I hope so. I’ll keep listening….
quinta-feira, 23 de outubro de 2014
This Week in Fiction: Tom Hanks
By Deborah Treisman
October 20, 2014
I’m guessing that your story in this week’s issue, “Alan Bean Plus Four,” was inspired by your work in the 1995 movie “Apollo 13” and on the 1998 HBO series “From the Earth to the Moon,” which you co-produced. How far back does your interest in moon travel go?
The Gemini Program was part of my school day when the missions launched. We were marched to the Cafetorium to sit on the linoleum floor in front of a wheeled-in TV, where we’d usually wait through an hour or so of a hold, then give up and head back to the classroom with the rocket still onscreen, smoldering on the pad.
The romance of space travel got hold of me—the men in cool-looking helmets and such. My mind went berserk when Ed White did his space walk. The Life photos were so crystal clear and detailed, and there was Earth, under his dangling feet, his face hidden by that gold visor. (I wondered how he looked inside that helmet. Smiling? Sweating heavy?) And I felt a sort of glory and power in the idea of humans beating the vacuum of space and making it a few hundred miles above the rest of us. I built the plastic models—the more authentic the better—to play with, on my bed, on the floor, creating missions of my own. I gave up the nineteen-fifties-style rocket ships for the approved Apollo designs, even before any Apollo flew.
When Apollo 8 went around the moon over Christmas of 1968, I watched the long broadcast live on TV—it was a special, sponsored by Western Electric. I was counting the days til whenever the first landing would be; it seemed like it would take forever.
Alan Bean was the fourth person to walk on the moon, as part of the Apollo 12 mission. Do you think that he’s been neglected in the annals of astronaut history? Is this story an attempt to redress that?
I think Alan Bean should be a household name, along with Jack Schmitt, Dave Scott, John Young—all of the dozen guys who walked on the moon. They aren’t—ah, well. Alan is probably the only example of a guy who was really changed by his trip to the moon. He’d been a military guy, a jet pilot, an astronaut, he was on Skylab, etc. Then he came back and took up painting, something he hadn’t done prior to that. Now he’s a full-time artist.
Among NASA folk, Al Bean is a legend. But what he (and the others) did deserves more attention—more fanfare, perhaps—than he/they have received. So says me, anyway.
Obviously the story isn’t meant to be realistic, but do you think there will come a time when we’ll all be building moon rockets in our Oxnard driveways?
Nope. There is so little margin of error and the cost is huge. No one will go to the moon for a few hundred years. Dave Scott told me, ‘Look, it was five hundred years between the Norse sailors’ first seeing America (Martha’s Vineyard, they say) and the Plymouth Bay Colony,’ so such things take time. The requirements are money, development, lots of work, sure, but also a reason to go and the will to make it happen. That’s a complicated combination of factors.
You seem to be doing all right in your first choice of careers. Why start writing fiction now?
I’ve been around great storytellers all my life and, like an enthusiastic student, I want to tell some of my own. And I read so much nonfiction that the details stack up in my head and need a rearranging sometimes.
Do you have any literary heroes?
Do you mean writers? Chaim Potok and, currently, Alan Furst. Their fiction is based in nonfiction, but all about human behavior. And Richard Ben Cramer and David McCullough. Stephen Ambrose.Are there more stories to come?
I hope so. I’ll keep listening….
Posted by Francisco Augusto Vaz Brasil at 20:46