This short volume is packed full of facts about our nearest planetary neighbour. The author is a scientist who studied Maths and Astronomy at Warwick University and gained a PhD in Astronomy through Manchester University. He writes a popular science blog – www.thesciencegeek.org, recently renamed as www.explainingscience.org – which is well worth visiting for anyone interested in the planets and the solar system.
The book covers such topics as How Venus Appears as Seen from Earth, Its Early Depiction in Works of Science Fiction, and Its Reality as discovered by a series of exploratory craft. The Transit of Venus is given a chapter of its own. The author goes on to discuss the obstacles to living on Venus, how it might be terraformed, and its lack of a magnetic field and how that might be corrected.
Finally, there’s a comprehensive glossary, some addition data in the form of table and other facts from NASA, and a bibliography.
That the book was written by a mathematician is evident in the easy way he deals with the complex maths needed to explain aspects of the planet – much of it over my head, but I’m happy to accept his conclusions.
The book is well written, informative, entertaining and surprisingly easy to read. It’s an excellent resource for anyone interested in Venus, a planet associated with a mythical beauty. And it’s an essential guide for writers in the science fiction field. A good read.