Go to previous post:
Like everyone else,

Go to Electrolite's front page.

Go to next post:
The New York Times

Our Admirable Sponsors

February 1, 2003

From William Gibson:

When I was a little boy I believed passionately in space travel. I had a book by Willy Ley, with illustrations by Chesley Bonestell. The hard covers were slick and glossy, and if you ran your fingernail over them, hard, the cardboard beneath the glossy coating dented. Eventually the coating broke, and started to peel off, and the glossy night behind the stars was dull, and sticky as tar, collecting lint.

The grown son of my mother’s best friend was a pilot in the Air Force. He came to visit us, in uniform, and I showed him my Willy Ley book and told him about rockets, missiles and space travel. He said it wasn’t possible. Would never happen. That Willy Ley was wrong. That you couldn’t do that with rockets. I argued with him. It was the first time in my life, probably, that I openly disagreed with an adult.

Later on, I built kits like these:


The Monogram Space Taxi was a particular favorite, and I kept the space-suited figures long after the taxi itself had broken up and vanished.

Broken up and vanished. In the sky over Nacogdoches County. And I’m sad all the way back to the little boy with his stiff black book and his Bonestell rockets.

But Willy was right, and nobody ever said it would be risk-free.

If it were, it wouldn’t be glorious.

And it’s only with these losses that we best know that it really is.

(Thanks to Sam Gentile for the pointer.) [06:45 PM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on From William Gibson::