Wednesday, August 19, 2009

sf books in space

An interesting blog post over at The Guardian today lamenting the low-brow tastes of the astronauts crewing the ISS. Apparently someone used the FOIA to get a list of the books, movies, and music that the space station's crew relax with in their spare time. I'm not sure why they went to the trouble of using the FOIA since this isn't exactly sensitive information. A simple email to a NASA representative would probably have accomplished the same thing.

A quick perusal of the list shows that the people exploring the final frontier have a fair amount of sf in their orbital library. Not surprisingly, the popular authors David Weber and Lois McMaster Bujold both boast the largest number of titles. More serious authors, like Greg Bear, Walter Jon Williams, and Kim Stanley Robinson only rate one title each. Vern's 20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea appears to have two copies orbiting the earth but H. G. Wells is scandalously absent.

Interestingly, several issues of both Analog and Asimov's are available, but for some reason all the copies date from 2004. You'd think if anyone would rate a complimentary subscription it would be these people. And while there are several fantasy titles up there (including two of Piers Anthony's misogynist Xanth novels) the list is mercifully free of Harry Potter tomes. So far.

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