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  'Too Far From Home' by Chris Jones

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Author Topic:   'Too Far From Home' by Chris Jones
Jay Gallentine
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From: Shorewood, MN, USA
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 02-11-2007 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just happened across the mention of Too Far From Home: A Story of Life and Death in Space by Chris Jones in Reader's Digest. It's about the three astronauts still up in the ISS after the Columbia disaster.

Anybody read this? Any good?

Thanks,
Jay Gallentine

Jim
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posted 03-18-2007 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim   Click Here to Email Jim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just got a copy of it on Friday from one of our local chain book stores. I've glanced through it but haven't started reading it in earnest yet. Looks interesting...

Jim

Gilbert
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From: Carrollton, GA USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 03-18-2007 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The book hit various bookstores in Georgia last week. Haven't read it yet, but it looks interesting.

Dwayne Day
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posted 03-19-2007 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From a quick skim that I did it looked interesting, but also rather padded. It's not like Dragonfly--I get the sense that the author did not do a lot of research on this book beyond his initial article. He just stretched what he had into a book.

WAWalsh
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From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
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posted 03-19-2007 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just picked up this book and have made it through the first 70 pages or so. At the start, it reads like it was written by someone who writes for Esquire. It is somewhat apparent that the guy is not a space enthusiast. The author somewhat mocks or criticizes N. Budarin for his toast at Christmas 2002. If I anticipate correctly what Budarin actually said, rather than the botched translation that Jones provides, Budarin was quoting Tsiolkovsky and repeating the famed "The Earth is the cradle of the mind" statement.

Jim
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posted 03-19-2007 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim   Click Here to Email Jim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by WAWalsh:
At the start, it reads like it was written by someone who writes for Esquire. It is somewhat apparent that the guy is not a space enthusiast.
I started this book yesterday and having just finished it, I wholeheartedly agree. The writing is a bit stiff in some places, a bit mocking in others. Overall it was an okay read -- but just okay. Definitely not up to most of the other books I've read about space exploration.

tegwilym
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From: Renton, WA USA
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posted 03-19-2007 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found a copy at Half Price Books a couple months ago - well before the official release. I'll agree that it was an "OK book" not great, but not horrible either. Some facts seemed a little strange.

Tom

kosmonavtka
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From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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posted 03-19-2007 09:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kosmonavtka     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From a review: He wrote an award-wining article for Esquire on how American astronauts Donald Pettit and Kenneth Bowersox and Russian engineer Nikolai Budarin were stranded on the International Space Station after their ride home -- the shuttle Columbia -- exploded on re-entry Feb. 1, 2003. With the remaining shuttles grounded, there seemed to be no way to retrieve them. (They eventually returned aboard a Russian space capsule.)

I guess accuracy is too much to hope for! The media seem to love the concept of astronauts being "stranded".

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-21-2007 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The New York Times has published a review:
Like air in a vacuum, the story told in "Too Far From Home" expands to fill the boundaries it has been given. But it has lost its tight focus and some of its verve. Mr. Jones's efforts to provide context for Expedition Six yield more generic, less compelling historical detail about both the American and Russian space programs, as well as occasionally inflated prose about the lyrical loneliness of an astronaut's mission.

WAWalsh
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From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
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posted 03-23-2007 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Continue to work through the book in moments of free time and continue to be a bit frustrated with it. His treatment of Don Pettit certainly makes me believe a long conversation with Pettit would be a great way to spend an evening. But there is so much needless filler and errors in the book to make it very annoying. Do we really need to perpetuate the fiction that the United States spent millions developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, while the Soviets just grapped a pencil. Jones's lyrical tangent about how one might die during an EVA was simply annoying. I might be wrong, but I doubt that Bowersox was worried that a peice of space junk was going to come whizzing at him and decapitate him, with Houston wondering what suddenly wrong on the bio-med feed from the space suit.

Dwayne Day
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posted 03-23-2007 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is unfortunate. It sounds to me like he wrote a decent article in Esquire and somebody said "you should turn that into a book." But rather than do the kind of real research that a book would require, he simply padded it out quickly with what he already knew or what he could gather from some web-surfing. To really do a good job, you have to immerse yourself in the subject and it sounds like he did not bother to do that.

Has anybody seen the original Esquire article? Was it any good?

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-24-2007 11:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dwayne Day:
Has anybody seen the original Esquire article? Was it any good?
I believe this is the original article. Other reviews...

From USA Today:

In Too Far From Home, Esquire writer Chris Jones crafts an impressive account of Expedition Six's travails and the heroics of its crew, Ken Bowersox, Don Pettit and Nikolai Budarin, who survived and even thrived during their stay in space.
And from The Globe and Mail:
It strikes a perfect balance between the ordinary business of living in space and the high adventure that occurs when things go wrong.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-25-2007 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Variety:
Universal Pictures has acquired "Too Far From Home," a Chris Jones book about three astronauts who were stranded on the Intl. Space Station for 100 days in 2003.

Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce with Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman.

All times are CT (US)

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