Sunday, December 31, 2017

Syfy Wire

On Christmas Day, I was the guest of Jordan Zakarin and Emily Gaudette on Syfy Wire's podcast The Fandom Files, chatting about my Doctor Who stuff such as The Book of Whoniversal Records and other things I'm writing, including the TV series Flame.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

I was entranced by Moonglow, the novel by Michael Chabon in which he supposedly recounts his own grandfather's life. It's a gently told, funny, awful tale of love and loss, continually surprising with its wit and heart.

Perhaps it struck a particular chord because earlier this year I helped my parents finish a memoir of family history - how they met, how their parents met, stuff they could remember. There's the same haphazardness and chance encounter, the same brushes with Big Moments in History, and the cold pang for people now gone.

But Chabon's grandfather is also a keen space nerd, and how that weaves through his life and what it means to him is compelling. A running thread is his pursuit of Wernher von Braun during the Second World War, and his horror at then seeing this Nazi officer at the head of the American space programme. What could so easily be preachy is resolved in a nuanced way full of complex emotion, tying in to what we uncover about the wartime experinece of Chabon's grandmother. Then there's a funny bit about a cat.

Footnotes add or correct details from the grandfather's remembrance, and the following one struck me hard. The Saturn V rocket that took people to the Moon, was,
"still, over four decades after flying its last mission, the only vehicle ever built capable of carrying human beings beyond a low earth orbit."
Michael Chabon, Moonglow, p. 249.
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