If we are to colonise the Moon in the 21st century and send crewed voyages to Mars, we need to know this venture is for ALL of us. It’s the human story, or it’s not worth telling. Any successful long-term mission will have to draw upon the skills of a multi-cultural and gendered crew, in order to deal with the challenges, psychological, social and technical, of deep space exploration. Our 'Uncharted Constellations' anthology writers approached this theme by celebrating space history’s ‘Hidden Figures’, as well as crafting science-fiction that imagines that bold future for all of us.
The scientists and storytellers, who paved the way for the 1969 lunar landing, always saw that feat as a stepping-stone to the wider cosmos. Yet for their political masters, the decade’s dash to the moon was the end-point of this Cold War race. It has taken another 50 years to make Lunar and Martian colonies a serious possibility with NASA's Artemis mission and Elon Musk’s planned crewed mission to Mars, both in 2024. What does this mean for our identity as a species? Are we all citizens of the world now, or of the universe?
Were the astronauts of the 1960s human pioneers or Cold War warriors? Undoubtedly the prevailing narrative has been one of stoical men strapped into tin boxes and flung into an adventure whose dangers and discomforts most of us could barely imagine. A glamour clung to the Apollo astronauts, who were mythologised before they even flew. Icarus-like, they lived hard and dabbled with mortality. The mythology of the Apollo era is teased apart in the first section of our 'Uncharted Constellations' anthology, titled Moon Warriors.
This week, we revealed our front cover design for Space Cat's forthcoming anthology, 'Uncharted Constellations'. We'll be trailing this book-rocket through our summer skies, before inviting you to a live launch on our new You-Tube channel on Sunday 13th September. But right now, we're going to part the veil of that purple gaseous cloud and take a peek at the hidden stars inside the nebula. Twenty writers made it onto the final roster and our Preface introduces each of them, along with some key themes of the collection. As the back-blurb says, ' between the strangeness of space and the loneliness of long-distance missions, you will find the human heart refracted in a myriad of ways.'
It's all party hats and helium balloons here in the Space Cat module this weekend! Bring on the LED candles and microwaved chocolate cake! We can't quite believe that it's only twelve months since we staggered onto the launch pad with our little indie micro-press. And we're delighted to be marking our one-year anniversary, not just with baked treats, but with a cover reveal for our first anthology. Step aboard for a peek!
Five days after George Floyd died under a policeman’s knee, the sleek Crew Dragon rocket soared into Florida’s skies. Americans were invited to ‘stop everything’ to watch a live stream of the launch. A collaboration between NASA and Elon Musk’s Space X company, it was the first commercial craft to bear astronauts from US soil to the ISS space station. Cameras captured astonishing close-ups of the rocket’s first stage plunging back to Earth for a perfect landing on a drone-ship. Billed as a ‘Launch America’ mission, the event saw President Trump boast of making America ‘number one on Earth’ and ‘making space great again’. Yet even as NASA director Jim Bridenstine evoked the spirit of 1969 ‘to bring people together’, the country was convulsed with #BlackLivesMatter protests. For all the suspense and glory of that fiery cigarette stub streaking through the blue, it couldn’t distract us from the cities burning below. If anything, their juxtaposition only recalled the Space Race’s dark subtext.
We had an absolute blast at the e-book launch on Friday and were blown away by the support we received from all of you. So, here's a huge Space Cat thank you for all those who liked and shared our posts, those who kept us entertained with witty comments and antidotes, and especially those who have taken advantage of the sale on our shop page and gotten their hands on Desert Moonfire at a discounted price.
So that was one crazy, fun-filled ride through space in a tin rocket! On Friday 29th May at 17.00 hours GMT, Space Cat Press hosted our first ever virtual book launch LIVE on our Twitterfeed. Our little module was crammed with space buffs and book lovers who had beamed aboard for the craic. Though we were buffeted occasionally by solar winds and broadband glitches, our trusty craft held true. Meanwhile, the ship's cat skedaddled into a corner for a nap. Huge thanks to all who joined us for the book party. And it's not over yet ...
It's Day 16 of our countdown to the virtual launch of Space Cat's first e-book; Desert Moonfire: The Men Who Raced to Space. As the clock ticks towards our Virtual LIVE Launch on Friday 29th May at 5-6pm on Space Cat's Twitterfeed, we are buzzing with excitement. To celebrate the moment, we have a week of Prizes, GoodyBags & Discounts to share with you. Details below. Don't miss the fun and look out for us on Twitter at 5pm each day this week: https://twitter.com/SpaceCatPress
One of the things that’s always fascinated me about humans in space is their profound seclusion. Think about cosmonauts cooped up in those tiny modules of the Space Age. Or those Apollo Lunar Commanders who sailed around the Far Side of the Moon utterly alone, out of Comms. reach. Even with his strumming guitar, who could be lonelier than Bowie’s Major Tom communing with a crackly Ground Control? ‘I'm feeling very still.’ So as we Earthlings weather a lockdown we never trained for, what can we learn from astronauts who’ve been doing this for years?