Review of The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet

This is an intriguing book to rate. It’s rather more a collection of thoughts and an edited set of people’s voices around a specific event – the decision by the curator (Tyson) to not include Pluto in the permanent exhibit at the Hayden Planetarium when it opened in 2001. The decision evoked public outcry and this tale relates both the curator’s intent as well as the various stakeholders and parties responses to this decision. It’s a good read, although the inclusion of various emails, messages and other reactions/responses tends to get a little tiresome as they detract from an overall narrative.
This is a fascinating look at the evolution of a public exhibition and the nature of the tightrope that scientist walk between public and professional considerations. Although it presents a variety of tangential expositions on selected planetary and astronomical issues, it is more of a wander itself -I use the term carefully as the actual root of the use of the word planet stems from being a wandering body itself. Overall, this is an engaging, although light, read for me it leaves the reader wanting just a little more foundational discussion and a shaper more well-defined narrative structure. There are lovely comic and editorial inclusions, but these to tend to distract rather than focus. It’s a ramble, but a delightful one.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: