I Want To Read A Short Story About An Old Astronaut

  1. I want to read a short story about an old astronaut who spends part of every day staying in tip top mental and physical shape just in case the government ever needs to send him to the moon again
  2. I want it to be vivid and full of fun little details about his routine
  3. And it's okay for the story to be poignant some of the time but it's not a sad story
  4. He can't have dementia or anything, he's not deluded about being a young astronaut, okay
  5. And it's not a commentary on the "decline of empire" after the space race
  6. I don't want the phrase "late stage capitalism" anywhere near this story all right
  7. I just want a lot of details about this wonderful little old astronaut drinking his orange juice and doing pushups and calculating trajectories by hand
  8. This makes it sound like I want a really condescending short story but I don't want that either
  9. I want to feel proud of the old astronaut but not in the same way how you'd be proud of a dog or a small child
  10. And he still has a regular life, he's not lost in the past, he's participated wonderfully in life on earth, he just spends a not-insignificant portion of every day collecting rocks, hiking into crater fields, building little robots, practicing weightlessness, testing for radiation, et cetera.
  11. And lots of things happen to him, and have happened to him, and it's all in the story too, he's not just a brain in a jar recollecting the dead past, which is sometimes a problem when I try to write short stories, so I'd like for someone else to write this
  12. And I'd like it to run in the New Yorker or the Atlantic or someplace big and for it to lead to a spate of critically acclaimed popular short fiction about the daily lives of wonderful old astronauts (they don't have to be American) who have never lost their sense of preparedness and (this is important) while still very much loving the lives they've built for themselves on earth (which are complicated but meaningful, and again not in a condescending way) are always committed to physical and mental preparation, just in case they get called up to go back into space tomorrow, and for six months or even a year "astronaut fiction" becomes this huge thing
  13. But it's never going to shade into weird nation-building mythologies or anything. The point is the wonderful and indomitable spirits of the old astronauts, not the states that once sent them to the moon
  14. And I don't think this is a religious thing or has anything to do with my feelings about my father and his generation so leave all that out of it please
  15. You can end it whichever way you want, he doesn't have to go back into space, but if he doesn't get sent back into space it can't be some big tragedy, it's just the luck of the draw, he knew that when he signed up, and staying ready was still worth it
  16. Just a wonderful little story about a wonderful old astronaut staying as hearty as he possibly can, and everyone loves it so much it changes the face of contemporary fiction for a while
  17. Thanks in advance

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]