26th Mar2014

‘LEGO Space: Building the Future’ Book Review

by Phil Wheat

Written by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard | Published by No Starch Press | Format: Hardback, 216 pp

LEGO-space-cover

Independent publisher No Starch Press have been carving out a niche for themselves as one of the premier publishers of books on computer security, programming, open source, science, and in this particular case LEGO… LEGO Space: Building the Future, as the title suggests, builds on the classic LEGO Space building sets of the 80s, featuring custom models of sleek starships, cool robots, creepy aliens, fearsome space pirates, and much more – taking readers on a fantastic voyage from Sputnik to a spacefaring civilization hundreds of years in the future.

If I tell you that I grew up playing with LEGO Space building sets, you might have an idea just how excited I was to read this book. You see even before I was old enough to actually build LEGO sets myself, my dad used to buy and build all manner of LEGO Space sets for me – one of my earliest childhood memories of my late father was sitting between his legs as he built the 1979-released Space Cruiser (set #487); and that set was, until I stupidly disposed of my LEGO as a stroppy teenager, the most treasured of my LEGO collection. So not only was I interested in seeing new models, new instructions and a new story in LEGO Space: Building the Future, but I was looking forward to the memories that reading the book would unlock.

Not only does LEGO Space: Building the Future allow readers to immerse themselves in photos of planets, hangars, spaceports, and moon bases, the book also tells a story of exploration, first contact, and sabotage. Very cleverly, writers Peter Reid and Tim Goddard have penned this story in the past tense – telling how the the moon was colonised, first contact with aliens, intergalactic travel and colonising distant planets – which means it reads very much like a history book, not a piece of literary prose. What also astounds about this book is that it weaves its historical tale together many of the old LEGO space factions: from those classic LEGO spacemen of the late 70s and early 80s, to the likes of Futuron, Blacktron, Space Police and Ice Planet (avoiding names for legal reasons of course).

Plus for the AFOL builders out theres, the story in the book is interweaved with step-by-step building instructions so you can build your own cosmic creations at home – mainly small spaceships and/or robots (some of which look remarkably like the just-released LEGO Mixels) but they are still some truly cool designs. What sets this book apart though is the excellent photography of some truly wonderful and incredibly detailed LEGO scenes – the type of which will only inspire you to create your own, trust me.

The quality of unofficial LEGO books varies wildly but thankfully, under the auspices of well-respected AFOL’s Peter Reid and Tim Goddard, LEGO Space: Building the Future stands head and shoulders above the rest and may well be the best LEGO book I’ve ever read. A must-buy.

***** 5/5

LEGO Space: Building the Future is available now from No Starch Press

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