“You See, I Had This Space Suit”

You see, I had this space suit.

How it happened was like this: “Dad,” I said, “I want to go to the moon.”

“Certainly,” he answered and looked back at his book. It was Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, which he must know by heart.

I said, “Dad, please! I’m serious.”

This time he closed the book on a finger and said gently, “I said it was all right. Go ahead.”

“Yes … but how?

“Eh?” He looked mildly suprised. “Why, that’s your problem, Clifford.”

(Opening lines from Robert A. Heinlein’s Have Space Suit—Will Travel)

I remember when I in elementary school, and the short Saturday-morning “In the News” program predicted that, if one were 25 years of age or younger, it would be possible to vacation on the moon in one’s lifetime.

Despite our different focus in our government-sponsored space program, new materials science and technology, the availability of massive amounts of private capital, and the undying dream of human space exploration and even tourism, are working to make those predictions a reality.

See my post Have Space Ship—Will Travel, as well as other Wilcox Family BLOG posts regarding NASA and Space.

Here is just one such example of what is developing, with a view for what wonders the next 20 years may bring:

Wired: The “Moon Could Be Next Tourist Trap.”

Space tourism is already a reality for those wealthy enough to afford it. But just like transcontinental voyages and air travel, space will open up for the common man.

Time to start buying Skyway Soap …

8 Replies to ““You See, I Had This Space Suit””

  1. Can we start taking up a collection? Call it the “Send-Doug-to-the-moon fund?”
    If you collect enough, can I go too?

  2. Hey Doug,
    I found your blog! And I immediately noticed the book references. 😉 I have Three Men in a Boat, but it’s in the “to read” pile. And you made me realize I have only read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. I guess I never stopped to investigate what else he had written.
    Thanks to you, I had the urge for SciFi again and returned to my perennial favorite atheist SciFi author-Ray Bradbury. I read Something Wicked This Way Comes and enjoyed every minute of it. Do you know if it’s the same character as in The Illustrated Man? It’s been a while since I read that. Of course, The Martian Chronicles would be my ultimate favorite collection of his.
    Right now I’m reading The Art of the Personal Essay. It starts with a precursor—Seneca the Younger in 1st Century Rome. What a hoot to read about the noises he can hear from his lodging up over a public bath in Rome! What a great resource for reading about what life was like in Rome at the time of Christ and the first church. I ordered a book of his personal essays to share with my SS kids (I’ll read them first, of course.) Here’s an excerpt: “When the strenuous types are doing their exercises…I hear the grunting as they toil away…on top of this some ball player comes along and starts shouting out the score…the man who likes the sound of his voice in the bath, and the people who leap into the pool with a tremendous splash …” Doesn’t this sound familiar?! Just imagine … some guy singing in the shower (bath) and someone doing cannonballs into the pool – it just makes it seem so real, even though almost 2000 years have passed. THAT’S how history needs to be taught!

  3. I’ve loved Bradbury since age 8, when I read his short story “All Summers in a Day,” which left me chilled by the portrayal of the cruelty children can inflict on other children they perceive as different. I didn’t pay attention to the author, and it was years later when I started devouring Bradbury, beginning with The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, and rapidly building up my collection, that I discovered he had written that story I had read in third grade.

    I’m not sure about The Illustrated Man versus Something Wicked This Way Comes. I have a vague recollection, though, that you are correct about the characters.

    I have never read Three Men in a Boat. It was only recently that I learned it was a real book. The passage about Kip’s father is somewhat ironic, too, because I read Have Space Suit about once a year, and nearly know that book by heart.

    The essay book sounds wonderful. I look forward to hearing more about it, especially how useful it has been in Sunday school. You really ought to start a book BLOG.

    If you’ve only read Stranger in a Strange Land, you have missed Heinlein at his best. I find his “adult” books to be (often) too “adult” in the wrong way. Stranger is at about my margin of tolerance. I highly recommend Have Space Suit—Will Travel, Starship Troopers, and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

  4. Oh, I also learned, never, never, never suggest that Bradbury’s “The Small Assassin” would make good reading for one’s wife when she is hospitalized with preeclampsia. (See the text and comments on this post.)

  5. When I was pregnant I could only read Agatha Christie without crying. Seriously! (Guys, ya just have to understand…it’s not our fault.) Recently I decided to reread “Murder on the Nile” after visiting Egypt. I honestly don’t know what I had enjoyed about it the first time! I was disappointed that she didn’t go into more detail about the actual Egyptian terrain. Her second husband was an archeaologist and she was in the field with him in Syria between the wars. Her little book about the experience,”Tell Me How You Live”, is just wonderful and very funny. It also gives a unique look at the Middle East prior to heavy European influence. Very Interesting. One of the funniest parts was their constant fight with their Armenian driver who was always trying to run down any Arab shepherds or elderly ladies he saw walking. (He never succeeded, fortunately. But they had some wild rides with him driving.) Hard feelings go waaay back in that area, as you know.
    I’d love to write a blog about books, but next week I start Greek II and another Bible class. I won’t have time to get too distracted. Though I’m sure my family and friends would prefer me to write my own blog than to usurp theirs. 😉
    [Btw…I forgot about Farenheit 451. That’s on my all time favorite list! Big surprise. ;)I cry when they burn those books!]

  6. P.S. I read “Stranger” before I knew the Lord, so I’m sure I’d see it differently now. Thanks for the suggestions for his more appropriate books. After mentioning Neil Gaiman to you, I started reading “Snow Crash”, one of his most famous, but it was just too much language for me. If you want a fun fantasy (though NOT technical) try the new children’s book “Summerland”. It’s a blend of American Indian, Norse, Celtic and Greek myths. There are four worlds attached through a tree (American Indian myth) and all are in danger of being destroyed. The common element among all the worlds and the thing that can save them is…baseball! (And the tree, of course, is ash.;) I’d only recommend it for older kids, because its world view has good & evil being of equal strength, with the outcome uncertain. For adults and older kids it’s a good discussion book for discernment…and it’s fun.

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