Communion Of Dreams

Man Conquers Space.

It is said that it was a single photograph taken by one of Columbia’s crew during Christmas 1961 that changed the course of history. Showing the Earth from the perspective of the Moon changed the mind of the commander of Eagle One from claiming the Moon in the name of the United States (as required by his military commanders) to claiming the Moon for all mankind. After Eagle One’s touchdown in July 1963, followed closely by Eagles Two and Three, the Moon becomes a new and vigorous outpost of humanity. Successive missions range far and wide over Earth’s satellite, discovering sites that in the decades to come would become bases, sources for mining resources, and even a large colony.

Celebrating the early history of space exploration and eventual exploitation, leading up to the recent landings of three manned missions on Mars is a fantastic new documentary: Man Conquers Space.

Wait a second . . . say what?

Via Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy comes news of the Paleo-Future project, an excellent alternative-history of the middle and end of the 20th century. From the website for the project:

This film is based on an alternative timeline to the Mercury-Gemini-Apollo era of reality – it is based on the premise that all that had been proposed in the early 1950’s in Collier’s actually came to pass – and sooner than they expected.

Through the expert use of special visual effects and computer-generated imagery (CGI), the world of wonder and imagination expressed though Collier’s has become real. The film Man Conquers Space looks like a documentary made today, and is peppered with archival footage from the dawn of the space age during WWII, through to today, narrated by the people who were there – the engineers, the astronauts, the scientists, the visionaries, the politicians.

Wow. This sort of alternative history is what I have done as the background for Communion of Dreams, leading to a more robust space-faring tech by our own time, and setting the stage for the colonization of other planets in our system by the time of the novel 50 years hence. Fascinating.

I’m very much looking forward to the release of this movie. But in the meantime, poke around their site and check out some of the clips they have posted online.

Jim Downey


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