Barks and Books – Weens Blasts Off

Reviewing Two Novels that are Far Out!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Today we’ll be revealing Gilligan’s book tastes as we review two books about a common theme… (get ready)… OUTER SPACE!

We know what you’re thinking: What the heck does space travel have to do with the wienerful world of

Well, ever since Gilligan arrived in his new forever home, one of his favorite pastimes has been to curl up next to Papa while he enjoys a good read. It didn’t take too long before Gilly started nudging at Papa to include him somehow in whatever activity this was. One thing led to another, and Papa found that Gilligan actually enjoys sitting quietly while the book is being read aloud. And thus, the tradition of “Gilly’s story-time” was born.

 1. Cosmos by Carl Sagan [2014 Edition with foreword by Neil deGrasse Tyson]


Papa started reading this book to me after we watched a few episodes of the new television series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and… Wow! I had no idea the universe was so fascinating! There is so much to explore! Before reading this book I thought those humans were pretty clever, but now I realize that, in the grand scheme of things, they really don’t know a whole lot more than we canines do about everything out there (even though this book did show me that the story of their “civilization” thingy is pretty awesome, I guess). It even talks about the domestication of dogs!

I give Carl Sagan’s Cosmos 5/5 Wags!


After reading Cosmos, Papa got all excited about the possibility of life on Mars, somewhere deep underground on the inside of the planet. Since teckels love to dig, he even suggested that maybe dachshunds are well built to populate and survive in a fantastical subterranean environment on Mars. 

As ridiculous as that sounds, and as cliché as the topic of life on Mars has become, this passion led Gilly and Papa to discover Mars by Ben Bova, a refreshingly plausible approach to a fictional story about exploring the red planet.

 2. Mars by Ben Bova


Wiener dogs underground on Mars?!? Pfft! Kinda silly if you ask me… Luckily, unlike a lot of stories out there about Mars, Bova’s Mars is woven out of real science, and the result is a very believable story that reminds us that traveling to Mars is worthwhile and could hold many answers to the story of life on earth and throughout the cosmos (see what I did there?).

I will not give any spoilers here. What I will say is that Bova’s story feels very real because of his great character writing, especially his decision to include characters that are involved in the political struggles surrounding an all-nations collaborative effort to make a mission to the red planet. As the first in a series of books by the author, Mars feels extremely fresh, but is in some ways less refined than some of the later books (or so Papa says… what does he know?).

Ben Bova’s Mars gets 4.5/5 wags!


Mars is just one of about a dozen novels in the Grand Tour series by author Ben Bova. For the most part, each novel is dedicated to a different planet, moon, or location in our solar system, and brings us to a place in the maybe-not-so-distant future where mankind has mastered his surroundings and technology just enough to expand human civilization to the rest of the solar system.


Papa has read the books Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury, and is now reading Saturn to Gilligan as their next story-time feature. We’ll be back with a follow-on review once we’re done!

See you next time!

Don’t forget to Like and Share the joy of Gilligan with friends on Facebook, WordPress, and YouTube. Thanks so much for stopping by today! 🙂

This is a Blog Hop. Thanks so much to and for hosting this weekly event!

AND a SPECIAL THANKS to our friends at Walks With Rama, for their story about growing up near NASA, which you can read today at

*Updated Disclosure: As of 2/11/2015, links in this article that lead to books will bring the user to that book’s page on The links themselves are generated using the Amazon Affiliate program, which means that the author of this site will earn a small sales commission on any purchases of the book through these links. Book and other product reviews on are always the honest opinion of the author.


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9 thoughts on “Barks and Books – Weens Blasts Off

  1. THAT is very cool. I’ve never known a dog that liked to be read to. I love reading to children and making stories come alive and really miss it. Yes I have grandkids but the nightly routine of reading aloud is gone.

    Thanks for reviewing these books and joining the blog hop!

    Liked by 1 person

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