Picks and Pans Review: The Planets

updated 11/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

ESSAYS

by Dava Sobel

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In these fluid essays, science writer Sobel experiments with inventive narrative devices: A4.5 billion-year-old meteorite fragment, for example, narrates her rumination on Mars. A section of quirky facts—a World War II pilot once mistook Venus for a Japanese plane and tried to shoot it—round out this unusual volume. The Planets doesn't have the depth of Sobel's earlier nonfiction, including Galileo's Daughter, but it evokes a sense of wonder that is equally gratifying.

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