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The Astronaut's Son    by Tom Seigel order for
Astronaut's Son
by Tom Seigel
Order:  USA  Can
Woodhall Press, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Tom Seigel's The Astronaut's Son has as its lead Jonathan Stein, CEO of Apollo Aeronautics. Jonathan's father, a Jewish astronaut, died of a heart attack, just before he was to be part of the Apollo 18 launch in 1974, and his son is determined to complete that journey for him. Since his dad's death, Jonathan has sent countless missives, trying to make contact with reclusive astronaut Neil Armstrong, but has never received a reply.

As the novel opens, Jonathan (soon to be a father himself) discovers that he has a fairly mild heart condition, and wonders if this will affect his goal to reach the moon, and also whether he inherited it from his dad. He begins to hear from an online conspiracy theorist, Cassandra. He also digs into details of NASA's early collaboration with Nazi scientists who (he is informed) did not want an Israeli astronaut. This reminded me of Tom Lehrer's satirical song about German rocket engineer Wernher Von Braun.

Jonathan manages to track down, and listen to, a journalist's interview with his father before his death. In it, his dad sounded unlike himself, almost hostile. He also finds an inscription, about speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Jonathan wonders if his father was murdered to keep him quiet - but what had he discovered? What was NASA's space development built upon? You'll just have to read The Astronaut's Son to find out - and don't miss the Author's Note at the back of the book either.

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