It’s been a busy month. I got my name landed on Mars, and I’ve put my characters deep into the Orion Nebula. In other words, I just finished correcting the galleys (page proofs to check the typesetting) for the hardcover edition of Sunborn. That’s pretty much the end of my work on the book. I’d promised my editor, Jim Frenkel, that I’d have them in the mail by end of day on Friday—and I got to the post office literally about thirty seconds before they were going to close the windows. Package sent, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. I like this book, but I may have read it as many times as I need to, for a while.
To help decompress, last night I wrote a letter to the editor of The Atlantic Monthly, both praising and protesting this month’s cover story, The Sky Is Falling, by Gregg Easterbrook, about the hazard to Earth from wayward asteroids and comets. Seriously, it would take just one good-sized rock from space to kack most of human civilization. So NASA’s gearing up to protect us, right? Ding. Nope. NASA’s head’s in the sand. So far, I’m with the author.
Where we part company is where he dismisses our planned return to the moon as a waste of money detracting from our ability to do other things in space, like defend ourselves from big rocks. In fact, I believe returning to the moon is the next step toward building a permanent infrastructure in space, which among other things will give us the ongoing capability to do such things as capture or divert asteroids before they can divert us (from our future).
If they don’t publish the letter (and the odds certainly are long), I’ll post it in its entirety later.
“Every morning between 9 and 12 I go to my room and sit before a piece of paper. Many times, I just sit for three hours with no ideas coming to me. But I know one thing. If an idea does come between 9 and 12 I am there ready for it.” —Flannery O’Connor