Michaeline: Settings in Space

book cover

Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space by Kitmacher, Miller and Pealman, goes on sale on October 30, 2018 (image from Amazon)

I know at least one other Lady has set a story in outer space (Kay Keppler, Zero Gravity Outcasts), so this may be of interest. Friend of the blog, Ron Miller, is coming out with a new book on October 30 about the art of the space station. Time magazine calls Ron “one of the most prolific and celebrated space artists of our time”. His co-authors are Gary Kitmacher (one of the architectural managers for the International Space Station according to the NASA website) and Robert Pearlman (space historian and collector, according to NPR’s Planet Money, in an interesting segment about what astronauts did for life insurance – it doesn’t involve an insurance agent!).

The book, Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space, will cover both real and fictional space stations. The Amazon blurb says the work covers early 19th century ideas of what a space station would be like, so that’s fertile ground for steampunkers, and the book also goes into the future. We’ll also see how people actually live on a space station.

book cover

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach came out in 2010. (Image from Amazon)

If you are planning a space story, and would like even more quirky details, I can recommend Mary Roach’s excellent Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. In all her non-fiction, the woman asks the questions that I never knew I wanted to know. She reports on all sorts of things that leave quite a permanent impression. There’s this bit that I’ll never forget about how scientists determined how long an astronaut could wear an undershirt before it dissolved under the astronaut’s own grime and movement. Roach writes with humor and verve, and always manages to dig out some little-known study that provides the real, gritty details of whatever topic she’s writing about.

Even if you don’t want to write about people in space, it’s worthwhile to think about the setting, architecture and funny little stories that accompany your book. Monty Python’s medieval sketches wouldn’t have been quite as funny if they weren’t anchored in Terry Jones’ scholarship. (Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives is a beautiful book, and a great read, as well.)

Also, just because Halloween is coming up on Wednesday, here’s a link to a Dracula cover on Ron Miller’s website. (-: The image is gorgeous, and you just can’t help smiling at the humor.

Michaeline: Addams Family Archetypes

In a gazebo in winter, Morticia is looking at an X-ray, Gomez is showing the children and Grandmama a shrunken head of himself, and Uncle Fester is busying himself with a mysterious instrument. (A piccolo? A hacksaw? A stereopticon?)

Before the TV show, there was the cartoon. The Addams family share a warm family gathering. (A bookcover, via Wikimedia Commons)

Happy Halloween, y’all! Today, I have a little fun with the characters from the Addams Family. If you don’t know about them, please take some time to dig up (har-har) some of the old Charles Addams cartoons from the New Yorker. Or the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation. Such a lovely, spooky sensibility that plays with the border between “normal” and “weird.” Perfect for today, the traditional border between autumn and cold, hungry winter.

Morticia Addams: She is the Goddess stereotype. As a tempting maiden, she drives her husband crazy. But she also is a fruitful mother of two children. And her calm demeanor and mysterious taste in all things home and hearth make her rather crone-like. She owns her domain, and dominates it.

Gomez Addams: He’s apparently an entrepreneur and he’s obviously a very rich man. Continue reading