Norman Mailer's MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11 Is Getting a Special 50th Anniversary Release from TASCHEN

TASCHEN
TASCHEN

July 20 of this year will mark the semicentennial of the Apollo 11 moon landing. In celebration of this historic mission, TASCHEN is releasing a special 50th anniversary edition of its book MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11.

The book features text by Norman Mailer, whose original work was titled Of a Fire on the Moon when it was first published in Life magazine. Mailer, who is famous for his role in the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and '70s, reportedly finished this 115,000-word piece on a tight deadline less than three weeks after the astronauts returned to Earth.

The photos are perhaps the real standout, though. "This volume includes hundreds of images sourced from the NASA vaults, magazine archives, and private collections, documenting the lead up to, aftermath, and breathtaking moments of that giant leap for mankind," TASCHEN writes in its description of the 348-page hardcover book.

In one section, there's a full-page photo of astronauts Ted Freeman, Buzz Aldrin, and Charlie Bassett floating around in NASA's KC135 aircraft—which was aptly nicknamed the "Vomit Comet"—as part of a zero-gravity training exercise. However, Aldrin would be the only one to make it to space, as both Freeman and Bassett ended up dying in aircraft accidents.

Another photo shows a close-up look at Aldrin's boot as he leaves a footprint on the moon. There are also shots of Neil Armstrong, taken by Aldrin on a 16-mm film camera, as he takes his first lunar steps. Then he uttered the famous words that we all know today: "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”

A page of the book
TASCHEN

A photo of a footprint on the moon
TASCHEN

The book, which will be released in June, can be pre-ordered for $50 on TASCHEN's website.

Lost Sketches From The Little Prince Have Been Discovered in Switzerland

Oleksandr Samolyk, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Oleksandr Samolyk, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, published in 1943, has long been regarded as one of the most compelling books of the 20th century. Drawing upon Saint-Exupéry's own experiences in aviation, the book tells the tale of a pilot who crashes in the Sahara and befriends a little boy who claims to have come from outer space. The book is accompanied by a number of illustrations by Saint-Exupéry. Now, Smithsonian reports that some of the original preparatory sketches have surfaced.

According to France24.com, the sketches—of the titular Little Prince chatting with a fox, a boa constrictor devouring an elephant, and a character called the Tippler—were purchased at auction in 1986 by an art collector named Bruno Stefanini, who tucked them away in a folder. When Stefanini passed away in December 2018, the artwork—drawn on airmail paper—was uncovered by workers at his non-profit Foundation for Art, Culture, and History in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Aviator and 'The Little Prince' author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is photographed inside of an airplane cockpit in 1935
Aviator and The Little Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in 1935.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The organization intends to share its findings with the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, which currently houses the original book manuscript (including drafts of the book's most famous phrase, "What is essential is invisible to the eye") and 35 other sketches.

The Stefanini collection also includes a particularly personal piece of material. One of the sketches includes a love letter made out to Saint-Exupéry's wife while the pilot was in New York in 1942 following Germany’s invasion of France. It was there he wrote The Little Prince, which was published the following year. In 1944, Saint-Exupéry was shot down by a German pilot over the Mediterranean.

[h/t Smithsonian]

George R.R. Martin Doesn't Think Game of Thrones Was 'Very Good' For His Writing Process

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

No one seems to have escaped the fan fury over the finals season of Game of Thrones. While likely no one got it quite as bad as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, even author George R.R. Martin—who wrote A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series upon which the show is based, faced backlash surrounding the HBO hit. The volatile reaction from fans has apparently taken a toll on both Martin's writing and personal life.

In an interview with The Guardian, the acclaimed author said he's sticking with his original plan for the last two books, explaining that the show will not impact them. “You can’t please everybody, so you’ve got to please yourself,” he stated.

He went on to explain how even his personal life has taken a negative turn because of the show. “I can’t go into a bookstore any more, and that used to be my favorite thing to do in the world,” Martin said. “To go in and wander from stack to stack, take down some books, read a little, leave with a big stack of things I’d never heard of when I came in. Now when I go to a bookstore, I get recognized within 10 minutes and there’s a crowd around me. So you gain a lot but you also lose things.”

While fans of the book series are fully aware of the author's struggle to finish the final two installments, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, Martin admitted that part of the delay has been a result of the HBO series, and fans' reaction to it.

“I don’t think [the series] was very good for me,” Martin said. “The very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day … I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.'"

Still, Martin has sworn that the books will get finished ... he just won't promise when.

[h/t The Guardian]

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