By Rod Pyle
Prometheus Books, $19.95, 291 pages
Until you read the subtitle, Curiosity remains a curious mystery. Rod Pyle’s book is all about the many missions to explore Mars, centered on the rover named Curiosity; however, it’s not clear whom the targeted readers were meant to be. This 300-page book is filled with a huge amount of information, though very little of it the average reader would be interested in to read the book cover to cover. It’s more like a history of Mars explorations, prepared for the files in fine details, many, many quotes, scores and scores of names and minute technical facts.
“The primary purpose of the mission is to search for environments on Mars that were once habitable.”
Unfortunately, you cannot just scan the text – unless you read everything, you don’t understand what the author is writing about. Pyle’s writing is good, but his style does not make for a page-turner. Often it’s unclear with unexplained acronyms, missing dates, technical jargon, too many names, too many meetings, tension among the scientists, engineers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and so on. Very few would be interested in such fine details regarding funding and related politics. The illustrations are medium-resolution, half-page or smaller black-and-white photos. There are twenty-two inbound color photos. What are missing are chapter summaries for readers who have a modest interest in the subject.
Reviewed by George Erdosh