back to article The best mad scientist memoir of the year

The best mad scientist autobiography this year, perhaps the only one, is Tony Zuppero's To Inhabit the Solar System. Better still, it's free and in time for holiday reading. It's a long but definitely not windy 391 pages. In it, Zuppero confirms everything - bad, weird, insane, amusing or simply astonishing - you might have …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Neal Stephenson also had a go at the Orion concept

    in his most recent effort, Anathem, which even has a proper ending. A rather cheesy one that makes a point of breaking the fourth wall and moaning about people who criticise him for not doing proper endings, but a proper ending nonetheless.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    I will be medically incarcerated for the next 2 weeks (starting Thursday), so this will give me something to read.

    If it is as weird as you say, it will match the side effects of the drug treatments perfectly.

    Mine's the one with the pockets full of prescription steroids ( I have to take 20 x 2mg a time).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Yeh Rite Like?

    Using nuclear weapons to dig a newer, wider, better Panama canal.

    Who'd ah thunk it?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    It's hard to see how one can characterise a group that is wasting that amount of money on its military as "broke".

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Luckily he's Aspie then

    "Would it be possible to blow up the entire Soviet Union with a launch-to-arrival time of two minutes, so there could be no possibility of retaliation on warning?"

    I would have caved in the guy's head in the office with the paper weight in a heartbeat. And no remorse.

  6. James 47
    Thumb Up


    As title

  7. Mithvetr


    Call me pedantic, but a 'vomitorium' isn't 'somewhere you vomit', as implied in the article. It's an exit hall - a room designed to allow the rapid departure of a number of people from a venue, such as an arena. The act is named after the room, not the room after the act.

    Also, the plural is 'vomitoria'.

    Okay, I'm going, I'm going...

  8. Pan Narrans

    Nuclear Lotto

    I remember way back when I was a young man (the nineties) there was a fuss down here in little old NZ about a US missle test that could hit us. A comedy show called it Nuclear Lotto - the game where you wake up in the middle of the night and exclaim "what the f**k was that?!?"

  9. CuriousYellow


    Program about the Orion Rocket on BBC four just now. [ends Sunday 23:00].

  10. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Yeh Rite Like?

    Ah yes, one of the "Ploughshare" projects or "what civilian purposes can we apply our enormous pile of nukes to?".

    I saw a programme on this a while back, included that they'd tested this idea (dig line of holes, insert nuclear weapons, detonate, instant canal) in Alaska.

    The test showed up a serious drawback, the canal created had significant levels of radioactive contamination. Who could possibly have seen that one coming eh?

  11. Fluffykins Silver badge

    @ Ian Emery

    Good luck old chap and may you have a swift return to what passes for normality these days.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    ... and I thought *I* was a geek...

    Hmmmmm....... Clearly the world is right about IT types...

    "Best mad scientist memoir of the year" goes unchallenged...

    Despite the fact that it is apparently up against some fairly stiff competition (so to speak).

    {It's only the Guardian... assuming you count that as "safe for work"...}

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Anonymous Coward

    'Using nuclear weapons to dig a newer, wider, better Panama canal.

    'Who'd ah thunk it?'

    The answer to these sorts of question is always Edward Teller; a man always one secret volcano lair away from certifiable Bond villain.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    why is this bad ?

    And dropping on a nuke on middle earth is bad why ?

  15. Luther Blissett

    Flatlining at Heaven's Gate

    One cannot help feel a twinge of sympathy for someone who so desperately wants to leave the solar system on the business end of a nuke - even buddhists prefer to hang around before they attain annihilation. Yet one senses that NASA, extra-terrestrially thirsty for the H2O, hasn't abandoned hope. That can only mean (a) a bigger budget, and/or (b) a better religion (= more faith). Or perhaps, mindful of Coleridge, we should ask: what albatross might NASA be carrying?

  16. TJ 1
    Thumb Up

    Truly fantastic absorbing read

    Incredibly raw draft material at times gives an unique and genuinely stunning insight into the mind-set of someone who dared to believe in the dream and has the passion to chase it.

    The story itself and the way Tony tells it really does stir the excitement of space exploration that I thought had been lost in the noise of popular science-fiction, thanks to Star Trek et al.

    Amazing to find out that some of the core technology required for the IceShip and nuclear steam-ship propulsion has been around and tested since the 1960s.

    The chapter on Epochal events is unnerving in many ways but explains much of what our technological age has been noticing as skill-sets become obsolete in less than a career-span.

    Definitely one to read if you want your imagination fired. Highly recommended.

  17. dreamingspire
    Thumb Up

    Now we know...

    ... what Dyson vacuum cleaners are really for. Cluster enough of them together and they will obviously go critical and take us into space. (I too saw the BBC4 prog, which emphasises that you need to build a big ship to make it work without killing the passengers.)

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like