Archive for Chesley Bonnestell

Review: The Complete Book of Outer Space

Posted in 1953, 4:Stellar!, Review, Summary Review, The Complete Book of Outer Space with tags , , on October 19, 2009 by Aaron

Jeffrey Logan, editor

Well, I’ve pretty much said it all in each chapter as I delivered each in this blog, but this is just to deliver a final few thoughts overall.  This book brings back some nice memories for me.  The feeling I got while reading it is similar to the feelings I had when as a boy between about 5 – 10 years old I would browse the various volumes in the Time-Life series – the Life Science Library and the Life Nature Library.  We had these two series at home and I would sit for hours just flicking through looking at the pictures and reading what I could.  The illustrations and photographs in those books captured my imagination like not much else has since.  The Complete Book of Outer Space is delivered in much the same way.  Not-too-technical-nor-long articles accompanied by interesting and imaginative photos and pictures.

Much of it is very outdated now, but as I pointed out often in the brief intro to each chapter, it’s incredibly interesting from a historical perspective.  It takes us back to a time when sending man into space was still a goal, and the possibilities for the conquest of space seemed immediate and endless.

Here it is, all in one click or chapter by chapter:

The Complete Book of Outer Space – All 14 parts

Part 1 – Intro & The Development of the Spaceship
Part 2 – Station in Space
Part 3 – Space Medicine
Part 4 – Space Suits
Part 5 – The High Altitude Program
Part 6 – History of the Rocket Engine
Part 7 – Legal Aspects of Space Travel
Part 8 – Life Beyond Earth
Part 9 – Exploitation of the Moon
Part 10 – Interstellar Flight
Part 11 – The Spaceship in Science Fiction
Part 12 – A Plea for a Coordinated Space Program
Part 13 – The Flying Saucer Myth
Part 14 – The Experts

This work of non-fiction is an interesting accompaniment to the Gnome Press stable of Golden Age Science Fiction.  It provides a ‘hard’ backdrop to the creative fiction all around it – in some ways giving us a glimpse of the ‘pegs of reality’ on which the imagination of authors like Heinlein, Clarke and Asimov spent some time hanging.

It’s been an incredibly enjoyable and interesting way to deliver this book over the past 6 months and I’m sad it’s over.  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

Close Up: The Complete Book of Outer Space

Posted in 1953, Close Up with tags , , on March 10, 2009 by Aaron

closeupA very different book from the usual Gnome Press fare, but more detail on the content in the review sometime.  Physically different too.  As I indicated in the previous post, GP books are usually about a Demy Octavo size.  This book is the larger Crown Octavo.  Thank you for Wikipedia for this information.   At about 10×6 inches and 144 pages this is much taller and thinner than the other books in my library.  I knew the book was a little ragged around the edges when I bought it.  But it is quite a rare book and the content lends itself to more wear and tear than usual.  Lets have a look.

Nice, classic illustration on the cover.  Remember, this was intended to be a serious book with a little speculation thrown in.  These were the visions of spaceflight at that time.  You can probably see a little wear at the corners and a nasty chunk off at the top right.  More on that later.

The boards look good.  Clean, but with some  small dings at the ends of the spine.  Also one corner has had a noticeable bump.

Both the top and bottom of the book look ok.

A closer inspection of the ends of the spine shows a little damage, but not much.

However, the dust jacket is damaged as you can see.  Chipping, wear and closed tears.

The book is heavily illustrated with drawings, diagrams and photographs.  Check some of them out:

When I saw this book online, I noticed that the top right corner was damaged.  When I unwrapped the book this sizable chunk fell off:

Oh well, never mind.  I wish people would keep books in protective jackets.  I’ve put one on as you can see.  The table of contents is listed on the back.  Some stellar names from spacefilght and rocket history there.  The edges of the dust jacket are quite obviously worn.

Year: 1953
Paid: $36
Art: Chesley Bonnestell
Quantity: 3000 copies.
Binding: Yellow boards with red lettering on spine.
GP Edition Notes: 1st hardbound edition.  Previously published in magazine form by Maco Magazine Corp.
Comments: The jacket is a bit rough but another nice addition to my Gnome Press library.
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database