31.Dec.2013 Lego Space: Building the Future by Peter Reid (No Starch Press)

Lego Space Cover

When I was a kid, two of my favourite things were my Space Lego and a book by Stewart Crowley, Spacecraft 2000 to 2100AD. Crowley’s book was notable mainly for its assortment of amazing early 1970s science fiction book cover illustrations that were repurposed/licensed to accompany Crowley’s history of the Terran Trade Authority and its space war with Alpha and Proxima Centauri. Covering different spacecraft – complete with engineering specifications – that were used to trade with and later battle, the book was the sort of thing that could quickly provide a backstory to a Space Lego build.

But now there’s this – Peter Reid’s Lego Space: Building the Future.

Peter Reid’s book reminds me a lot of Crowley’s, and it is done in Lego. Reid is one of those amazing ‘adult fans of Lego’ who has built an entire alternative universe of space themed Lego models and dioramas out of primarily first generation, late 70s Space Lego and the late 80s Blacktron Space Lego parts. Reid’s models are utterly amazing and show what is possible with Lego. Whilst building instructions are provided for a few of the smaller models you will probably have difficulty some of the necessary pieces, especially the all-black pieces. (I’m excited that his Exo Suit, featured in the book, made it through the Cusoo process and will be commercially available in 2014)

Reid’s storyline follows humankind’s exploration of space from Sputnik and the Moon landing, through to first alien contact on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. Its quite a good story for a 6 to 10 year old, far better than any of the stories in those terrible ‘official’ Lego stories (avoid the Ninjago ones like the plague!). There’s also enough filmic references, to make you, as a parent, want to sit your kids down and watch Aliens, Dark Star, 2001, and the classics. And a bonus point for the Lovecraftian allusions to the vast unknowable terrors of the universe when Admiral Kazak first brain-melds with the worm discovered in the ice. Double bonus points for including female minifigs and characters in the story – especially given the (continuing) general dearth of them in the Lego portfolio (let’s not talk about Lego Friends).

Highly recommended.

Some of Reid’s Lego models in his Flickr stream.

Seb Chan

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