Monday, March 2, 2015

SF Mini: "A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Star" by Kathleen Ann Goonan

Illustration / Cover by Wesley Allsbrook
Recommended by Locus Magazine. This novelette was acquired and edited for Tor.com by consulting editor Ellen Datlow. A novelette that’s science fiction by association.

This novelette, set in the post 1950s, brought back memories of that moment when I first heard that man landed on the moon -- the wonder, hope and dreams. At the time, I owned a children's picture book about Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's first journey into outer space, and was already stung by the "space bug."

This touching and nostalgic story is about a little girl, the daughter of a rocket scientist working on those first space modules for NASA, who dreams of becoming an astronaut. Her parents encourage her despite the fact that at that time girls and women were not expected to want careers based on science, much less to harbor dreams of becoming an astronaut. I love the connection Ann Goonan makes with Walt Disney's building of Tomorrowland and to the detailed documentaries aired by Disney describing plans for future space travel.

This original story's connection to science fiction is tenuous at best, however as it was posted in honor of Tor.com's sixth birthday, I believe that for that purpose it works well. This historical event sparked the imagination of adults and children alike. Personally, I can't believe the nostalgic feelings of wonder the story brought back!

Read online at Tor.com. Buy it here.

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