Already a renowned chronicler of the epic events of world history, James A. Michener tackles the most ambitious subject of his career: space, the last great frontier. This astounding novel brings to life the dreams and daring of countless men and women--people like Stanley Mott, the engineer whose irrepressible drive for knowledge places him at the center of the American exploration effort; Norman Grant, the war hero and U.S. senator who takes his personal battle not only to a nation, but to the heavens; Dieter Kolff, a German rocket scientist who once worked for the Nazis; Randy Claggett, the astronaut who meets his destiny on a mission to the far side of the moon; and Cynthia Rhee, the reporter whose determined crusade brings their story to a breathless world. Praise for Space "A master storyteller . . . Michener, by any standards, is a phenomenon. Space is one of his best books."--The Wall Street Journal "A novel of very high adventure . . . a sympathetic, historically sound treatment of an important human endeavor that someday could be the stuff of myth, told here with gripping effect."--The New York Times Book Review "Space is everything that Michener fans have come to expect. Without question, the space program's dramatic dimensions provide the stuff of great fiction."--BusinessWeek "Michener is eloquent in describing the actual flights into space, as well as the blazing, apocalyptic re-entry of the shuttle into earth's atmosphere."--The New York Times From the Paperback edition.
My mistake! Space was surprisingly dull, and not at all well-written. Simply put, it plodded. It's a fictionalized story of the space program, with some references to some actual astronauts thrown in - plus a fictionalized US state, which was one of two things which stuck in my memory from the book.
The other thing was a rather nasty assessment of golden age science fiction writers, all of whom (I'm sorry to say) were more talented writers than Mr. Michener.
Space had the feel of one of those potboilers that sits on the New York Times best-seller list for many weeks...something written for the lowest common denominator. It wasn't awful, mind you, just dull and awkward. Shogun, which I'd put in the same general class of "giant best-sellers" is far better written than Space.
I wonder what Michener would have thought of some of his more disturbing story elements coming true. The country heading backward into the dark ages, science losing to ignorance, NASA becoming inconsequential...sad.