Archive for August, 2012

Up and Down: Chapter 14

Friday, August 31st, 2012

In Chapter 14, the scene shifts to the Kennedy Space Centre where David greets an unexpected visitor, and Landon suits up for the ride of her life. As they say at NASA, “it’s time to light this candle!” Next week, Chapter 15, as Landon finds herself at the centre of high drama aboard the International Space Station.

The voiceover that opens each episode of this podcast was provided by my friend, Roger Dey.

Comments on the podcast are invite here on the blog via email to tfallis@gmail.com or over on at iTunes.

Neil Armstrong

Monday, August 27th, 2012

As we enter the final countdown to the launch (pun intended) of my third novel, Up and Down, many people have been asking me about the origins of this story. (I have written about it before on the Indigo Fiction blog.) Well, in no small part, you can trace the roots of Up and Down back to Neil Armstrong, who passed away this weekend. On July 20, 1969, my twin brother Tim and I were on a remote 20 acre island in the southwest arm of Lake Temagami, about 100 kilometres north of North Bay, Ontario. We were nine years old, and our annual three week stint at our beloved Camp White Bear was drawing to a close. Late that night, the entire camp gathered in the main lodge. The younger campers, my brother and I included, were in our pyjamas and had brought our sleeping bags with us to spread out on the hard wooden floor of the lodge. A small, portable black and white television, the only one on the island, was set up next to the fireplace, with wobbly rabbit ears festooned with enough tin foil to encase a year’s worth of leftovers. As the evening wore on, many of our cabin mates fell asleep, but I was wide awake. I could look over my shoulder through the front window of the lodge and see the glowing moon hanging in the black sky.

Shortly before 11:00 p.m., thankfully, a couple of hours earlier than the official NASA schedule dictated, Neil Armstrong opened the hatch of the Lunar Module and stepped out onto what they literally called the “porch.” As soon as he pulled a lanyard to unfold and turn on the TV camera mounted to the side of the landing vehicle, a ghostly image materialized on the screen of that black and white television. I could actually see Neil Armstrong standing there at the top of the ladder. I looked again over my shoulder at the moon, and then quickly back to the TV. It didn’t seem possible, yet I believed it to my core. Then, he calmly descended the ladder, and after pausing on the last rung, finally stepped onto the surface of the moon. Neil Armstrong was standing on the moon, a different celestial body from where I sat, over 250,000 miles away. It was hard for my brain to process then. It’s still hard to fathom it now.

In that instant, something changed for me. Something clicked. Something shifted. It ignited in me a burning interest in space and all things flight-related. Over the intervening years, that fire has sometimes been a raging inferno, other times just a flickering flame. But that fire has always been there, and still is. It fuels the tale told in Up and Down. (In fact, a version of this camp story appears in Chapter 3 of the novel, although it’s been transplanted to rural Mississippi.) I’ve always believed that writers are at their best when they write about things they know about, care about, or most of all, are passionate about. It’s why I tend to write about things that have consumed me in my life. (It also cuts down on the need for research!) So when it came time to write a novel that was not about politics, it was completely logical, perhaps even predictable to those who know me well, to set it in the world of public relations, against the backdrop of the space program. Write what you know. Write what you love. Write what fascinates you.

More than forty years ago, Neil Armstrong helped set me on the path to writing Up and Down. It’s almost surreal that he’s gone now. I guess I just assumed that the first of our species to complete such an epic journey and set foot on the moon, would somehow live forever. For me, he will…

Up and Down: Chapter 13

Friday, August 24th, 2012

In Chapter 13, Landon and Eugene catch a ride on the famed “Vomit Comet” and then fly to California for a spin on the 20 G centrifuge. Next week, Chapter 14, as Landon, Eugene and David head to the Kennedy Space Centre for final preparations to light the candle on the shuttle Aeres.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast was provided by my friend, Roger Dey.

Comments on the podcast are invited here on the blog, via email to tfallis@gmail.com, or over at iTunes.

 

Up and Down: Chapter 12

Friday, August 17th, 2012

In Chapter 12, Landon sparks a rally at the gates of the Johnson Space Centre, but not in a good way, the two Citizen Astronauts undergo fitness testing, and there’s a major shake-up at Turner King.

Next week, Chapter 13, as Landon and Eugene take a ride on the aptly-named “vomit comet” before taking a spin on NASA’s centrifuge.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast was provided by my friend, Roger Dey.

Comments are invited here on the blog, via email to tfallis@gmail.com, and over on iTunes.

Up and Down: Chapter 11

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

In Chapter 11, Landon heads to Houston with a chaperone to start her astronaut training, while David digs up something that was supposed to remain buried.

Next week, Chapter 12 as things heat up at the Johnson Space Center and there are some changes at Turner King.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast was provided by my friend, Roger Dey.

Comments are invited here on the blog, via email to tfallis@gmail.com, or over on iTunes.

Up and Down: Chapter 10

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

In Chapter 10, we discover whether or not David Stewart’s brinksmanship in Chapter 9 actually pays off.

Next week, Chapter 11 as Landon takes a little trip with someone in tow who never expected to accompany her.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast was provided by my friend, Roger Dey.

Comments are always invited and appreciated here on the blog, via email to tfallis@gmail.com, or even over at iTunes.