Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Fresh Sense of Wonder

Space Times, the magazine of the American Astronautical Society (AAS), which awarded WHTTWOT the 2009 Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award (Young Adult), has published a review that I thought was so terrific I'm reprinting the entire thing here. Continued thanks to the AAS for its support, this review, and
the cool plaque hanging on the wall over my left shoulder. Earning such nice recognition from a group like this is the best.

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? answers the
question--if it still needs to be asked--of whether a graphic novel can be as educational and entertaining as a standard book. Yes it can--perhaps it can do even more.

This is a book that can be enjoyed on a number of levels. There are some wonderfully sly and ironic asides that only a careful reader will spot. But mostly the book takes us on an enjoyable ride through the imagination of a young child from the 1930s onward. The personal tales show how America's love of space sciences and the promise of the future rose on lofty national dreams of a bright future where science cured all problems, only to be slowed by a mixture of cynicism and reality. Its examination of futures past is fascinating, especially to comapre them so closely side-by-side.

It would be a pessimistic finale, to look at how many of the dreams of prior decades did not happen, if not for the book's ending, which says something very important that few books for adults or youth ever capture--and certainly not as well as this book. In short, it shows how not reaching the dreams of the past is not always a bad thing, as long as they are replaced by newer, smarter, better dreams, based on new ideas, new experience, and a fresh sense of wonder.

We can't imagine a better time for young people to hear this inspiring message, and this book delivers it with grace and style.



Jim O'Kane said...

Brian, I think your book is one of the most inspiring books about the future for adults and for young people since the days of Mae and Ira Freemans' book "You Will Go to the Moon".

This is the first review of your book, I think, that doesn't use the word "exuberant" to describe the sweep of your narrative.

The AAS honored themselves in honoring your book this year, as it's a testament to their ability in recognizing literature that provokes the imagination and incites a deeper appreciation of space science.

Mike said...

Pretty cool. Having someone get it is good. Having them get it publicly is even moreso.

sligo said...

nice way to end the year, huh Brian?

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing this with us. It's so nice to see your work get the recognition it deserves!! Happy New Year!!!!!

ronnie said...

A well-deserved review that truly "gets it". Congratulations!