Exploring LEGO Space, by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard
Dec 02, 2013 3:22 pm
by Joe Meno
LEGO Space (http://www.nostarch.com/legospace) by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard
216 pages, full-color, hardcover
No Starch Press, $24.99
No Starch has been a leading publisher of LEGO-related materials, and has begun a major publishing push with such books as the LEGO Adventure Book, the LEGO Build-It Book, and Beautiful LEGO. However, with the recently released LEGO Space book, there is a book that features one area.
Authors Peter Reid and Tim Goddard create not only a book, but a narrative for a space-themed book. Beginning with historical space missions (including Sputnik and Apollo) and going beyond, LEGO Space is a look at what was and what can be - both science and science-fiction.
LEGO Space’s story is told through the LEGO models of spacecraft past, present and future, and are a showcase of the author’s LEGO building skills. Interspersed in the pages are instructions to several of the spacecraft and items shown, so the reader can learn how a robot is built or build a spacecraft to swoosh. The photography is top-notch and the story is brisk, with an emphasis on space adventure, and even a tip to previous LEGO space adventures.
If there could be any complaints, it would be that the book is not long enough. Readers may want to know more about the future…but for a LEGO space builder, those open areas in the book are a path to inspiration. As a builder, it’s easy for me to ask myself what I can add to this universe.
This book is highly recommended for LEGO fans and space aficionados, and for those who want a coffee-table book on LEGO building. It’s also a good idea book for space builders!
BrickJournal had a chance to speak with Peter Reid about LEGO Space and how he made the book with Tim Goddard, Ian Grieg and Chris Salt. As you will find out, there was a lot of effort and thought given to this wonderful book.
BrickJournal: First of all, congratulations on both your book and your LEGO CUUSOO model reaching review status! Since your Exo Suit model is in the book, I have to ask if you planned for the book to help promote it?
Peter Reid: Thank you! It's been a crazy couple of weeks. The Exo Suit does appear in the book a few times, so it's nice to get it out there. I could never have anticipated the CUUSOO result would be announced at the same time as the book's release. The news was a huge surprise.
When did you start working on the book?
Tim Goddard and I started on the book in January 2012. We have been building in the same universe for many years, so we were used to working together. We were helped by Chris Salt and Ian Grieg with the layouts and photography. James Shields did our instructions and Andrew Hamilton made some additional models. They're an amazing team to work with. It's a shame we have to spend our days working normal jobs.
How was the work divided between you and Tim Goddard?
We came up with a rough plan together, and developed the models and story all the way through. I ended up doing most of the actual writing, once we had our narrative sketched out. There's a roughly 50/50 split on the models between Tim and I.
We were striving for excellence, and worked together on many of the models. Chris Salt and Ian Grieg helped us take things to the next level with a series of intense photo sessions. They're both highly talented photographers, with a passion for Space. Chris actually came to live with me for several weeks during the development phase.
You have built many, many space models - did you ever plan to place them under a single storyline like you did in the book?
Perhaps I did, subconsciously. It was surprisingly easy to bring everything together, and integrate it with Tim's stuff. We both used models from our back catalogues, and there's a load of new, unseen stuff in the book.
What was your inspiration for the jump gates?
We tried to respect science. The first chapter is a love letter to the Space Age, and it would be bad form to go from actual events to fantasy nonsense. We didn't want to have comedy aliens and light speed. As soon as you allow light speed in science fiction, you're disrespecting physics. Tim Goddard is an actual scientist, and had assured me the gates are a theoretical possibility.
How long did it take to build a scene?
The scenes took a very long time. Every shot was a labour of love. We tried to make every single picture visually interesting, and discussed the composition and lighting of each scene. We agonised over every little detail, in pursuit of creative excellence. It was hard work, but we had an awesome time.
How many references to previous LEGO space themes and characters can we expect to find in the book?
Quite a few. We steered clear of trademarked words like Blacktron and Space Police, but managed to include lots of nods to old space themes. I'm sure the hardcore Space fans will pick up on them.
What were the aliens inspired by?
I wanted an enemy that was truly alien, as opposed to Squidman or one of the other extraterrestrials with a minifig body. The worms were somewhat inspired by the creatures from The Matrix movies.
Any more space stories planned?
It's possible. If the book does well, I'd love to get the team back together to work on a sequel. We spent almost two years making Lego Space, and need time to recharge our batteries.
You can see more of Peter Reid’s creations here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/legoloverman/