Author Topic: James Michener's "Space"  (Read 6142 times)

Offline Finn Mac Doreahn

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James Michener's "Space"
« on: 08/04/2016 10:04 PM »
Have any of you read this book, or watched the miniseries based on it? What did you think? How technically accurate was it? What about characterization?

PS. This is my first NSF post. I've been reading this forum for about 4 years and I think it's pretty cool.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #1 on: 08/04/2016 10:17 PM »
Never heard of it, but watching the miniseries now.



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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #2 on: 08/04/2016 10:36 PM »
Have any of you read this book, or watched the miniseries based on it? What did you think? How technically accurate was it? What about characterization?

PS. This is my first NSF post. I've been reading this forum for about 4 years and I think it's pretty cool.
Welcome to the forum! :) Yes, I read the book and saw the series when it fist aired some 30 years back. I enjoyed it and the characters portrayed were pretty good Hollywood versions of the actual persons, with named changed IIRC. There may also be some fictitious ones as well, like I said 30 some years ago. I liked it and searched for a DVD a while back but could't find it. Perhaps it's been released now?? I still have a VHS copy of it off the TV somewhere it believe. Thanks for the Youtube link Trent! 8)
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Offline fthomassy

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #3 on: 08/05/2016 12:01 AM »
Read the book, 25-30 years ago, but missed that the mini series even existed.  Enjoyed the book and seem to recall it was very accurate.  The imagined extra mission was amazing but oddly I don't remember the exact ending.
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Offline Finn Mac Doreahn

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #4 on: 08/05/2016 12:14 AM »
The books ends in 1982 or 1983 with a conference about the "boundaries" between science and religion. Oh, and a character gets elected to the Senate.

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #5 on: 08/05/2016 01:21 AM »
Also, if I remember correctly, the book continued to the shuttle era, but the mini-series ended after Apollo 18.

Both were outstanding, and the Apollo 18 mission was particularly good.  It is typical of Michener's "historical fiction" that placed fiction people into real life events.  It spans from WW2 to modern times.  I have always been disappointed that it hasn't been released on DVD.  My VHS died some time ago.

I still have my Apollo 18 patch somewhere.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #6 on: 08/05/2016 01:47 AM »
They don't make "good TV" like they used to with this series, just reality garbage now days... :(
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Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #7 on: 08/05/2016 02:48 AM »
They don't make "good TV" like they used to with this series, just reality garbage now days... :(

Well, the upcoming Ron Howard effort "Mars" sounds like it will be quite good, and won't be another example of reality garbage, or worse, pseudoscience.

I do recall seeing the miniseries, though I never got the interest level up enough to tackle the very thick novel.  Michener in all was a fine storyteller, and the miniseries was relatively accurate.  There was a lot of soap opera in between the cool space scenes, though, which kind of left me a little bored, to be honest.

I recall they used very good recreations of the CM and LM interiors -- perhaps a set of the intact simulators served the function.  The earlier parts, with Mercury and Gemini, were relatively accurate but seemed simplified, to me.  And the earliest parts, with their von Braun character-by-a-different-name escaping to the Americans, seemed to plod a bit.

Of course, that's how it hit me at the time.  As always, YMMV.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #8 on: 08/05/2016 12:52 PM »
They don't make "good TV" like they used to with this series, just reality garbage now days... :(

Well, the upcoming Ron Howard effort "Mars" sounds like it will be quite good, and won't be another example of reality garbage, or worse, pseudoscience.

I do recall seeing the miniseries, though I never got the interest level up enough to tackle the very thick novel.  Michener in all was a fine storyteller, and the miniseries was relatively accurate.  There was a lot of soap opera in between the cool space scenes, though, which kind of left me a little bored, to be honest.

I recall they used very good recreations of the CM and LM interiors -- perhaps a set of the intact simulators served the function.  The earlier parts, with Mercury and Gemini, were relatively accurate but seemed simplified, to me.  And the earliest parts, with their von Braun character-by-a-different-name escaping to the Americans, seemed to plod a bit.

Of course, that's how it hit me at the time.  As always, YMMV.
The 70's and the 80' were IMO the "golden age of miniseries" with the likes of "Roots, The Captains and the Kings, North and South, Rich Man Poor Man", just to name a few. The last space related miniseries was "From the Earth to the Moon" and that was 20 years ago. :o
I'm certain that Mars will be great in the capable hands of Ron Howard! :)
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline QuantumG

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #9 on: 08/08/2016 12:44 AM »
Having not read the book, I get the feeling the character of Leopold Strabismus (played by David Dukes) received the least treatment in the miniseries. To me, he personifies mysticism and wilful ignorance. He's the dark forces that the space program is seen by many to be combating. The almost complete removal of the Soviet Union from the miniseries (I assume there was more in the book) says something too - that beating the commies wasn't what the space program was about. This is a popular opinion that often goes unspoken. I believe at one point the character of Stanley Mott (played by Bruce Dern) refers to those who see the space program as just a game of one-upmanship with the Russians as ignorant skeptics, or something to that effect. I found that particularly confronting as I relate to both perspectives.
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Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: James Michener's "Space"
« Reply #10 on: 08/08/2016 01:00 AM »
The mini - series was okay, but a bit overlong and overstuffed with some soapy content that the novel didn't have. The Apollo 18 segment was well done, and as a nice touch; the flight director was played by Dick Gordon! Who was of course the real Commander of the canceled Apollo 18.
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Tags: Space fiction apollo 18