & Daniel Whiteson (John Murray, 2021)

A series of physics FAQs explored for non-scientists. An excellent second primer from the podcasting duoDaniel & Jorge Explain the Universe – delving into areas such as the possibility of time travel, teleportation, the multiverse, the Big Bang theory, and the practicalities of terraforming and of interstellar exploration. Lots of fun, some good jokes, and zippy illustrations throughout. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Quantum Mechanics, by Jim Al-Khalili (Ladybird Expert, 2017)

An overview of quantum mechanics, taking a largely historical approach. Another excellent, clear, uncluttered primer on a key topic. Just enough information to challenge and to get the reader enthused about the topic so that they go and find out more: the useful bibliography of accessible texts helps too.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Big Bang, by Marcus Chown (Ladybird Expert, 2018)

An accessible introduction to the beginning of the universe. A straightforward and (just about) graspable account of how it all began, and of the ramifications of this for the ways that the cosmos works now, and where it might all be going. As with other entries in this series, there’s enough here to make your investment in time worthwhile, while encouraging a more in-depth look also.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat, by Tim Spector (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2016)

A systematic debunking of popular canards about eating, weight loss, and food lifestyle. A persuasive, detailed, accessible, and comprehensive overview of the territory. Twin focuses become apparent: that gut bacteria diversity is important, and that First World tendencies towards processed, refined foodstuffs laced with antibiotics are problematic. Lots to think about here.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.