This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which revealed a new visual perspective of humans’ home planet, set in the deep suspension of a newly documented outer space. The fiction writer Don DeLillo incorporated that image into a short story, in which one character aboard an orbiting space station becomes transfixed by the look of Earth at a distance. The astronaut Chris Hadfield took thousands of photographs during his own, real-life orbit, which he published in a book for people who may never get to enjoy the same view.
Even before space travel became a reality, the imaginative looks at the galaxy in Francis Godwin’s and Margaret Cavendish’s 17th-century science fiction may have helped to inspire deeper exploration into the unknown. A novel by the security theorists Peter Singer and August Cole describes, in thrilling detail, how a war in space could play out. And Lorrie Moore’s short stories capture the oddity of human nature by imagining people as aliens.
Each week in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Check out past issues here.
Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email.
What We’re Reading
The view from the moon “satisfies every childlike curiosity”
“The planet ‘fills his consciousness,’ DeLillo writes, ‘the answer to a lifetime of questions and vague cravings.’”