Book reviews: New reads rated
A Galaxy Of Her Own: Amazing Stories Of Women In Space by Libby Jackson is published in hardback by Century, priced 16.99 (ebook £9.99). Available now
THE name Ellie Foraker may not sound familiar to many, but she, along with three other women, played a key role in Nasa's Moon mission. Foraker, Madeleine Ivory, Bert Pilkenton and Cecil Webb, were among the expert seamstresses who designed and made the suits astronauts wore during their lunar missions. A Galaxy Of Her Own is all about the contributions women have made to advance scientific knowledge - from mathematicians Ada Lovelace and Katherine Johnson, to geologist Frances Westall and aerospace engineer Anita Sengupta. Author Libby Jackson, who is an astronaut flight programme manager for the UK space agency, writes: "There are some common themes that run through the stories in this book. The women, regardless of the period they were living in, refused to be limited by any barriers that society tried to place upon them, and wouldn't listen to anyone suggesting that they couldn't or shouldn't strive to fulfill otherwise." The book is about 50 remarkable women who changed the world and will suitably inspire trailblazers of all ages, and hopefully those to come.
Artemis by Andy Weir is published in hardback by Ebury, priced £12.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now
After The Martian – Andy Weir's smash hit, Matt Damon-attracting, mega blockbuster of a book – which was genuinely laugh out loud funny (a rare thing), wickedly smart and, despite being set on Mars, relatable and rational, Artemis struggles to compete.
Artemis is the Moon's first city, largely dependent on tourists who jump into moon-proof zorb balls to explore the terrain, and it's home to Jazz Bashara, a canny and resourceful delivery girl with a side-line in smuggling.
When a shifty series of circumstances and murders threaten the safety and future of Artemis, she shambolically embarks on rescuing it.
The thing is, despite Jazz's pragmatic character, and Weir trying to ground the far-flung in science, the plot just doesn't hold.
Jazz is a fairly convincing heroine (she's independent and infuriating, she's not talking to her dad, has a string of terrible boyfriends, and likes a drink more than most), but it all goes a bit mafia-meets-Bond before being tied up so neatly you're left thinking, 'Huh?! Is that it?'
It's still a fair amount of fun, but if The Martian had you utterly hooked, expect your attention to stray from Artemis.