Emily LakdawallaOct 23, 2013

Book review: LEGO Space: Building the Future

Oh my gosh you guys, this book is so great. I cannot imagine how many hours of happy building went into the development of the various LEGO ships and space bases included in this book, but I wish I could have participated. I give you LEGO Space: Building the Future.

LEGO Space: Building the Future
LEGO Space: Building the Future Available from No Starch Press.

The book is a science fiction tale of human exploration of the solar system and then (inevitably) run-ins with evil masterminds and alien life forms. It begins auspiciously enough with a brief treatment of the space exploration history that we know so well. There's Sputnik (for which building instructions are included in the text):

LEGO Sputnik
LEGO Sputnik Image: Peter Reid and Tim Goddard

And Voyager:

LEGO Voyager
LEGO Voyager From the book LEGO Space: Building the Future by Peter Reid and Tim GoddardImage: Peter Reid and Tim Goddard

And Opportunity:

LEGO Opportunity
LEGO Opportunity Image: Peter Reid and Tim Goddard

And so much more. And that's just in the first dozen or so pages of the book. After that, it moves on into the "Birth of the Federation" and the future of LEGO space exploration. For those of you who, like me, were LEGO-building kids in the 1980s, we learn the significance of the different-colored LEGO space suits -- red for flight crew, white for ground crew, and so on. It's a ground crew member that is piloting the Exo Suit below. The authors of the book were delighted to tell me has, as of today, been selected as the sixth LEGO CUUSOO product for mass release:


This book is so much fun -- clearly a labor of love. My one problem with it is that although they've updated those 1980s-era astronaut minifigs from the LEGO archaic smile to heads that bear 21st century faces with facial expressions and beards and squints and so on, not a single one of those red-suited elite pilots has a female face. It's okay I guess because plenty of the faces are andyrogynous, and I'd encourage my daughters to name characters in any space ships they're inspired to build with female names. But I didn't find any female named characters in the book, though I'll admit I didn't read every bit of text before posting this. It doesn't seem too much to ask for girls to be able to participate in a future that includes such ideas as dropships orbiting Ganymede....

LEGO Ganymede Drop-ship
LEGO Ganymede Drop-ship Image: Peter Reid and Tim Goddard

It's funny how much that LEGO Space logo took me back to my own childhood. The ships in LEGO Space are terrific and I'm going to have to make the attempt to build some of them. My girls are old enough that I think it's time to bust out my old-school space LEGO collection. It hasn't gotten much of a workout in the last couple of decades, but I spent hours and hours building my own space worlds when I was a kid. Thanks to my mom for digging up this photo from 1986, when I was in 7th grade.

Emily, the space LEGO cadet
Emily, the space LEGO cadet Image: Karen Stewart

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