Saturday, May 13

Where's My Damn Moon House?

I was reading a story in Asimov's Science Fiction this month, You Will Go to the Moon. It reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books of the same title. I hadn't thought about it in a long time. It inspired me to look it up online, whereupon I came upon this rare gem of a website documenting the best of 20th century spaceflight optimism. I found many books I recall from my boyhood, especially this beaut of an illustration from You Will Go to the Moon:

I remember turning the pages of this book with my first grade playground pals, oohing and aahing over the sheer coolness of it all, certain that one day we would be the grownup in the picture, proudly showing our fidgeting and impatient son the grandeur of our lunar ranch. Of course it was going to happen. After all, the book didn't say "Maybe we'll get there" or "Tommy dreams about space." No, it emphatically declared you will go to the moon!

Let's turn back the clock to a time somewhere between Sputnik and Neil Armstrong, to a time of infinite and attainable possibilities, to a time when promises were made to a wide-eyed man-child named Kingfisher.

Now, that's the stuff. No girls allowed. Space hiking with your buds. Tool belts with a gravity drill and solar windlass. Toss me a vacuum packed KoolAid, Joe! Stupid girls.

None of that sissy diplomacy for us, Boys! No Sir! Space is there to conquer! With bulldozers! And mechanical spiders!

As a member of Space Patrol, you don't just get a spacesuit. You get an Official Space Suit. As an added bonus, the lack of gravity causes your moon unit to swell and stretch the crotch!

No subways or station wagons for us. We get to buzz through the stratosphere on the way to work in our brand new Chevrolet XT-2100 Super Blaster!

Time for hard working spaceman's lunch. What? How am I going to get that baloney sandwich through the faceplate? Spaceman worries not about such trivial things! Puny Earthling.

Back to work. A reminder: It's MAN in space. You girls stay in Houston to take messages and make baloney sandwiches.

No job is too difficult if you've got your human to mosquito conversion suit.

It's not all work and no play. We've got Moon Tonka Trucks!

And a Galactic Hi-Fi Close'n'Play that launches bottle rockets!

Finally, it's back to Home Sweet Habitrail. If it's good enough for hamsters, it's good enough for Spaceman Steve!

* * * * *

Where are we today? Mars global surveyor is giving us glimpses of our planetary twin that are almost as good as Mapquest. Cassini-Huygens is sending back spectacular pictures from the Saturnian system, complete with icy seas, volcanoes, frozen deserts, and enigmas by the truckload. There's even the New Horizons project recently launched to Pluto. Older Voyager craft have already slipped away from Sol's warm embrace, destined for the infinite mystery and wonder of True Outer Space. Exciting stuff, to be sure, but where probes go, humans are supposed to follow. Instead, creaky shuttles are delivering Evian, freeze-dried ice cream, and $7,000 screwdrivers to the International Space Station. No jetpacks, no zap guns, no history-buff day trips to Mare Tranquillitatis.

By now I was supposed to live on the moon, work on Mars, and vacation on Triton, all with unbelievably cool spaceships and gee-whiz gadgets. (Although now I will gladly admit that space would be even more fun with girls along for the adventure.) Promises were made, dammit, and someone's gonna pay if they aren't kept soon. So listen up, NASA or Mitsubishi or whoever. BUILD ME MY DAMN MOON HOUSE.

And while you're at it, get cracking on my spiffy chaufferbot copterocket car.


Erica said...

Excellent! I remember thinking we'd probably have routine space travel (for everyone, even dumb boys) by the far-away 1990s.

Laughing at Disney's Tomorrowland thing. You forget stuff like that, you know???

Here's your moon house:

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(blog-comment doodlikng is SO SAD)

Erica said...

DAMN! And when I posted that work of art, it didn't save my formatting.

(sigh) Pass the beer nuts.

KOM said...

That's just awesome.

Growing up, we had a time-life book crammed with pictures of my future home on an orbiting space-station wheel, as well as pictures of hypothetical aliens on our planets. One of these aliens was just like the one described by Blondie (eating cars).

I was always afraid of that picture.

Shari said...


(hums to herself while making baloney sandwich....)

tiff said...

OMG - too much. I am SO using this in the carnival!!!!!

Hyperion said...

This was cool, man. I feel privileged to have read it.