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Summer Break for Centauri Dreams

The charged air of mid-July in the northern hemisphere creates states of mind that can be both nostalgic and surreal. Ray Bradbury always knew how to catch these. Listen:


Somewhere, a book said once, all the talk ever talked, all the songs ever sung, still lived, had vibrated way out in space and if you could travel to Far Centauri you could hear George Washington talking in his sleep or Caesar surprised at the knife in his back. So much for sounds. What about light then? All things, once seen, they didn’t just die, that couldn’t be. It must be then that somewhere, searching the world, perhaps in the dripping multiboxed honeycombs where light was an amber sap stored by pollen-fired bees, or in the thirty thousand lenses of the noon dragonfly’s gemmed skull you might find all the colors and sights of the world in any one year. Or pour one single drop of this dandelion wine beneath a microscope and perhaps the entire world of July Fourth would firework out in Vesuvius showers…

I love that ‘thirty thousand lenses of the noon dragonfly’s gemmed skull’ — it takes me instantly to the dragonfly I saw hovering over plants in my backyard this weekend, with a background vista of trees so full that they cut off all sight of other houses as they rose on the hill, so that the deck out back seemed enclosed by forest. The evening air hummed. A year ago a similar mood was on me when I wrote about Bradbury’s Green Town, Illinois, the fictionalized town of his birth and the inspiration for Dandelion Wine. Once again the mood signals it’s time for a summer break.

Centauri Dreams will be back on Thursday the 25th. I wish I could tell you I was headed out for exotic territories, but in fact a number of commitments — some of them space-related but most not — will occupy me, and the break will give me a chance to get to things I’ve been putting off for too long, including work on some longer-form writing projects. See you soon, then, and I hope you find time for a break of your own. Even when travel isn’t possible, long green walks through the imagination still are.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Saint Aardvark the Carpeted July 15, 2013, 9:45

    Enjoy your break. I’m on one myself, and it’s wonderful.

  • Mike July 15, 2013, 9:58

    Enjoy your break Paul, try to get some hammock time logged.

  • coacervate July 15, 2013, 11:34

    “Wanted: a small spaceship about eight feet long, built by a boy, or two boys …

  • Wojciech J July 15, 2013, 13:12

    Enjoy your break!

  • Jean-Pierre Le Rouzic July 15, 2013, 15:15

    Good holidays Paul, and good dreams! Henri Poincaré believed that ideas come from some real, if immaterial, place. I hope you will fruitfully visit their country, not everybody can.

  • Rob Flores July 15, 2013, 15:59

    Hey, While P.G. is away, let talk about 1 subject that I know
    folks here have an opinion on. Fusion. Should we continue to
    fund the present theorical designs. As most of you well know the
    National Ignition Facility layed an egg. Simulations don’t match reality
    so the models on laser fusion are wrong (very close to being NOT even wrong) . That leaves ITER, a Tokamak design . Alot of bright people have posited that tokamak designs cannot sustain fusion. That they are another dead end (these bright people have left the Tokamak business)

    There are other designs, but those 2 above captured 98% of all fusion research grant money. I am sure you have heard of various conspiracy
    theories. But none of that is needed. The 2 fusion approaches that are
    well funded are there because they have academic & political support.

    But with the failure of NIF, alot eyes have opened, and the final construction date for ITER is being pushed back. Somewhere around 2050 maybe a commercial reactor may come out of it. I know that it had been hoped here Centauri Dreams, that fusion would drive advanced propulsion systems. Considering the size of ITER, even if works modestly it will not be something that can be ported on a spaceship.

    Maybe we need a 5 billion dollar Fusion X prize.

  • IB July 15, 2013, 16:05

    Enjoy your holiday, Paul. Once again, many thanks for your superb blog.

  • Daniel July 15, 2013, 17:13

    Have a great vacation, Paul. You have earned it. Thanks and we look forward to your rested return.

  • Ronald July 16, 2013, 3:12

    Enjoy your well-deserved holidays Paul. And the greatest journeys are the journeys of the mind.
    BTW, I am pretty sure you will rush back to work the moment that a terrestrial planet is discovered in the HZ of Alpha Centauri B, so I sincerely hope that won’t happen before the 25th :-)

  • spaceman July 16, 2013, 4:10

    Thank you for all you do running such a mind-enriching website. Have a great vacation!

  • Pointless Geometry July 16, 2013, 4:16

    Have a happy holiday CD.

  • Bob Andrews July 16, 2013, 5:38

    Thanks for your brilliant posts Paul; they are much admired and appreciated this side of the pond. Enjoy a rest and sunshine.

  • David Cummings July 16, 2013, 7:04

    Have a Happy Lazy Days of Summer, Paul… and everyone.

  • Paul Gilster July 16, 2013, 12:46

    Major thanks to all for the kind words. And Ronald is right — a planet in the habitable zone around Centauri B would definitely get me back sooner rather than later!

  • Mike Mongo July 16, 2013, 23:52

    Oh god my most favorite book by the Best Author in the World of my 12-year old self. Dandelion’s Wine is the closest thing to expressing the soul of an earth boy as anything this side of Saturday morning or a first day of summer. It’s less a book than it is a prayer in the form of literary fiction. Without this book I would have to take a few pages of Douglas Adams, a thick pinch of Hermann Melville, a smattering of Kurt Vonnegut, a smear of C.S. Lewis and sandwich it all between much Jules Verne on the oneside and Edgar Rice Burroughs on the otherside. (And garnish with maybe just a spear of H.G. Wells, for good times sake.)

    Yes. May your time away have at least one moment as dearly good as many of those that are gingerly nested throughout Dandelion Wine, PG.