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Johnson’s “Back to the Moon” weaves extraterrestrial intrigue

Les Johnson and daughter Leslie show one of his books.

Future space exploration interspersed with political intrigue takes off in Les Johnson’s new book, “Back to the Moon.”

“Space exploration is the ultimate test of human ingenuity and one of the riskiest sustained endeavors in human history,” Johnson said. “Why, then, does it seem routine and boring to most people?”

In proposing their novel to Baen Books, Johnson and co-author Travis Taylor suggested “space exploration (with) believable science and engineering to capture dangers of space flight and the astronauts’ risks when we once again explore space beyond Earth orbit.”

In “Back to the Moon,” NASA stages a fiftieth anniversary return to the Moon. “A private company puts together its own moon shot, complete with space tourists,” Johnson said. “Across the globe, the Chinese are determined to arrive first … and steal every bit of American technology they can pilfer.”

However, something goes horribly wrong on the lunar surface, Johnson said.

Johnson also co-edits the “Going Interstellar” anthology and has co-authored “Living off the Land in Space,” “Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel” and “Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth.”

His master’s degree in physics and bachelor’s degree in liberal arts mesh in his writing. “Combining my passion and education with God’s gift of communicating … has been the ‘perfect storm’ for getting my books published,” Johnson said.

In its review, “Analog” magazine stated, “For everyone … whose heart skipped a beat at Armstrong’s first step and still believes July 20, 1969 was the greatest date in history — ‘Back to the Moon’ is a reminder of a lost era.”

Johnson works as deputy manager of NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office. Originally from Ashland, Ky., he has lived in Madison for 23 years.

He is married to Carol Peck Johnson, who formerly worked as a technical editor. Their son Carl is a senior at Excalibur Christian School. Daughter Leslie is a junior at Bob Jones High School.

Johnson will have a book signing on Jan. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Books-A-Million, 7830 U.S. 72.

For more information, send email to les.mail@lesjohnsonauthor.com or visit lesjohnsonauthor.com or Facebook/Les Johnson.

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