Wednesday, March 20, 2013

F-1 engines, resurfacing

A year ago it was announced that a team sponsored by Jeff Bezos, who apparently has a thing for the Apollo missions (and why not have a thing for the Apollo missions?), had located, on the ocean’s floor, at a depth of greater than 14,000 feet, the F-1 engines that lifted Apollo 11’s Saturn launch vehicle into orbit. Today friend and fellow author and illustrator Tim Bush points me to an update: Bezos writes (here) that his team has used remotely controlled vehicles to reach those engines and is headed to shore with “enough major components to fashion displays of two flown F-1 engines.” Incredible, all the more so since we have to assume that these items did not qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping. From another page on the Bezos Expeditions web site, here, it seems that both engines will be destined for museums, so get that vision of Jeff Bezos’s private backyard rocket garden out of your head. 

Thanks for the link, Tim! And the rest of you can see Tim’s latest work here.

Illustration from Moonshot.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Proofs, piling up

This photo is from a review of color proofs at the Atheneum offices yesterday, a nearly last look at Locomotive before the presses roll. I’m happy to say that the book will be printed on a great uncoated stock, a paper with a look and feel that’s really in sympathy with the period and sensibility of the book. There will be an ebook edition, too, but book-as-object is one of the goals here, and that’s a nice thing to be able to write these days. My sincere thanks go to everyone at Atheneum for all the thoughtfulness and work — and it’s a lot of both — that’s going into the book. Coming in September!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mars (Sunday nights at 8/7c)

There’s a story in the paper this morning about a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur who wants to fund a mission to Mars by selling the reality TV rights. (Here.) A one-way mission to Mars. I can’t say if this is a good idea or not. I can only say that I’d watch it, at least until the astronauts got settled in for the long haul in the sort of deluxe Habitrail that the project is proposing be their home on the red planet, and then I don’t know how much of that I could take.

Illustration from Moonshot.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spraggle upon waggle

What I like about cats in picture books: you can put one on, say, a lightship, and have her walk on camera, eat her supper, look where you tell her to, sit expectantly, act startled, curl up, take a nap, all on cue. 

But is there anyone bold enough to try to get a cat to do that live, on Broadway? 

Read about such an attempt in a new staging of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” here. “For he is docile and can learn certain things,” says Christopher Smart in his remarkable paean to his cat Jeoffry, and, “For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.” Maybe yes, but still there are limits, and I hope that every illustrator who has ever blithely added a cat to a scene to give a page a little extra life will join me in wishing the Tiffany’s team good luck. 

Illustration from Lightship.