Thirty nine years ago much of my large and obstreperous birth family was huddled around our little black-and-white TV trying to make sense of the grainy images we saw there. Ostensibly they represented the outside of the LEM and we were waiting for Neil Armstrong to step out and take the first step that any human being would take on a world besides the Earth.

And we waited.

And we waited.

And we waited.

Finally I heard my brother Michael intoning in a nasal NASA™ monotone, “Houston… Houston… the string is broken…”

Most of us started rolling around on the floor laughing; my father was furious; and I’m not sure the uproar in the room had died down when the rest of the world heard this.

But that’s sort of how my memories of the space program go. I don’t associate it with science fiction at all. Before I was reading science fiction, or anything, I was used to Saturday morning cartoons being pre-empted by news of the Gemini Program. Space flight wasn’t a dream; it was mundane, though sometimes interesting, reality–sort of like political campaigns.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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