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The Book of Space Travel

Jan Van Der Veken

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Sergei Krikalev, a cosmonaut on the MIR space station, had to wait six more months to return to earth because of all the commotion, and he therefore became known as the last Soviet citizen. And did you know that space travellers have developed the curious tradition of peeing on the right rear wheel of the bus that takes them to the launch pad? These and other fun facts liven up ‘The Book of Space Travel’, in which Jan Van Der Veken plunges with panache into the history and technological developments of space flight.

Beautifully produced edition that seems slightly nostalgic but conveys with great clarity a lot of information about the development of space travel.

With its fantastic retro-futurist drawings, each of which takes up a whole spread, Van Der Veken proves himself an extraordinary illustrator with a style all his own. The ligne claire method, also to be found in old cartoons like those of Hergé, echoes all through his work. On every spread the words are at the bottom, in the same layout, which gives a restful and stylish look to the page. This final part of Van Der Veken’s technological trilogy (following Planes and Ships & Boats) is once again an impressive achievement of graphic design.

Van Der Veken’s line is so sharp that his world is beautifully streamlined. He transports us back to a time when the modern was exciting and artists knew how to draw.
The New Yorker on ‘Fabrica Grafica’