Mon
Jul 20 2009 9:30pm

On July 20th, 1969...by David Langford

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.

This article is part of Moon Landing Day: ‹ previous | index | next ›
6 comments
Steve Taylor
1. teapot7
I've always gone with the people who say the moon landings were secretly filmed in a TV studio on mars. It's the only thing that makes sense.
Teri H
2. Teri H
Reading stacks of science fiction gave me a set of expectations that were as high as the moon we watched on our grainy black and white TV set 40 years ago. I was convinced it was the beginning of a long tradition of searching beyond our world for the truth of the universe. I believed that by the twenty-first century we would be living on the moon and travelig to Mars. Star Trek provided additional support that our fledgeling expedition to the moon would some day validate mankind's future as a peaceful race of explorers who believe in equality for all. I wanted our early efforts on the moon to be just the beginning -- indeed, one giant leap for mankind. I am still hopeful that with the cooperation used to construct the space station and the increased focus on our space program, that we will someday realize those early hopes and dreams.
Irene Gallo
3. Irene
As an aside to Torie:
Great timing on this photo. After seeing so many awesome pictures throughout the day, to return to a simple portrait late in the day is reenergizing....Like being able to take a deep breath before jumping back into the excitement.
William S. Higgins
4. higgins
You know that Moon Denial site will puzzle American readers. And yet clearly you don't care.

You're still bitter about the NASA audio, aren't you?
Teri H
6. Nonie
Actually, I envy you your memory here, even with your hearing aid. I saw the landing on a tiny black-and-white TV with a poor antenna, so my memory of this historic event is of a static-fuzz screen with apparently moving blobs, and a faint series of crackling sounds added to the general buzz.

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