21 November 2009

Ignition!: An informal history of liquid rocket propellants

John D. Clark. IGNITION! An informal history of liquid rocket propellants. Rutgers University, USA 1972.

Current Selling Prices
$250-$1400 /£150-£800

This is rocket science. Cult book among rocket geeks or the aspiring 'rocketeer.' Includes amusing stories e.g. an attempt to use skunk oil as a fuel. Talk about stinks and bangs! 232 pages with illustrations. Couldn't find a pic of the book so used a stock ignition type photo (but see below...)

VALUE? Mainly available as a POD (Print on demand) at about $85, the actual book is scarce and only one is available at Amazon USA. Takes 2 to 4 weeks to source which often signifies that the book will not be found. Also typically there is no mention of condition and no one to ask (you can't talk to a monolith) and there is an assumption that it doesn't matter. To paraphrase Russell Crowe -- 'Condition isn't everything, (it's the only thing!)'

As an old thesis it can also be got as a POD from UMI (University Microfilms) in Ann Arbor at about $100. This is said to be true of all university theses although I have never tested it. You need patience. I have had those funky UMI paper wraps books through and they do a pretty good job. Depends whether you want to use the book or collect it. Rockets, space exploration and astronomy are all very saleable subjects - watch this space.

STOP PRESS. In late Feb 2008 the only available copy to be found at abebooks.com is $90 from Babbit's described thus:
Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ [published date: 1972] Hardcover Typical library defects. Boards moderately smudged with library tape residue, spine and boards slightly edgeworn. Endpapers mildly soiled. Interior clean, binding tight. Dustjacket mildly rubbed, smudged, and edgeworn. ; Ex-Library; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 214 pages; Rare--technology kvk orange/black scicat.
I.e. a pretty nasty copy stopping just short of hideous. The POD is still there (and will be till 2525 as it only comes into being when desired) and a copy (at Alibris.com) described thus - 'New, authorized, professionally-bound facsimile reprint. Any photographs may not be as crisp as the original' commands a stratospheric $180. Reprint it Rutgers!

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2009 Have at last found a photo of this fabled book. No one seems to be selling the Print on Demand anymore and one crackbrained seller on Amazon UK wants $1400. Cheapest copy anywhere is $249.99 for a reasonable jacketed example. Cannot understand why the book has not been reprinted (or Kindled) - right now the world needs a light-hearted rocket book (at a down to earth price.)
Post a Comment