Was I there? I must have been, at age 16, in my parents’ (now sadly just my mother’s) house in Old South Wales. If I shut my eyes I can see those ungainly spacesuited figures making history—but memory has slyly updated the surroundings, so it’s happening in colour on Mum’s widescreen TV with the DVD player tucked underneath. And if I really try, I can hear the famous words … which must be confabulation, because I know all too well that the non-hi-fi voiceover from Luna came through my 1969 hearing aid as various iterations of “garble grackle garble grackle beep.”
I was perhaps too ready for this, having been deeply immersed in science fiction for many years. Yes, it was good to see future history beginning to work out as it should, but wasn’t this just what we all expected? And there was even a tiny undercurrent of disappointment in the thought that it would probably be ten or twenty years before I could take the regular PanAm shuttle to the Moon, or Mars.
Fuzzy memory. I’m annoyed with myself for not having written my feelings down (a trick which it took me a few more years to learn). Even more annoying are the lunatics who insist this amazing thing never happened. My favourite Moon Denial site is here.
David Langford is a British science fiction author and critic, and publisher of the newszine Ansible. To date, Langford has written dozens of books both fiction and non and earned 28 Hugo awards for his work as a fan writer.