Buzz Aldrin’s in the news again, opening a new institute at Florida Tech to promote the settlement of Mars through research. I posted on his science fiction novel aimed at inspiring space travel once before. I thought it would be fun to look at it again.
Encounter with Tiber is a hard science fiction story for fans of space travel and colonization. It’s a long book with two related stories framed by a future historian’s voyage to the planet Tiber. The book loves technology and will interrupt the action to indulge, so you must concentrate on your reading – so maybe it’s not the best beach book.
The First Story
One story starts with an alternative history of the end of the shuttle program and continues into the very near future with explorations of the Moon and Mars. Thick with detailed descriptions of technology, it includes Aldrin’s real-life proposals, like the Mars to Earth cycler spacecraft.
The Second Story
Another story tells of very-human aliens who came to Earth in the past, seeking a new home for their doomed race. Also full of scientific details, you’ll get a feel for what it’s like in space.
The politics of space appear in both stories – and “political pressure leads to poor decisions and tragedy”. Since Aldrin was a NASA astronaut (yes, he is that Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon), it makes me wonder what real-life events led him here. It’s not very encouraging for anyone who wants to land people on Mars. But politics exist in private companies too, so I don’t think we’ll ever escape it.
Is This Book For You?
If you are not a hard science fiction/space fiction fan, you’ll find this book tedious. If you love the details a space insider can provide, you’ll be fascinated.