Friday, February 1, 2008

Little House on the Red Planet

You’d have to have grown up inside an abandoned refrigerator to not be awed by a Moon launch or a Mars landing. Space flight has an appeal that never quite dies. In fact, it’s having a revival: space societies are growing, books about colonizing Mars are bestsellers, entrepreneurs are competing to build suborbital thrill-craft like SpaceShipOne, and a Vision for Space Exploration, capital letters and all, has issued from the White House. It’s even getting funded, sort of, by Congress.

Given Apollo’s ignominious decay into golf-strokes and smuggled postage stamps, decades of Shuttles flying circles and crashing, the mind-killing boredom of the International Space Station, and our newfound digital solipsism, one might wonder why so many people still so ardently desire that humans should fly in space. For space fans, the very question is a confession of cluelessness, like asking why people like sex. Space is space! It’s where you go, man! You either get that or you don’t, and if you don’t, you’re a soulless droid.

Thus begins “Little House on the Red Planet,” my Larry’s essay on the space colonization movement and its curious religiosity. The essay appears in the latest issue of Turnrow, a literary journal published by the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The full text is available at their website. Larry gives his own introductory remarks on his blog.

It’s a good read:

Science fiction excites and, to some extent, satisfies our lust for alien otherness, but actual space flight only teases and exhausts that delicious desire. The uncanny recedes from our physical approach, dies at our touch. The Moon swiftly became banal under the boots and trash bags of the sensible Apollo men; Mars would do the same. Any place would do the same. When we cry for the Moon, the last thing we really want is the actual Moon—an infinity of cinders.


  1. Peace Priscilla,

    An interesting blog, with an interesting take on things.

    God willing, I'll be stopping by in the future.

    Abdur Rahman

  2. Peace to you, Abdur. Thanks for stopping by.



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