I ran across this description of Alfonso Cuaron’s film, “Gravity,” which I had noted earlier had eerie similarities to the plot of my novel, “Gravity.” Here’s how the film is summarized according to “Scriptshadow”:
‘Everything that can go wrong does go wrong as the movie becomes a series of near death experiences. Ryan must jump from point to point – whether it be to a vessel, a station, or an oxygen tank – and survive long enough to make the journey to the next point after that (and so on). Each destination is accompanied by dangerous debris, dropping oxygen, and the strong chance that whatever she’s trying to get to might not be there. Think Apollo 13, but with the odds stacked 1 million times higher against you, if that’s possible.
Now here’s the eerie similarity. For years, when I’ve been giving lectures about my research for my books Gravity, I’ve used almost that exact same phrase. I used it again in a blogpost I wrote a year ago for the Maine Science Teachers Association:
I started off by months of reading — every book I could get my hands on about astronaut training, the history of NASA, the shuttle program, and aerospace medicine. I found children’s books surprisingly helpful — they often have great illustrations and they focus on just the oddball things I wanted to know, such as how do those toilets in space work? I was also able to pull tons of information off the NASA website. I downloaded blueprints of the space station (which hadn’t even been launched yet.) And I downloaded close to 1,000 highly technical pages from their shuttle flight manual. (After 9/11, however, many of these pages were removed from their website.) I became familiar with how missions are supposed to work in space.
But I didn’t know how things might go wrong. And the theme of GRAVITY is “Titanic in space” — in this story, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. I needed to find out how to make those disasters happen. Clearly, it was time to visit NASA.
Has Cuaron been following me around?