Rod Pyle’s new ‘Interplanetary Robots’ likely will please many space geeks, plus casual readers – #bookreview

Award-winning science writer Rod Pyle’s new book, Interplanetary Robots: True Stories of Space Exploration, shows how far we have come — and gone — by sending unmanned exploration probes into space during the past 60+ years.

Pyle provides intriguing and entertaining looks at many of the successful space probes launched to our solar system’s planets and beyond, by the United States, Russia, China, Japan and other nations. He also covers some of the missions that failed and some of the planned missions that never left the drawing board, because they were simply too ambitious for the technology available at the time.

The author also looks ahead to possible future missions now in development, including new landers and rovers for the Moon and Mars, plus new probes that will explore Jupiter’s icy moons and some asteroids. The long-awaited launch and deployment of the huge James Webb Space Telescope also is discussed.

In this book, Rod Pyle’s writing is clear, often wry, and sometimes geekily funny. Some of his other books include Amazing Stories of the Space Age and Space 2.0.

Click on the book titles for more information.

Interplanetary Robots: True Stories of Space Exploration
Rod Pyle
Prometheus Books

Si Dunn

(Note: Prometheus Books sent me an advance reading copy to evaluate. This is not a paid review, but I can earn a tiny commission from Amazon if you buy a book through the links on this site. It will not affect the price you pay on Amazon.)

Going beyond spreadsheets with R and RStudio – #bookreview

Beyond Spreadsheets with R

A beginner’s guide to R and RStudio
Jonathan Carroll
Manning Books

Jonathan Carroll’s Beyond Spreadsheets with R gives R beginners good introductions to both the R statistical computing environment and RStudio, a popular integrated development environment (IDE) for R.

Some newcomers to R and RStudio, however, may wish this book focused right away on how to download and run both packages, instead of spending the first few pages justifying and explaining R and RStudio. After that slow start, however, the author offers well-structured, approachable, and helpful chapters on how to use the packages.

If you already know how to work with R and RStudio but run them infrequently and can’t remember some of the commands or procedures, Beyond Spreadsheets with R can be a useful refresher and reference guide, as well.


‘The Book Artist’ is Mark Pryor’s eighth Hugo Marston mystery – #bookreview

The Book Artist,” the eighth book in Mark Pryor’s Hugo Marston mystery series, is entertaining, absorbing–and paced a bit slower than some detective/police procedurals. That’s because it offers readers a nice mixture of Paris atmosphere and American diplomats and others living, working and partying in Paris.

The novel’s law-enforcement angles also require some slower pacing. The main character, Hugo Marston, chief of the security for the U.S. Embassy in Paris, must work within a narrow legal framework (that he sometimes oversteps) while interacting with Paris police and other French agencies.

In “The Book Artist,” a sculptor is murdered, and French police arrest an American suspect who has close connections to Hugo. He is convinced she isn’t the killer. But her DNA has been found on the victim’s body, and the Paris police say they have other evidence that can bring a murder conviction.

Marston must unmask the real killer before his American friend disappears into the French legal system’s labyrinth.

The Book Artist

Mark Pryor

Seventh Street Books