(note: play these songs in the background while reading this blog post : )
In honor of this week’s very special Lunar Landing anniversary, I’ve been thinking a lot about how our gorgeous, mysterious, predictable, and still mesmerizing moon has figured so large in our imaginative arts, but especially in science fiction stories and movies. As we look back on real human achievement that seems more fictional, alien, and far away as ever, I have some movies and a really long novel to recommed and tell you about.
My first is a creepy one starring Sam Rockwell, Moon. Picture a locked-room mystery story laced on top of a one-man play, but with all the desolate, longing shots of a gray lunar surface and slick, Apple-store like interiors that imagine a future Moon base.
Next up is the claustrophobic Sandra Bullock/George Clooney movie Gravity, which has nothing to do with the Moon. But it is a compelling and realistic and up-close glimpse of how terrifying it must be and how dangerous it is for astronauts in outer space.
If Gravity had your heart pumping, give your laugh muscles a chance watching the so bad it’s good Iron Sky, which posits that Hitler had a secret moon base and there are... you guessed it, Space Nazis. The screenplay is by a sci-fi genius, Finnish novelist Johanna Sinisalo, who has written quirky and fascinating novels like The Core of the Sun and The Blood of Angels that you should read too.
End your video exploration with one of the Moon’s first depictions on film, in Georges Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon from 1902. You probably already know the famous image of the man in the moon with a rocket sticking out of his eye, and now you can see how far the sci-fi imagination has evolved over the last 117 years. As an added bonus, this title is streaming through our Digital Media resource, Kanopy!
By now, I’m sure you’re ready for the long novel. Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves posits a disaster that blows the moon into 7 big pieces and zillions of tiny asteroids. Scientists realize that within a year or two, this will cause the Earth’s atmosphere to catch on fire and burn, completely destroying all life. See how this meticulous author imagines humans would mobilize to send as many people into space as quickly as possible, and under the most desperate conditions. And then contact the prestige network of your choice—this book would be a great miniseries or TV movie!
And if you want to watch something else really special, just wait until the sun sets and gaze up at our old friend, who should be waning gibbous and pretty easy to see.
Imagining the Moon and its influence on our creative, artistic, and scientific endeavors.
An interesting footnote (to me at Least.) After the moon landing in 1969 I heard an interview wit Arthur C Clark (author of 2001 fyi genZ) He pointed out that in no scifi novel stories etc describes people on earth watching a planeterial landing LIVE on tv. I found this amazing and surprising.