7.6.17

Cosmic Absurdities

S. D. Tucker. Space Oddities: Absurd Attempts to Explain the Universe. Amberley Publishing (15 Jun. 2017)

On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union’s famous satellite Sputnik was launched into orbit, and the Space Age began. Or did it? Sputnik may have marked the beginning of humanity’s physical exploration of the universe, but we had already been exploring it with our minds for thousands of years, often with some very surprising results. To mark the seventieth anniversary of Sputnik’s launch, S. D. Tucker seeks out the strange, surprising and downright silly ideas about outer-space that have arisen throughout history. 

Human beings have always gazed up at the twinkling specks of stars and wondered what exactly they are; the heavens became an inky-black canvas upon which people could project their own personal fantasies and those of the societies they lived in. From tales of crumbling canals and lost civilisations on Mars, to the Nazi theory that the universe was made of cosmic ice, to the mind-boggling proposal that flying saucers were piloted by super-intelligent alien bees with jewels for eyes, mankind has had to travel down a lot of blind alleyways before finding the answers that were needed to initiate the blast-off that finally took us to the moon. 

This entertaining and revealing book explores stories of the stars invented before Sputnik, the Space Age or modern science were even a glimmer in the eye of mankind, and follows through to consider the odd and tenuous theories about space that still exist to this day. Whether you’re intrigued by the notion of singing angels inhabiting the planets, secret houses hidden on meteorites, or alien nudist colonies on the moon, Space Oddities will offer you a sight of the weird, wacky and wonderful world that people throughout history have imagined lies beyond the stars.