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Up In Space
A Poem with a Book Review!
Today’s poem is right up there 🚀.
Alright, poem starts in 3… 2… 1!
And there it was! The day that she went up to outer space. She had one of the very biggest smiles upon her face! She wore an awesome spacesuit floating round in Zero G. She looked down at the mountains and she looked down at the seas! She looked around, and saw the stars, and saw the planets too. She saw so many pretty sights, and many pretty views! She felt a sense of happiness for having seen those sights. For having seen how small she was against the cosmic might. She looked down at our planet, hanging in the void of space. She looked around and felt right then, a true sense of our place. She knew right then, the pointlessness, of ego, fights and wars. Of anger, spite and battlegrounds, of conflict and of force. She saw that we exist for but a blip in cosmic time. Upon a tiny, fragile ball, that's briefly in its prime. She knew right then, the purpose with which she must live her life. It would be to protect this planet, make it free of strife. And thus, when she returned to Earth from heavens up above. She lived a life that changed the world. She lived a life of love.
That’s it! Thanks for reading edition 114 of Hello Universe.
I’m trying a new format today, where I give more context about the poem after the poem itself. If you have any thoughts about this new format, please share them in the comments or as a reply to this email. I would be thoroughly obliged to receive your feedback!
More About The Poem
I’m reading Andy Weir’s “Project Hail Mary”.
I have liked Andy a lot since I read his short story “The Egg” 8 years ago. A short story that I can say with certainty, made me more empathetic as a person. Go read it, I think it will be 5 minutes well spent.
I followed that up by watching the movie “The Martian” around the same time, and then listening to its audiobook with a fantastic narration by R.C. Bray (which is apparently unavailable since it was replaced with a narration by… Will Wheaton?)
And now, after many years, I got my hands on a new Andy Weir book - Project Hail Mary, which came out more than 2 years ago. I had been saving it up for a while, as I was knee-deep in my multiple fascinations with music, philosophy, and weirder sci-fi. But as of today, I have already blazed through 24 of the 30 chapters in this audiobook, fantastically narrated by Ray Porter. By the way, this narration won “Audiobook of the Year”, it’s that good.
The book is classic Andy Weir. It is about an astronaut stranded in space. Just like The Martian. But this protagonist (named Ryland Grace) goes on an even trippier trip than Mark Watney, through interstellar distances and interplanetary hijinks. Most importantly, it is just as nail-bitingly gripping and scientifically fascinating.
I’ve always believed that the best sci-fi is an extrapolation of reality as it already is, and Project Hail Mary is exactly that. Each event in the book feels like it could happen to us today, and each decision that Ryland Grace has to take feels like an equivalent to something you and I might have to grapple with. Well, we don’t exactly save humanity everyday, but let’s just say that such high stakes don’t get in the way of simple relatability.
I am thoroughly enjoying this book so far, and for this edition of Hello Universe, the book inspired me to republish a poem I had written long before my Hello Universe days. It’s a poem that talks about an astronaut’s view from space. It was written to address my thirst for wanting to experience “The Overview Effect”. The Overview Effect is a profound shift in perspective experienced by astronauts when they see Earth from space. It's a realization of the intricate interconnectedness of all life on our delicate blue marble. It's a transformative moment, fostering a sense of unity, shared responsibility, and an awakened duty to protect our only home.
Thanks for coming to space with me. Find “Some Fun Stuff” down below.
Some Fun Stuff
1. Read the inspiration behind today’s poem, “Project Hail Mary”: You already read the fawning review above, now all you gotta do is check it out for yourself! By the way, the film version is already on its way and you can expect Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone to be the lead characters.
2. Listen to Figure 8 by C418: My hyperfocus track these days. If you have something as hypnotic as this track in your collection, please do me a favor - suggest it in the comments. I’m DIGGING it!
3. Watch this guy who came to India to learn about Bollywood movies: When someone from another country decides to come to mine to understand its culture better, I feel a sense of gratitude for their genuine curiosity. Patrick has a great film essay channel and his newest video delving into Bollywood is a joy to watch. For Indians, it rekindles fond memories, while for newcomers, it's an enticing gateway into the vibrant world of Bollywood. Check it out!