The Space Walk, my latest book as an author/illustrator, was launched this last Tuesday, Oct 29. I’d planned to do something as a countdown, of sorts, but that didn’t work out so instead I put this historical record together. Please enjoy, and go order a copy of The Space Walk today.
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.1: Ed White, first American to walk in space, had a copy of The Space Walk with him on his EVA. “I like the part where Randolph sees the constellations” was overheard on the NASA radio signals.
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.2: Yuri Gagarin was known to enjoy a good picture book while being the first human in space. Recently unearthed photos show him reading aloud during his mission. “One hour and 48 minutes isn’t enough to get involved in a proper sci-fi novel,” he apparently said to Pravda in 1961. “So I like a good picture book about making friends with life from other worlds!”
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.3: Everyone knows that E.T. loved Sedak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and pretty much everything Shel Silverstein ever wrote. Apparently he liked stories that hit closer to “home” as well.
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.4: Here’s a photo of Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. People have always wondered how Neil and Buzz were chosen to walk on the moon, while Michael had to stay behind and orbit in the Columbia module. Well, the reason isn’t that Collins “had to.” He chose to sit in the lunar orbiter, all alone for almost 22 hours, because he knew he’d have more time to read picture books! “I heard the moon was pretty boring,” Collins explained in an interview.
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.5: A long-lost Bugs Bunny episode was recently turned up in the dusty basement vaults of Warner Bros animation studios. Awkwardly titled “No Strangers Here, Only Martians We’ve Never Met,” this cartoon short features Marvin the Martian and Bugs Bunny sitting around reading The Space Walk together for ten minutes before hugging and walking off camera. Why it was canned, no one knows.
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.6: Astronauts Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, and the lesser-known Randolph Witherspoon. The Right Stuff indeed.
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.7: In 1957, as the story goes, an alien invasion was averted when “Bezos” and “Zebos,” The Saucer Men, were gifted a copy of The Space Walk. The story of a human astronaut befriending a space robot alien touched a nerve, a very large green nerve to be precise, and the Saucer Men called off the attack. In 1994, “Bezos” returned to earth and founded the famous website Amazon.com as a gift to all humans.
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.8: On Friday, October 18, 2019, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch ventured outside the International Space Station to replace a power controller. This spacewalk was the first ever to be performed by an all-female crew. “Repairing power controllers is boring, so I read a book while Jessica wasn’t looking, LOL.” said Koch. Both actual astronauts described The Space Walk as being “highly realistic” in its portrayal of lone astronaut Randolph Witherspoon and his adventures in space. “The part where Randolph has to do a ton of work before getting to go outside reminded me of an hour earlier when I was back in the space station, doing chores.” said Meir.
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.9: Previously unseen still image from The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1951. In the original cut of this sci-fi classic from 20th Century Fox, Klaatu, the alien, seen here with his robot-guard Gort, claims to come “in peace and with good will” and would like to give a copy of this picture book, The Space Walk, to the President of the United States. This scene was re-cut by director Robert Wise when it was realized that the book was not even published yet, and would not be for almost 70 years.
Historically significant The Space Walk sightings, no.10: This scene of total bedlam was taken March 9, 1968 at Mission Control in Houston, Texas, as Astronaut Randolph Witherspoon returned from his Space Walk in time to write his report and eat his dinner. “Spacewalk complete! When can I go out again?” was the first recorded message from Witherspoon after his extra-vehicular activity (EVA).
He went out again the very next day.