Cover Image: Space Oddities

Space Oddities

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Member Reviews

This book is pitched, by its joyous cover, as a lighthearted collection of NASA anecdotes. In fact, it gets quite philosophical in some moments. A fun read, covering the glory years of the Space Administration. (Anything with Tang in it, has to be good? 😆)
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I read this as an ARC from Netgalley.com.

Space Oddities by Jow Cuhaj is comprised of a collection of stories about human's exploits in (and trying to get to) space. I enjoyed reading this book, and I think Cuhaj really strived to humanize the people we grew up hearing about with tales of their practical jokes, musical wake up calls, and lucky peanuts. 

Not every story is a happy one, but I think that just makes it all the more important to memorialize the people and animals that sacrificed in the pursuit of knowledge. All in all, I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in space, as it's a quick and pleasant read.
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If you read a lot of books about space exploration, you may know about payload, the Gemini missions or even how astronauts go to the bathroom (thank you, Chris Hadfield!). But did you know about that time when someone pulled a Thanksgiving prank that nearly caused a meltdown? Or how the Russians planned to detonate a nuclear bomb to prove they’d reach the moon? These are just two of the many, many fun details included in this book. Yes, Kennedy is included, with his magnificent speech about getting a man to the moon and back, but there are also the small stories that make up the History. This book made me laugh, cringe and almost cry. Big trigger warning: chapter 3 will be very painful for animal lovers. These are anecdotes more than science, which is fine by me. This is a truly enjoyable read for anyone even remotely curious about space. 
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, #NetGalley/#Rowman & Littlefield, Prometheus!
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This is a great read for fans of history, space travel and space exploration. It did repeat a few stories from time to time.  Overall, a fun, engaging book.
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This was an entertaining read consisting of a collection of stories about space. It goes into science, history, and even has some pretty funny stories about pranking astronauts. Overall, it was a very satisfying and quick read. I would recommend this to anyone interested in space!
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Thank you netgalley and the publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I originally requested this because of the title... made me think of David bowie. Lol. Anyway, it's interesting, I learned things I never knew. Not boring.
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An interesting collection of stories concerning mankind's quest to go to space.  The author tells us background stories and anecdotes from both the American and Soviet side of the space race.  Most people know the general big picture story of this rivalry, but this book goes into details such as the animals who were sent into space, often sacrificing their lives for the advancement of science.  There's tales of practical jokes astronauts played with each other. There's discussion about the civil rights and gender rights movements and their impact on NASA.  Overall, for someone who has an interest in mankind's space travels, this book is a good, quick read.
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I enjoyed this book. I found it well-written with great stories. There was some humor and I loved the author’s tone. There are politics, history and some science in the book. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone interested in space. Thank you to Netgalley and  Rowman & Littlefield, Prometheus for the advance reader copy.
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(3.25/5) When I saw this book, I immediately thought of Marcia Belsky's classic song "Proof that NASA Doesn't Know Anything About Women" which has a bad habit of randomly getting stuck in my head

"Remember when NASA sent
a woman to space for
only six days
and they gave her
One hundred tampons.
One hundred tampons,
and they asked "will that be enough?"

Sadly, this tidbit of information was not included in the book (although I think Cuhaj would find it hard to surpass Belsky's presentation). Overall, I thought the book was interesting, if a bit repetitive at some points with a couple anecdotes told more than once. I learned a lot and it was the right level of seriousness. I think it covered a mix of funny, thought-provoking, and tragic (still sad about Laika). I wouldn't say that it produces anything new/groundbreaking that you wouldn't know if you were a big NASA/space nerd, but as someone who is generally interested but doesn't take family vacations to Cape Canaveral I thought it was very on the level. A good non-fiction read!
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Space Oddities was a fun book to read. Even if you're familiar with the stories, the author manages to highlight an obscure fact, use a great quote, or offer a new perspective. He ties it all together by strking just the right tone and providing a great deal of information for a very readable narrative. 

The book follows a fairly linear timeline, beginning with the first Chinese fire arrow before introducing the reader to 20th century (manned) rocket development with the work of Max Valier and subsequently Wernher von Braun. Many, if not all, stories include an international perspective, not limited to the US alone. 

Serious topics include the use of animals in launch tests, malfunctions, the integration of women and minorities, and international politics; however, these are appropriately balanced with humorous tales of wake up music, practical jokes, and sex in space.

This is not a technical history and Cuhaj does a fine job bringing out the human element. I appreciated that the author deliberately pointed out that the impressive Women in Space program (nicknamed Mercury 13) was a privately funded venture and not a government/NASA sanctioned project. Animal lovers may find it difficult to read about the sad, though necessary, use of animals. 

Overall, there is something for everyone who thinks they "know it all" about the space race. I highly recommend this book.
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I appreciate the publisher allowing me to read this book. I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot.
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Space Oddities by Joe Cuhaj was received directly from the publisher and I chose to review it.  Since my days as a wee lad I have been interested in space, "the final frontier."  This book shares many different true stories about the space program, most are known, some maybe not,  such as the earliest known person to die due to the space program.  Depending on your age, you may remember the space race between the US and the USSR,  this book expounds on that with a military man leaking secrets to the Soviets regarding US rockets and how the USSR failed to beat the US to the moon.  The author also tells of musical playlists, Space pens (as seen on TV) and Tang (again, as seen on TV).  If you or someone you buy gifts for is interested in the mostly defunct Space Program, give this book a read.

