Everyone loves a good cosmic event, and as earthlings, we are especially obsessed with our slimmer, sleeker neighbor, the moon. Tonight, the ‘Super Moon’ will appear in the sky, blowing the minds of black cats, werewolves and stargazers everywhere. We see the Super Moon when the moon gets full at the same time as its orbit brings it to its closest point to earth, a coincidence that only happens every twenty years or so, so it’s a pretty special night. And because we like to herald every natural event with nerdery (and assuming that no one is going to fall for the Great Moon Hoax again) we thought we’d celebrate by collecting a little late night reading list to prepare you for tonight’s moon-watching activities. Click through to bone up on your lunar literature with our essential Super Moon reading list, and let us know which of your favorite moon-based books we’ve missed.
Cosmicomics — Italo Calvino
Each of the twelve stories in Calvino’s charming collection imagines what would happen if an (often misguided ) “fact” about the universe were true. In the first story, “The Distance of the Moon,” the moon would once come so close to the earth every night that lovers could climb aboard (via a ladder and boat contraption) and pass the night away together, scooping spoonfuls of moon milk and frolicking. Once the moon began to recede, however, all the moonstruck lovers had to decide whether to stay or go.
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress — Robert A. Heinlein
Though there have been many many science fiction novels written about travel to/life on/politics of the moon, and many of those also by Heinlein himself, we venture that this is the best. Or at least our favorite. It’s 2075, and the moon has become an Australia of sorts – filled with “Loonies” who are generally exiles from society. Then the computer that controls the entire lunar world develops awareness and starts laughing at dirty jokes. Plus, where else would we have learned TANSTAAFL? Also check out Heinlein’s short story “Columbus Was A Dope” which is about a bunch of people arguing about Columbus in a bar. On the moon.
These books, which predated the Apollo 11 moon landing by more than a decade, are worth it for Snowy’s spacesuit and Thompson and Thomson’s hair growth alone. Also they’re wonderful. But you already know we’re suckers for Tintin.
Moon Palace — Paul Auster
Of the novel, Auster said, “The moon is many things all at once, a touchstone. It’s the moon as myth, as ‘radiant Diana, image of all that is dark within us’; the imagination, love, madness. At the same time, it’s the moon as object, as celestial body, as lifeless stone hovering in the sky. But it’s also the longing for what is not, the unattainable, the human desire for transcendence… But the moon is also repetition, the cyclical nature of human experience. There are three stories in the book, and each one is finally the same. Each generation repeats the mistakes of the previous generation.” Also there was a student hangout near Columbia called Moon Palace when Auster went there. But probably no relation.
The Little Prince — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Though he’s never technically on a moon, the planets our Prince visits have the dreamy feel of lunar habitats, so we just couldn’t resist. Plus, in 2003, an actual asteroid moon was named Petit-Prince after the character. So, there’s that. On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
The Werewolf of Paris — Guy Endore
Well, we had to include a werewolf book. This 1933 novel is one of the classics, a true horror novel that starts with a woman getting molested by a priest and ends in multiple suicides. The werewolf’s name is Bertrand. Read this one by the light of the moon tonight and see if you feel a tingling in your canines.