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.
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.
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 ...
So exciting to be sifting through all the submissions for our Race to the Stars anthology. It's been fun reading these independently and now we come together as editors to hammer out a shortlist together. Editing pencils at the ready!
As the new Space Race gathers momentum with Elon Musk's latest launch of a 'Blade Runner Cybertruck', destined for Mars, Space Cat Press boldly pushes on with our own mission. This month we're celebrating our first book award, opening a submission window for our first anthology and speaking to local astronomers at the National Space Centre. It's busy up here on the star-trail!
Talking of reaching for the stars and finding Earth, can we all doff our helmets to Alexei Leonev who passed away this week? What an extraordinary man. In those early days of space travel, the Space Race recruited plenty of courageous explorers. But rarely were they so articulate about what they experienced, so artistic in their vision. Leonev is best known for undertaking the first ever space walk or EVA. His own paintings show him as a white suit hanging on an umbilical cord above the blue planet. The dark visor reflects the deep, leaves us to guess the emotions of a man untethered from his homeworld.
As Space X's Starship rocket takes to the skies this October, Space Cat Press unveils our own out-of-this-world series of launch events. Our first title, Desert Moonfire: The Men Who Raced to Space is now on sale. To mark its lift-off, we invite you to a book fair, a FREE writing workshop and a book launch featuring model rockets, moon cake, and an explosive story! All this and our first open submission window coming up.
Does the world need another movie about a middle-aged white man riding a spaceship into the dark to save the world? AD ASTRA is a conspicuously old-fashioned film. Yet its weary dystopian mood belies the gripping space adventure tropes. The movie’s true subject is how the Right Stuff of Space Race heroism morphed into the Toxic Maculinity of our own age. As Brad Pitt pursues long-lost father Tommy Lee Jones to the ends of the solar system, the male heart-to-heart has never been more one-way or awkward.