It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

Finger on the Zeitgeist


So I started writing Adrift on the Sea of Rains sometime in 2010, and then the film Apollo 18 was released in September 2011 – although I didn’t publish my book until April 2012. And then I wrote The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself about a mission to Mars, and published that in January 2013… by which point Andy Weir’s self-published novel The Martian was doing so well, it was bought by a publisher for six figures who then published it in January 2014, and now it’s being made into a movie by Ridley Scott. I decided to write about the Mercury 13 for Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above, and so does Kelly Sue DeConnick in Captain Marvel, which was collected as In Pursuit of Flight in late 2013. And BBC Radio 4 broadcasts a documentary on the Mercury 13 in November 2014. And for the final book of the Apollo Quartet, I’m focusing on the wives of the Apollo astronauts, and among the books I’ve used for research is Lily Koppel’s The Astronaut Wives Club… which has been adapted for television by ABC and will be broadcast in spring 2015…


So it’s not just me writing about these things, but on the other hand it’s not like I’m getting any benefit from their appearances in popular culture. Clearly my marketing department is not doing its job properly…

4 thoughts on “Finger on the Zeitgeist

  1. That’s a funny set of karmic parallels, Ian

  2. From the cast list I saw, that ABC series is focusing on the Mercury wives. No doubt you’ve seen the From The Earth To The Moon TV series, episode 11 of which is The Original Wives’ Club, concentrating on the Apollo wives.

    It’s mildly interesting stuff but I doubt there’s any mileage in a drama about people who reached the finalist stage (32 candidates) of astronaut selection but were not picked – too unfocused. I recently read Selecting The Mercury Seven (Colin Burgess, Praxis) and that looks at the bios of all the people who missed out at that last hurdle. The range and varied longevity of careers was remarkable. One finalist (Halvor Ekeren) was killed in a flying accident the day before the Mercury 7 were introduced to the world at their famous press conference in early 1959. Another (Thomas Hayward) became the US Navy’s top officer (Chief of Naval Operations) and thus the Navy part of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, retiring in 1982 and still alive at 90.

    And three failed-first-time Mercury finalists did get picked later – Pete Conrad and Jim Lovell in the second group and Ed Givens in the fifth group (but he died in a low-speed car crash before getting a space mission). Burgess did another book, Moon Bound, about the failed finalists in the second group Next Nine selection.

    • Yes, I’ve seen From The Earth To The Moon, and I’m rewatching it as research. The Astronaut Wives Club book also focuses on the Original Seven wives – the club itself was founded by Louise Shepard and Marge Slayton – but does cover some of the other wives as well.

      I’ve got a couple of Burgess books, and a couple he did with Francis French.

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