Jed Mercurio
Ascent Cover



Connects a single character with several historical Soviet air incidents, then adds one more - a last minute lunar launch to try and beat Apollo 11. Very technical, yet fictional - probably not everyone's cup of tea.

The main character is driven, highly intelligent, possesses great eyesight, but hampered in social situations - which is a description many have used for Ted Williams. The orphanage scenes that molded this character are tough to read, if brief. In the remainder of his flight career, highly detailed scenes show his piloting success. They also contains frequent cameos of future astronauts and famous pilots - Terrible Ted among them. In this respect, the author has definitely done his homework.

I don't recall how this ended up on my want-to-read list. I found the book between then and now at a used book sale, remaindered from a library in Akron Ohio. Many other reviews mention the author's work as a screenwriter, but I am unfamiliar with those shows.

The book is technical, described by many as a "boy's book". The accuracy of those facts drew me in, much like other fiction and non-fiction books and biographies of the space race. The idea of the Soviets rushing launches to stay ahead of the Americans is also familiar, and works well here. On the negative side, the characters are 2D and the prose is dry at times. There is a certain poetry in descriptions of the environment, though... overall rating, 3 stars.