Step to the Stars is a juvenile science fiction novel about the construction of the first space station. This is hard science fiction, using the best technological ideas of 1954 to tell an adventure story of man’s exploration of space. Step to the Stars was followed by two sequels: Mission to the Moon and Moon of Mutiny....
|Title||:||step to the stars|
|Number of Pages||:||475 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
step to the stars Reviews
Serena bought this library-discard at a thrift store to use the cover on a handmade journal. (It looks great, by the way.) The first paragraph hooked me, and not having read any scifi this old before, I'm gonna read it, even though the cover is cut off.
Thoughts while reading:It is interesting that the author postulates the United States wants to put another space station into orbit, but have it orbit at 22,000 miles in geosynchronous orbit so that it can be used to transmit television signals to cover the entire hemisphere [as 'current' TV signals only have a distance of 100 miles] (146). It is amusing that the author thought of using a space station for such a purpose, but did not consider a satellite [which would be smaller and cheaper to put into orbit] for the same purpose.I thought it was funny that the author references pundits and armchair generals [my words, not his] complaining that money was wasted on the space station instead of being spent 'wisely' on 'more battleships and planes' (146). Really? After World War II showed the dominance of air power in conjunction with aircraft carriers and how air power was the death knell of battleships? That seemed like a very odd comment to make, considering even recent history showed that battleships no longer reigned supreme on the high seas.------------------------------------------------This was an interesting book. I did enjoy it more than I thought I might, but it did seem to drag in some places toward the middle of the book. I was pleasantly surprised that some female characters did appear in the book [one, a nurse, featured fairly prominently throughout the course of the book]. The last few books in this 'series' [released by the John C. Winston Company] have either not had any female characters or they were briefly mentioned in passing. Overall, it was an interesting story about a space station being built by the United States [at first in secrecy, but then openly once its existence was revealed to the world by a spy]. The Combine stood in for the Communists, and the European Alliance stood in for NATO. You have your usual problems that have to be solved by the Bright Young Star [Jim Stanley, in this case] and nobody else. There is the obligatory sabotage that slows production. A Popular Character has to die. The BYS has to undergo some tests and trials before he 'becomes a man' and grabs hold of the responsibilities thrust upon him in order to ensure the day is saved. There are changes in management that slow the project down before ensuring it is completed in a timely manner. (view spoiler)[There is the saving of one's enemy to help bring about peace amongst mankind. (hide spoiler)]I was surprised at how the "Love Interest" for young Jim was developed. Nora Prescott (view spoiler)[ was described as not "beautiful, though she was easy enough to look at. She was smaller than Jim, and too thin for beauty....Her nose was too short, her upper lip a bit too long, and it was hard to tell whether her eyes were green or blue" (49-50). At least she(hide spoiler)] had her smile going for her! As the story progresses, we discover a few more things about her(view spoiler)[, such as she is quite intelligent, rather courageous, and learns how to drive the taxi as well as Jim (hide spoiler)]. In fact, she is considered the 'other half' of Jim's 'team' when Jim is offered a new position at the end of the story (view spoiler)[as chief pilot of the team going to the Moon (hide spoiler)]. About halfway through the book, Jim is sent back Earthside and discovers how much he misses Nora while he's there. I am sure if this story were rewritten today, it would be filled with all sorts of angst and emotions as well as 'other stuff' to describe their relationship [even though both of them are in their twenties] [based on other 'young adult' novels I have read], so I rather enjoyed this one because of the lack of angst and emotion-laden turmoil. They developed into their relationship, and it had a healthy foundation of mutual respect and friendship as opposed to base lust. I was glad to 'see' the relationship develop, considering the back-handed compliments the author initially gave Nora. Obviously, the ending was broadcast a mile away, but there was still a level of anticipation to see how it ended. I thought the author did a good job of maintaining the tension throughout the last few chapters of the book. It is nothing 'deep' or whathaveyou, but the author still did a good job.I thought the author did a decent job developing Jim Stanley's character over the course of the novel. He was already quite smart before going into space. He just had to finish 'growing up' while orbiting 18,000 miles above the Earth. I realize I am not quite saying as much about Jim as I did about Nora, but that is okay. To say too much about Jim might spoil the story for future readers. (view spoiler)[We do know that he is an orphan, that he has some money from his parents passing away. He has been working hard on a college degree, and some of his professors recommend him to the government to be a part of the construction crew working on the space station. He has a lot of general knowledge because of his education as well as the various odd jobs he has worked to try and earn money. He has to learn how to interact with people in order to finish growing up, and his boss Jonas uses the animosity Jim shows Jonas to help ensure the construction of the space station will be completed on time. (hide spoiler)]One other thing that I liked: (view spoiler)[I did like how the Americans were more than ready to rescue the Combine astronauts who suffered a mishap when their atomic-powered rocked exploded while in orbit. They managed to rescue all three crew members, one of whom was the Communist Premier's son! Of course, this helps settle some things down on the Earth, as the Communists stop accusing the Americans of trying to militarize outer space and hold the rest of the Earth as hostage. I also liked how the Peter Chiam [the Premier's son] names his twin boys James and Mark. It was a nice touch, even if a bit cliche. I also thought it was interesting that the author had the Communists further ahead, in some respects, in terms of utilizing atomic power. The Communists build a rocket that is totally atomic-powered. It works beautifully, until it explodes in orbit. However, if they had not been off in their calculations it would have put them well ahead of the Americans in some respects in the space race. (hide spoiler)]It was a fun book to read, and I am glad I read it.
I read a discarded library copy of this book. The story is clearly obsolete, but shows the wonder of a time when exploring space was merely a developing dream. It's practical, yet also full of hope for the future. The Combine, a mysterious alliance or nation, serves as the antagonist in the story. However, the people of the Combine are also human! I like how the author cleverly avoids revealing where these Combine people live or what race they are.If you enjoyed this book and would like a similar one with more modern circumstances, I recommend Paul Bussard's Beyond Hercules.
Written in 1966 this was SiFi then but most of the story today would be real science. Great work by a master of SiFi. This is an excellent book for a young reader to start reading SiFi. Recommended