Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Return of Tolkien and the Space Tourist

Tolkien Lives!

It seems that the late Professor Tolkien deems us worthy enough to come back from the grave for - he's written a new book posthumously! Ok, not exactly... his son Christopher has edited together his late father's unfinished work 'The Children of Hurin' and will release it next year. I'm not sure if I've got my facts right, but I think most of the Tolkien books out there were published after he gave up the ghost. Death is no longer the obstacle it used to be. As for me, I still haven't touched The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, which have been languishing in my 'To Read' pile for at least half a decade. I may wind up taking a leaf out of Tolkien's book by reading them posthumously...

Space Tourist

As I'm sure everyone is aware, the Soyuz spaceship is now in orbit, and will be docking with the ISS tomorrow. The big news about this mission is, of course, the inclusion of Anousheh Ansari, who is first female space tourist, the first Iranian, and the fourth space tourist overall. You may have heard the name before - she was involved in funding the X-Prize a couple of years back, and is a huge proponent of the space program.

Apparently it's been her dream to go to space, and she has parted with a large amount of money to purchase her ticket from the Russian Space Program. She hopes to inspire others and to draw attention to the importance of space exploration for the future of mankind. I agree with her sentiments, and hope all goes well during her trip. She and a few others are maintaining a blog, which she will be updating from space after Soyuz docks with the ISS! She may well be the first space blogger! In the entries thus far (made while still on Terra, of course), Ms. Ansari explains in a personable manner a bit about herself, her motivations and ideals, and the training programme. It makes for an interesting read for those who are interested.

I myself cannot wait to be a space tourist, but I suspect it'll never become affordable in my lifetime, assuming space tourism takes off at all. At the very least, I hope to live to see a colony on Mars. Space Elevator, you can't come soon enough!

As a brief aside, I find it a bit depressing that the story about a man marrying a goat endured longer than the Ansari story on the BBC website's 'most read' and 'most emailed' sections.


sanity index said...

Maybe it's just me but I'm not inclined to read books/sequels by someone other than the original author. As much as I loved the Dune series I refuse to read any of Brian Herbert's stuff...though The Children of Hurin may be different because it's just "edited" by Christopher.

The Silmarillion is a feat! LotR was fun but S dragged on a tad due to the meticulous details. By the time I got to the end I sorta forgot how it began. Tolkien really created an entire mythological epic there. Still, worth a read if you're truly devoted and want to know how the LotR universe came about.

Antimatter said...

I haven't read any of Brian Herbert's books either - I've heard they lack the depth of the original works, and also contradict them in some ways. Although, to be honest, Frank Herbert kinda lost me after the first three books as well. While I appreciate that he wanted to examine political / religious machinations, he seemed to do it at the expense of an engaging story and characters. But maybe that's just me.

I believe Silmarillion was also edited by Christopher Tolkien. To my knowledge, Sil is like a collection of stories that make up the mythology of Middle Earth, of which LOTR is a mere footnote. LOTR had it's fair share of [hopping to the index to check on something], so I can only begin to imagine what reading Sil is like! I will get around to it though...