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Jetpack Dreams: One Man's Up and Down (But Mostly Down) Search for the Greatest Invention That Never Wasby Mac Montandon
Synopses & Reviews
Jetpack Dreams chronicles the colorful pop history and science of that most amazing and mysterious of machines, the jetpack. While exploring our collective fascination with flight, the tale takes readers from the first flimsy, shoulder-mounted wings to Bill Suitor's 1984 Olympic flight in front of billions of viewers around the world; from a gruesome jetpack-driven murder in Houston in the mid-1990s to the secret laboratories and government facilities of today. Journalist Mac Montandon also explores Hollywood's fascination with the subject, from the 1949 serial King of the Rocket Men to Lost in Space, The Jetsons and The Rocketeer to the cultural jetpack phenomenon represented by Buck Rogers, James Bond, and Boba Fett. He travels the world to meet jetpack enthusiasts who are readying their own personal flying machines for takeoff. Ultimately, it's the search for an answer to two simple questions: Where is the jetpack that was promised to him, and to all of us, years ago? And if it's out there, can he catch a ride?
"Generations of boys, inspired by characters from Buck Rogers to Boba Fett, have dreamed of flying with jetpacks strapped to their backs. Freelance writer Montandon, editor of Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader, documents his search for the ultimate jetpack; along the way he encounters an offbeat bunch of middle-aged men with the same obsession. Montandon explains, for readers who don't attend the venues where jetpack jockeys rake in thousands of dollars from viewers who want to see a few seconds of flight, that the sticking point with jetpack technology is that you can't pack enough concentrated hydrogen peroxide on your back to fly for very long. Most jetpacks today are built from the original 1950s plans for the first working model, although many men have spent countless hours in the garage trying to improve on it. Along the way, there has been one unsolved murder and a gruesome torture and extortion case associated with a fabled lost jetpack that has taken on Holy Grail status. This snappily written, often funny book should attract dreamers of both sexes and all ages. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Montandan offers an amusing collection of stories about individuals of varying degrees of eccentricity who are devoting much of their lives and personal fortunes to a near-impossible dream." Kirkus Reviews
"Montandon's entertaining adventures highlight a strange footnote of the space age." Booklist
"Reading this book is as fun as zooming through the sky with a rocket on your back. And better yet, you won't break your collarbone." A.J. Jacobs, author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically
"A delightful and engrossing story of the quest for one of humankind's greatest technological fantasies — to strap on a device and fly like a bird." BoingBoing.net
A hilarious pop-socio-cultural history of the greatest invention that never was, the jetpack, and a participatory journey through the bizarre subculture of jetpack enthusiasts in search of a working model
Jetpack Dreams chronicles the colorful pop history and science of that most amazing and mysterious of machines: the jetpack. Fueled by a fascination and lifelong obsession with the power of flight, journalist Mac Montandon goes on a vastly entertaining search of the elusive invention. He examines the jetpacks inspiration from the first shoulder-mounted wings to Bill Suitors 1984 Olympic flight, even uncovering a gruesome jetpack-related murder in Houston. From the earliest days of the pack to its enduring role in popular culture—with Buck Rogers, James Bond, Boba Fett—Montandon seeks to answer two simple questions: Where is the jetpack that was promised to him, and to all of us, years ago? And if its out there, can he catch a ride?
About the Author
Mac Montandon is the editor of Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader. He has written for the New York Times, New York, Details, and Salon, among others. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Engineering » Engineering » Inventions