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Star Settlers: The Billionaires, Geniuses, and Crazed Visionaries Out to Conquer the Universe

Star Settlers: The Billionaires, Geniuses, and Crazed Visionaries Out to Conquer the Universe

by Fred Nadis


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The story behind the elite scientists, technologists, SF enthusiasts, and billionaires who believe that humanity’s destiny is to populate the stars . . .

Does humanity have a destiny “in the stars?” Should a species triggering massive extinctions on its own planet instead stay put? This new book traces the waxing and waning of interest in space settlement through the decades, and offers a journalistic tour through the influential subculture attempting to shape a multiplanetary future.

What motivates figures such as billionaires Elon Musk and Yuri Milner? How important have science fiction authors and filmmakers been in stirring enthusiasm for actual space exploration and settlement? Is there a coherent motivating philosophy and ethic behind the spacefaring dream?

Star Settlers offers both a historical perspective and a journalistic window into a peculiar subculture packed with members of the scientific, intellectual, and economic elite. This timely work captures the extra-scientific zeal for space travel and settlement, places it in its historical context, and tackles the somewhat surreal conceptions underlying the enterprise and prognoses for its future.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643134482
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 08/04/2020
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,152,547
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Fred Nadis was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in the Public Understanding of Science and Technology program for Star Settlers. He has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He has authored two prior books, Wonder Shows: Performing Science, Magic, and Religion in America, and The Man from Mars: Ray Palmer’s Amazing Pulp Journey, a Locus Nonfiction Award Finalist. He has published essays in the Atlantic and Vanity Fair online and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Science and Popular Culture. Learn more at

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Chapter 1 Mars Mania 1.0 9

Chapter 2 Rocketeers 29

Chapter 3 Von Braun 51

Chapter 4 Modern Conquerors of Mars 71

Chapter 5 Space Colonies 95

Chapter 6 Biosphere 2 119

Chapter 7 Making Space Fun Again 143

Chapter 8 The Moon 165

Chapter 9 Going Interstellar 193

Chapter 10 The Metaphysical Lure of Deep Space 219

Chapter 11 The Space Rave 243

Acknowledgments 251

Endnotes 253

Index 273

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