Bradbury’s evocative visuals in Rocket Summer led me as a twelve-year old to imagine that anyone could assemble a space-worthy vehicle with the right parts and know-how. Like many in the 1970s who got caught up in the great Space Race, I had a reasonable understanding of propulsion and was not remotely dissuaded by the fact that all of my homemade missiles had exploded on the launchpad.
Surely I just needed the proper materials; Mom’s rich assortment of household chemicals labeled Flammable! Danger! Explosive! just weren’t doing the trick, no matter how many I mixed together.