Lego Space: Building the Future

If I had had a copy of Lego Space: Building the Future when I was 12 years old, I would have read it to pieces. The book, by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard, and published by No Starch Press, is chock full of dazzling models. Most are scaled to minifig size, but there are also some micro creations as well. I don’t know if all the creations were built by Peter and Tim; there are some general thanks in the back of the book but no more specific credits.

This book is a feast for Lego (and sci-fi) fans of all stripes. There are amazingly cool creations to pore over, and a bunch of them have building instructions for them. While some builders may be disappointed that there aren’t more instructions, they’ll get plenty of ideas for both creations and part usage. I had a great time looking at images and thinking, “How did they DO that?” before realizing it was an inspired way of using parts I already knew about. I’ve had some serious builder’s block of late, but flipping through this made me want to just dig into a bunch of pieces and play with them, finding connections and shapes as interesting as the ones in here.

There are spaceships large, small, and tiny. My God, I just want to swoosh this entire book! There are robots, both friendly and fierce. Hover loaders! Warpgates! Starbases! Aliens! Command centers and control panels! Don’t even bother pushing your eyes back in and picking your jaw up off the floor, because as soon as you flip the page you’ll have to start over. Seriously, there is some incredible Lego work here, just beautiful stuff.

Each model also has a nice little write-up of its fictional history, and these assemble into a storyline that goes through the book. Mostly the emphasis is on exploration and pacifism, but later in the storyline there are nefarious doings afoot. Even then, the conflict is more of a Silver Age “lock the bad guys up in Space Jail” approach. The models use all the latest building techniques, but the mood is definitely Classic Space.

Unfortunately, so is the main color palette. I love the blue and gray classic space stuff as much as the next guy, but a lot of the models follow the trend of “big wad of gray pieces”.

The Exo-Suit creation of co-author Peter Reid (and now making the transition to an official model has some amazing detail to it, but it’s hard to make out, since everything is the same color. Similarly, a lot of models have some great texture work, but the images are just masses of gray, with only the minifigs’ outfits adding small pops of color. I’d like to have seen models that use more interesting color techniques (this is largely because I too have problems utilizing colors well when I build, so I like seeing examples of it done well.)

(Speaking of color, and I can already hear the eyes rolling as I mention this, something else bugged me a little. For the minifigs the builders went with flesh-colored heads instead of the standard yellow heads. I grew up with the yellow ones, so when flesh is used, I notice it. And what I noticed was that in the hundreds of pictures in the book with minifigs, there were only two in which a minifig was black instead of white. Now, look, I know the purpose of this book is not to address social justice issues, and I don’t want to make a bigger deal out of this than I think it is, but as I say, I notice when flesh is used, and the inclusion of two non-white heads just makes me wonder why not more?)

Those are small issues, however. Overall the book is a delight! It’s exactly what I would want in a book of this type: cool creations, great ideas, some building instructions, and loads of photos to ooh and aah over. Definitely consider this if you dig on looking at cool sci-fi Lego stuff. It’s available through the publisher’s website or Amazon.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, who thought I would like it. That publisher was right, and I thank them!

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