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Each year, more families are considering Mars for their summer holidays. The old inconveniences associated with travel and accommodation on the exciting and scenic Red Planet are fading fast. The crisp, bracing climate, gauranteed year-round sunshine, and picturesque boulders make Mars worth a second look. It has something for everyone: a switched-on rock scene, miles of unspoiled wilderness. There's something going on 687 days a year. And forget every-thing you've heard about Martians. With the advent of democracy and the five market, they've left their old ways behind them, have beaten their ray guns into ploughshares once and for all. There aren't more colorful and simpatico hypothetical life forms anywhere in the galaxy.
witty spoof but full of facts, /5
I brought this after reading Bill Bryson's comments in the New York Times and had a good guffaw. The authors, who usually write very irreverant guides about Europe, give Mars the same treatment-it not only makes science fun, but it makes you want to go to Mars on the next rocket out. Even my 11 year old has picked it up and used it for her science project at school. Pics are great too--altogether a fun little book!
A tongue-in-cheek look at the ultimate tour destination, /5
Mike Pauls and Dana Facaros take time out from their "regular" Cadogan travel guides to present a light-hearted look at holidaying on Mars. The humorous approach - the authors note that with the advent of Pathfinder / Sojourner, "fly/drive" holidays on Mars are a possibility, and could cost as little as 86 cents a mile! - masks a book that puts across a lot of well-researched information on Mars in a typical "where-to-go-and-what-to-see" style. The book is worth the money just for the excellent "History of Mars" which takes a look at Mars from pre-history through to the space age in concise detail, covering a number of civilisations including the Babylonians, Chinese and...Germany!
Percival Lowell gets a mention, obviously, and the book is rounded out with a look at future missions to Mars and the idea of one day terraforming the planet for colonisation.
The humour is interwoven with the factual elements of the book to make it a pocket-sized joy to read. I particularly enjoyed the comments regarding Mars' role in Astrology, wherein the Authors note: "Concerning Mars in Taurus, the watchwords are steadiness and sincerity, along with athletic grace and all-round sexiness, like shirley MacLaine, Adolf Hilter and Josef Stalin", whereas Mars in Gemini, astrologers would have us believe, often gives expression through the voice (as with Barbra Streisand and Benito Mussolini)." So, if your looking for something to tickle your fancy, or want an easy little gift for yourself or anyone else remotely interested in Mars, you could do a lot worse than select this little treasure.
The Best Arm Chair Holiday Ever..., /5
I bought this book based on the first reviewer's comments, hoping that I, too, could have some laughs and learning about the Red Planet! A guide to Mars just seemed so over-the-top, I had to explore it!
When I received the book and read this comment on the back cover, I knew I was in for something wonderfully unique: "Each year, more and more modern families are considering Mars for their summer holidays. The old inconveniences associated with travel and accommodation on the exciting and scenic Red Planet are fading fast. Anyone who enjoys a crisp and bracing climate, guaranteed year-round sunshine, and picturesque boulders far for the madding crowds should look at Mars again." I was hooked! hahahaha I wanted to go to Mars!
The book is divided into seven intriguing sections, which inform as well as entertain:
1) Travel (A clever description on how to pack for and get to Mars, where the round-trip journey is about 309 million miles! Also, there is a quiet talk about passports, Visas, and other entry issues. )
2) Practical A-Z (Here are some important travel tidbits regarding best times to go, climate, the Martian calendar and events, sky-gazing, food and drink, the Martian entertainment and night life, where to stay, calling home, religion, sports... You know, all your typical travel highlights!)
3) Mars in the Night Sky (A clever look at retrograde motion and Mars curious celestial personality)
4) Touring the Planet (An insider's detailed look at Aerography, the study of Mars' surface features and landforms: the Martian Poles, Mare Australe, Promethei Rupes, Big Joe, Cydonia & The Face, Tharsis, Olympus Mons, Valles Marineris, Syrtis Major, and others. Don't forget your moon trips and climbers' tips!)
5) A History of Mars (Explore the Martian Genesis; Mars in Earth mythology, history, science, and astrology; the Canal Craze; Mars in Sci-Fi and Fantasy
6) The Space Age begins (Read all about "Early Mars Tourism" efforts! LOL :) Enjoy early missions to Mars and their results. Tiny debate: does the face on Mars look like Ted Kennedy? Only readers can decide! This section also includes speculations on Martian Colonies for the future!)
7) Marsology (In here, find a fantastic listing of books and other media
For a small book, there is a lot of info (and "dry" British humor) packed in the Cadogan Travellers' Guide to Mars. It is a refreshing read, and I believe it is well worth the price paid. The book is also an excellent resource for students who may have to study Mars science, history, and / or mythology. Makes a great primer for how to prepare for that BIG vacation of a lifetime!
Home-schooling parents and early college educators who wish to do unique, integrative studies mixing science, literature, mythology, humor, critical thinking, and creativity should take a look at what this book offers. People interested in colonizing and terra-forming Mars should read this book too! Celebrating imagination and innovation, this book offers its readers a fun journey that is both real in the context of its time and extraordinary.
As we learn more about Mars and as we continue to visit the planet with new technology, no doubt some of the facts / ideas in this book will begin to date themselves; however, that too will be quite funny--just as we now look at all those canal theories at the turn of the century and laugh! The best way to appreciate this book is to enjoy it for what it is...a clever travel parody that promotes further reading and discussion about the Red Planet and its many mysteries.
NOTE to those concerned: What you won't find in this book are the very recent Mars rover missions like Spirit and Opportunity or the upcoming Phoenix mission, slated for May 25, 2008. Readers who prefer a more serious, more in-depth "trip" / treatment to the Red Planet should investigate William K Hartmann's A Traveler's Guide to Mars or Planet Mars: Story of Another World (Springer Praxis Books / Popular Astronomy) by François Forget.
Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org