By Otto Willi Gail
Apogee Books, $12.95, 216 pages
Otto Willi Gail’s book By Rocket to the Moon (1931) harkens back to the days of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet. Gail was a science journalist and writer who studied electro-engineering and physics and inspired by the science of his day sought to advocate for space travel. Gail sadly died in 1956 more than ten years before we put men on the moon. This book is one of several Gail’s science fiction book that he wrote about space travel which were translated from German.
Though mostly for kids, Gail created some intriguing characters like Michigan journalist Tommy Bighead, a castaway and engineer Hans Hardt. They are together on this exciting and sometimes profound journey to the moon. One will find here some big ideas of the day. The result is sometimes mystical, but inspiring. This is a fun trip not just for kids, but also for parents who will read it to children if necessary. One is also in for a treat from included black and white drawings by R. von Crunberg. Strangely one will find typos in the work, but the story is engaging anyway.
Reviewed by Ryder Miller