4 Stars
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I was really looking forward to reading “Space Oddities: Forgotten Stories of Mankind's Exploration of Space” by Joe Cuhaj, since I (like many) have been fascinated with our exploration of space; the science, engineering, and even politics of “putting a man on the moon” and all that has followed since.

And Mr. Cuhaj delivers some interesting stories and perspectives from the people who lived through this exciting time.  We learn about the successes and failures (on both sides of the cold war) mostly from the early years but also what has happened since.  From the first rockets failing in spectacular fashion, to the animals that were sacrificed for science, to the first humans who followed, culminating in Apollo 11 in 1969:  Mr. Cuhaj tells us the forgotten histories (Laika!) and captures the competition that drove the US and the USSR to take risks to prove the superiority of their political systems.  We also hear about the forgotten contributors who had to overcome great obstacles due to treatment of their race or gender to still triumph and make a significant contribution to the successes we achieved.  Once the race was finished, we hear about the results:  the pranks, the defunding and changes of direction, even the commercialization of space that we see today.

I found this book to be interesting, but maybe a bit disappointing in that nothing was tremendously revealing, breathtaking, or truly hidden, most of these stories were available to anyone interested in space before this collection.  But still a pleasant way to recollect what the history of exploring the unknown involved in our recent past.

I requested and received a free advanced electronic copy from Rowman & Littlefield, Prometheus via NetGalley. Thank you!
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Thank you to Rowman and Littlefield as well as NetGalley for an e-ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Space holds me captive, and gazing out to the skies, knowing that others have done so for centuries is something that never gets old.  This book does a wonderful job of bringing stories of every kind to life.  There is trivia, humor, history and information...all put together in one book.  I adored this book, and I highly recommend it for any age.
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I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a great book!

More in depth than I expected this book spans a lot of the American experience of space exploration. The book shares stories from the international space race, the role of civil rights in getting Americans into space, and other small details about space I hadn't heard before. 

There's a lot of different stories and the writing approaches each in a way that isn't too technical and is enjoyable to read. It was fun to learn more about behind the scenes of how these stories shaped the knowledge of the universe that we have today.
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🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀Publication date: August 1, 2022 🛸🛸🛸🛸🛸

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own and may be affected by the fact that it is snowy, windy and cold outside and I have nothing better to do than read three or more books a day??.

Nothing captivates the human imagination like the vast unknowns of space. Ancient petroglyphs present renderings of the heavens, proof that we have been gazing up at the stars with wonder for thousands of years. Since then, mankind has systematically expanded our cosmic possibilities. What were once flights of fancy and dreams of science fiction writers have become nearly routine – a continuous human presence orbiting the Earth, probes flying beyond our solar system, and men walking on the moon. NASA and the Russian space program make travelling to the stars look easy, but it has been far from that. Space travel is a sometimes heroic, sometimes humorous, and always dangerous journey fraught with perils around every corner that most of us have never heard of or have long since forgotten.

Space Oddities brings these unknown, offbeat, and obscure stories of space to life. From the showmanship and bravado of the earliest known space fatality, German Max Valier, to the first-ever indictment under the Espionage Act on an Army officer who leaked secrets concerning the development of early U.S. rockets; and the story of a single loose bolt that defeated the Soviet Union’s attempt to beat America to the moon.

Author Joe Cuhaj also sheds light on the human aspects of space travel that have remained industry secrets – until now: how the tradition of using a musical playlist to wake astronauts up began, fascinating tales about inventions like the Fischer Space Pen, Omega watches, and even Tang breakfast drink.

In addition to fun and entertaining space trivia, Space Oddities also features stories of the profound impact that space travel has had on challenges right here at home, like the effort by civil rights leaders and activists in the 1960s to bring the money from the space program back home to those in need on Earth; NASA’s FLATs (First Lady Astronaut Training) program and the 13 women who were selected to become astronauts in 1960, but were denied a chance at flying even after successfully completing the rigorous astronaut training program; and, the animals who many times sacrificed their lives to prove that man could fly in space.

Filled with rare and little-known stories, Space Oddities will bring the final frontier to the homes of diehard space readers and armchair astronauts alike.

I am not a huge fan of science fiction which is weird as my favourite way to spend a rainy day is to binge-watch "The Martian", "Interstellar" and "Passengers" (with Jennifer Lawrence, not the Anne Hathaway one..I have seen them all at least 100 times...#guiltyconfession ... and the music in "Interstellar" makes me weep). That aside, this was a really interesting read: I just finished "All Families are Psychotic" and learned from that book that all astronauts are tiny so I don't need to worry about being recruited as that, along with a fear of heights would keep me glued to the ground.

If you have an outer space fan this is a perfect book for them to read: it is chock-full of interesting stories and trivia that will keep you happy for months. The fisher space pen even made it to "Seinfeld" as I remember the pen that can write upside down! I feel weird reading and reviewing a book that comes out in 8.5 months so I guess that I am preggers with a great read that I will recommend to patrons, friends, and family alike.
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