The Return by Buzz Aldrin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Scott Blackstone comes from a family of aerospace pioneers. HIs family owned one of the largest suppliers to NASA. HIs brother Nick, at (Republic Wright) continues the tradition, while Scott has worked on starting a company called Sharespace, where they buy seats from a company, ASU, that has access to the empty berths on the space shuttle, and sells them to civilians. Only a few have gone up, and the latest one to buy a seat is Michael James – a beloved and a legendary basketball star with a childhood passion for all things space. They are certain that his likability, but also his knack for being articulate, yet relatable, will make him the perfect candidate to increase business.
1969 is the year the Mars Four, 4 friends – Scott, Rick, Eddie Killeret (CEO of the Republic rival Curtis), and Scott’s now ex wife, but then childhood friend for summers at the beach, Thalia, now a lawyer. That summer was the launch of one of the space missions and they decide to form a group, called the Mars Four, and meet again, on the same beach in 50 years, and see where they have gotten on the quest for Mars. They are certain it can be done. But space moves slowly, and by about 20-30 years later, they hadn’t gotten much further. Such childhood things were forgotten and pushed to the back of the mind, and life gets in the way.
But then the unthinkable happens – a tragedy occurs when the space shuttle with Michael James runs into trouble, and Scott, along with other aerospace companies, is being sued – Scott, for allowing Michael to go up, knowing the dangers, and not making Michael properly aware of them. But Scott knows that Michael was fully aware of the dangers involved, both because of his passion for the program, and from his briefings. But as Scott tries to find a lawyer, he can’t – no one will take his case. He is being blackballed from the industry. The James family has hired a slimy lawyer representing MJ’s mother, and it seems that there are deep pockets somewhere, buying up all the talent in town as “expert consultants.” Somebody wants Scott out of business. Then comes the startling results from the investigation into the tragedy and how it happened. Scott and his family, and now his ex-wife, taking on his case for him, try to fight back, and find out who is behind all this and why. A good solid look at the aerospace industry, how it works, and an interesting plot. The characters aren’t well-developed, but they are good people, and you want to root for them. And Buzz Aldrin provides an insider’s view.
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