Space Odyssey

Posted on April 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 2 Comments on Space Odyssey

April 12 is dedicated in memory of the first manned space flight in 1961 as the International Day of Human Space Flight. Let’s celebrate this scientific milestone with 10 gems from our catalog.

Long before humans tried to fly to the stars, astronomy was busy classifying all the Curiosities of the Sky. In the book by Garrett P. Serviss we hear about them all: stars and their constellations, nebulae, meteors, aurorae…

The universe has served as inspiration for mankind since ancient times. Clark Ashton Smith has written The Star Treader and Other Poems, a number of beautiful poems about the nightly skies: The Summer Moon, Lament of the Stars, Song of a Comet…

36 people of different nations get a closeup view of the latter, when they are taken Off on a Comet that hits the Earth and takes a chunk with it. For two years they are travelling through space in one of the earliest sci-fi stories, written by Jules Verne.

In that story, a scientist plays an important role in helping to solve the mysteries of the solar system, just like in the real world. Read Robert Stawell Ball’s biographies of Great Astronomers from Ptolemy to Galileo, from Copernicus and Kepler to Newton and Halley…

Not quite so famous is Gulliver of Mars. During his vacation, US Navy Lt. Jones is transported to the red planet and promptly falls in love with a Martian princess. Check out the book by Sir Edwin Arnold, which served as inspiration for the Barsoom series.

A group of student astronauts from Minnesota is not waiting for luck, and are ready to do anything to leave Earth. When they finally succeed, they are not prepared for what’s in store for them though… Find out more in The Planet Strappers by Raymond Z. Gallun.

From space travel to space colonisation it is just a small step, but, as has been found out in Murray Leinster’s story, the human race needs special conditions: a replica of those on Earth. When the first people land, they soon notice that something has gone wrong on terraformed Planet of Dread

In any case we have to solve the problem of the enormous amount of time it takes to cross space. Enter philosopher John McTaggart who argues for The Unreality of Time by saying that our descriptions of time are either contradictory, circular, or insufficient.

It is likely that robots will play a large role on our long space travels. The more human, the better they can serve us – but when do they deserve human rights? This question is explored in Karel ńĆapek’s famous play R.U.R. – Rossum’s Universal Robots.

More advanced machines can cause more problems. Robot Snookums is a rather Unwise Child when he learns how to build bombs. Thus, he is being shipped off to a distant planet, but scary things occur on the trip… Is Snookums really to blame in the story by Randall Garrett?

Enjoy – and look at the stars tonight!



  1. Dave says:

    If you guys ever think that your work is not appreciated because we are lazy slobs who do not voice our appreciation… you are half right… but we do appreciate your work and presentations more than we probably could put words to anyway… so… Thanks a bunch. A mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste…but the exercise of minds through unbounded literature is more of a work than almost none recognize. So, utilizing some of my almost unlimited International Language skills I can only say: Much Grass. Dave

  2. What You People Do For The General Public Is Awe-Inspiring. Most of us are “too busy” or too self-absorbed to get involved. Thank You for this gift of spoken literature, from all of us, the silent users.

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