Sunday, September 22, 2013

George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt – Lucy & Stephen Hawking



Hawking, Lucy and Stephen Hawking. 2012. George Berburu Harta Kosmis. Jakarta: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama.

Very bright cover indeed.
Why I read it in the first place?
Okay, I bought this book because I actually have hidden interest on space, stars, and anything cosmic since a long time ago. But I never really tried to explore and learn more about those because apparently my brain capacity was insufficient for that kind of information (shame on me). Then, like a week ago, I saw this book in the book store. Its authors are Lucy and Stephen Hawking. STEPHEN HAWKING. STEPHEN. HAWKING! Judging from the cover, it’s clearly a children book. I know another Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time that I always want to buy and always end up put it back on its shelf. I doubted myself I can really comprehend its content, it looks too intellectual or something. But with children book like this one, I must be able to understand most of it, right? I was on the verge of jumping like maniac when I found George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt (okay, I might have jumped a couple of times). From the title, I knew it has something to do with cosmic and other space thingy. What a joy! If you want to learn more about space and stuff with understandable explanation, what’s the better choice than a children book written by the scientific genius STEPHEN HAWKING himself? With further reading, I know that Lucy Hawking is Stephen Hawking’s daughter and is an expert in delivering science and space knowledge to children. So, I knew I was on good hands.

My Rambling.
Before anything, I’m applauding Indonesian publisher because this copy is gorgeouuuusss! Its price is also not too expensive, remembering there are some full color pages in its content to display the picture files. But I got disappointed though when I checked this book in Goodreads, I found that this book is book #2! I was pissed. Go figure. I’m a reader who dislikes spoilers and I bought a book without knowing it’s a part of a series and worst, it’s not even the book #1! Why the publisher didn’t put any sign or whatever clue for that? Hah? Whyyyyyy?

But after reading it, I could tolerate it a bit. Apparently, this is a kind of story with similar style to Sherlock Holmes and Doraemon. Get it? Story with one adventure that goes to another adventure without a strict connectivity between the stories. What connects it probably just the moving time, which one is past, which one is present, things like that. Anyway, my hyper-excitement was still very high while reading this book. Moreover, I got to see such incredibly amazingly awesome pictures that made me drool like a moron. This one is a sneak peek from those. Wait, isn’t it against the law of copyrights or something? Whatever, sue me (NO, PLEASE DON’T SUE ME).
 
Left: Kalahari desert looked from space. Upper right: Meteor shower. Bottom right: Moon and Venus.
George, the leading character, is a smart kid with high curiosity and full interest on space and universe. He is kind, polite, witty, brave, sharp, loyal, he is anything but surreal to find in real kids these days. His partner in crime, Annie, is like a girl version of him, more careless and reckless though. Another important character is Annie’s father, Erick, a scientist of Global Space Agency (an alternates of NASA in this book I guess) and a role model to George. Erick has Cosmos, a mega-sophisticated computer that is able to open a portal to every place in this universe (just like Doraemon’s To-Everywhere Door, ring a bell?). And there’s Emmet, a super genius boy, a kid of Erick’s fellow that spends summer in Erick’s. Yeah, this book is full of brainiac characters....

Its title though, ‘George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt’ is a bit off I guess because George and friends are not treasure hunting from the beginning. They are triggered to do the journey after they received a confusing code-like message that leads them to Planet Mars. From there, their adventure is still going forward with many interesting twists along the way. Its ending itself is typical children book’s ending. With neat illustrations by Garry Parsons, this book is a really entertaining object to read.

But, THE most epic part from this book is, those complicated science can be explained well and easy to understand (well, mostly, because in several parts I still couldn’t get it). After reading this book, no, even before I finished it, I couldn’t stop myself to not brag my new awesome knowledge. My Papa and my best friend were my targets to brag to, bhahahahaha. I kept asking them some rhetoric questions like, ‘Did you know what is the hottest planet in our solar system?’ ‘Did you know why we are able to see Venus clearly from Earth?’ ‘Did you know what’s the fuss with people and their research to Mars?’ ‘Did you know the difference between meteor and meteorite?’ aaand many other did-you-know that ended up answered by myself.

Now, I feel really smart about space and stuff (mouahahahahaha). But of course, this knowledge that people really proud of, is nothing. Just dust in this universe (REALLY tiny, it’s nothing, literally). Reading George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, is really eye-opening and mind-widening for me. There is still INFINITE space out there that’s unthinkable and mysterious and we don’t know when human intelligence could finally grasp it. But, looking back to revolutionary inventions by Galileo, Newton, Huygens, and many other scientific geniuses, makes me somewhat optimistic that one day those now impossible mysteries can be solved, can be explained by the future generations.

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Me, while reading this book...

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