The book, Galactic Exploration, by Peter Cawdron, is a compilation of a few short stories that explores a couple of ideas behind mankind’s efforts to explore the cosmos beyond our little neck of the woods. And it does so in a fairly easy way to understand the scientific principles yet explained in a rather digestible fashion, without using tricky warp speeds or time travel. It’s real world, real tech, with real story premises based on real scientific conjecture. And it’s an interesting and yet pure pleasure to read!
Galactic Exploration is a compendium of different short stories. They’re all related, but can stand on their own if read separately.
The first story gets to the meat of space travel and is peppered with good, hard factual perspectives on space travel. It also introduces us vaguely to the technology that allows humans to make space flight to the far reaches of the galaxy possible at sub-light speeds. In other words, how mankind manages to man a space ship in transit, for hundreds of years.
Another story touches on what just might happen when we encounter an alien species.
As pointed out in the afterword, Stephen Hawking is noted to saying that we might want to stay quiet and not make too much noise in space, if our own history is any indicator. (AKA, discovering new lands and wiping out the local peoples.) Then again, the other side of the coin is presented in the afterword, talking about how it would not make sense for a species to come across hundreds of years of space just to smite us.
We’re shown again, how maybe humanity isn’t ready for being out there, with a precursor of a story that at first, makes no sense. But as the story develops, it makes perfect sense in how it fits into the scheme of the book.
And then there’s the tale of what happens when we don’t plan well enough or think we know what we’re doing.
All the shorts are wonderful reads by themselves, but compiled together and it makes a great little tale of guesses as to what humanity may do or encounter when we get into space. It was all a very plausible read as far as I’m concerned and incredibly entertaining.
Peter Cawdron has a wonderfully hopeful eye towards our future, with a great sense of scientific grounding to his story telling.
Galactic Exploration is a great telling, a warning or a banner that heralds what we’re capable of.