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the Complete Review
the complete review - field guide


ed. by
Awk Ro

general information | our review | links | about the author

Title: Spacebloom
Editor: Awk Ro
Genre: Field guide
Written: 2267
Length: 160 pages
Availability: Spacebloom - Amazon.com
Spacebloom - directly from publisher
  • A Field Guide to Cosmic Xflora

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Our Assessment:

(-) : stunning, bizarre, nicely done

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Spacebloom is A Field Guide to Cosmic Xflora. A 23rd century invention that is both a foodsource and a flower (of sorts), spaceblooms are designed with a variety of functions, tastes, and appearances -- and this book presents all the information you could possibly want about them
       Spacebloom is a remarkable volume because it takes these creations absolutely seriously, presenting a logically developed system of this "xflora" (since: "Spaceblooms are neither fauna nor flora"), with history, terminology, and detailed descriptions of the 33 recognised spaceblooms that have a population large enough to warrant inclusion in this guide.
       On the one hand, this is absolutely ridiculous. But on the other: it is done so thoroughly and well that it can't fail to impress. Really impress.
       An introductory section gives a brief history of the development of spaceblooms -- engineered but often (in 26 of the 33 cases) capable of reproduction, collecting space-matter and solar energy to grow -- as well as information about most other aspects of them, from ownership issues (most are in the public domain) to tips on how you can get started in spacebloom farming.
       The bulk of the book is the field guide itself: a two-page spread on each of the thirty-three types of spacebloom, providing the technical details, a brief description, usage, recipes (most are edible, at least in part), and a brief section of trivia. There are also small colour drawings, orthographic views from top, front, and (where applicable) bottom. And then there are the stunning full-page colour pictures of each of the spaceblooms.
       Beside the straightforward type-by-type guide, there are also pages devoted to shared attributes and aspects, from "flymations" ("spacebloom formations optimized for space travel") to methods of propagation. Appendices compare spaceblooms side-by-side by everything from size to distribution of spacebloom licenses: really, everything you could possibly want to know.
       Description can't do justice to these creations; check out the official site to get a better idea. It's great stuff; impressively, the variety is almost natural in how very different many of these things are. And these aren't just roughly imagined but carefully drawn creations: the descriptions are detailed and thorough and -- more or less -- logical (even if there is often a hefty dose of humour). At least on this spacebloom-level, it's a whole new (and very rich) world that has been imagined here.
       The recipes (and trivia) aren't really useful; come to think of it, neither is most of the technical detail. But in consequentially taking this to all extremes, in thinking it through so completely (and presenting all that to the reader), Spacebloom is a fantastical (and fantastic) piece of science fiction -- with an equal emphasis on the visual, the technical, and the literary. There is a world-creation story here -- or at least a story about the development and evolution of spaceblooms --, not presented in straightforward narrative form but in piecemeal (and much more technical (and visual)) form.
       Spacebloom is an awesome if slightly baffling achievement. It's an absolutely beautiful book, taking advantage of modern printing technology (and computer image-generating capabilities), and can be enjoyed simply for the stunning pictures, but it's also thought-through down to the tiniest detail.
       Do you need a guide to cosmic xflora ? Possibly not -- but better to be safe than sorry.
       Aesthetically one of the most stunning books we've come across in a long time. And pretty impressive as a work of 'science fiction', too -- even if it's science fiction of a very, very different sort.

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Spacebloom: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Ostensibly edited by 'Awk Ro', Spacebloom is actually the work of Martin Naroznik.

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© 2006-2021 the complete review

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