Sunday, December 1, 2013

The ten best fictional astronauts

Tom Lamont, a journalist for the Observer, tagged his ten best fictional astronauts. One of the space travelers best known from the printed page:
Barbicane, Nicholl and Ardan
Around the Moon (1870)

A “projectile car” in the shape of a bullet conveys a trio of explorers (brainy Barbicane, brawny Nicholl and ludicrous Ardan) on their orbit around the moon in Jules Verne’s novella. Surely no astronauts have departed from the Earth’s atmosphere in such comfort: in an early illustrated edition, the trio were pictured on a pillowed couch, smoking cigars. When their trip takes a turn for the worse, imperilling their lives, the Frenchmen distract themselves by having breakfast – “crowned by a glorious bottle drawn from [Ardan’s] private cellar.” [illustration at right by Émile-Antoine Bayard and Alphonse de Neuville for the 1872 edition]
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue