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Space colonies (A CoEvolution Book Published by the Whole Earth Catalog) Paperback – 1 Jan 1977

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa0de59b4) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ef2335c) out of 5 stars Important historical document 21 Jan. 2006
By Kev - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is perhaps the only balanced book on the topic of space colonies ever written. Stewart Brand, editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, was smitten with Gerard K. O'Neill's 1974 proposal to build gigantic orbiting space habitats. But rather than write another sales piece as O'Neill and others had done, Brand solicited commentary in the pages of of The Whole Earth News. Sure, the book gives O'Neill plenty of space to make his case, including the text of his congressional testimony on the subject. But it also pulls together 3 years of responses, invited and not, from the likes of architects Buckminster Fuller and Paolo Soleri; astronaut Russell Scweickart; astronomer Carl Sagan; biologists Lynn Margulis, John Todd, George Wald and Peter Walshall; poet Wendell Berry and many others. Over half of the invited authors were critical of O'Neill's proposal. The debate between educator John Holt and T.A. Heppenheimer (author of Colonies in Space) runs nine 1200-word pages (out of 155 total) and is worth the purchase price in its own right. That Brand, an unabashed space colony fan, was able to bring so many high-caliber critics (and advocates) together in one volume is an amazing achievement. Read it for penetrating insight into one of the central divides in our culture.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ef5d1e0) out of 5 stars Fascinating record of an alternate history 26 Nov. 2006
By Paul Sas - Published on
Format: Paperback
Published in 1977, this compiles the dialog that was carried out in the pages of the Coevolution Quarterly, and documents Brand's unique style of facilitating constructive conversations. I looked over this to see an instance of his capacious enthusiasm at work, and it is curious that in this case, the path ran dry. I think John Holt, the advocate of unschooling, does an excellent job of posing some of the serious engineering challenges that were handwaved away. One great quote, from Wendell Berry, which Brand echoes back to him in a series of letters they published: "Humans are destructive in proportion to their supposition of abundance; if they are faced with an infinite abundance, they will become infinitely destructive." (p84)
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