Please allow me to begin by saying what an honor & privilege it is to review “Excelsior” by George H. Sirois for the Indie Book Collective’s incredible Veteran’s Day event, Blog Tour de Troops. Would you, my wonderful readers, like to read “Excelsior” for free as well as have a copy sent to a soldier just for leaving a comment? What about nearly fifty free ebooks, giving you & our troops the chance to discover some new authors to love? Sound good? I thought you might like that. Details will follow my review of “Excelsior”.
On the surface, it may seem that “Excelsior” by George H. Sirois is simply going to be a fun read—one of those great little sci-fi gems to be enjoyed as an escape or distraction from everyday real life. While it is definitely one of those great little gems, with the usual good versus evil to save the world themes, I must forewarn you—the undercurrents of the basic overlying theme of “Excelsior” takes the reader far deeper than simple escapism. It is exciting, inspiring, intensely gripping, & even spiritual if one allows one’s self to feel it in the soul rather than simply reading it. The world of “Excelsior” grabs you & just doesn’t let go. I found myself glued to my Kindle, eagerly anticipating what might be just around the corner on that next page. The excitement & tension continue to ratchet up from beginning to end. To say this book had me breathless at times would be an understatement. Continue reading
Posted in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Books, Fiction, Opinion, Space
Tagged Blog Tour de Troups, Excelsior, From Parts Unknown, George Sirois, IBC, Indie Book Collective, Matthew Peters, Sci-Fi, Science Fiction, Support Our Troops, Veteran's Day, YA, Young Adult
The NASA Space Shuttles have, since the very beginning, inspired more than just those of us who live in the United States. The three man Canadian progressive rock band, Rush, having been privileged to witness first-hand the April 12, 1981 launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-1 from the VIP section (called Red Sector A at the time) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, were so moved by the experience that they recorded a song describing the intensity & excitement of the moment called “Countdown“.
Neil Peart, drummer & primary lyricist of the band penned the words, which paint a vivid picture of what it felt like to witness such an amazing event while the music of the trio, which also includes Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson, to accompany those words magically drives home the seriousness & intense anticipation of the experience.
According to the liner notes, the song, which closes the album Signals, is dedicated to “the astronauts Young & Crippen and all the people of NASA for their inspiration and cooperation.” The crew aboard STS-1 consisted of just 2 members, Commander John W. Young & Pilot Robert Crippen. It is to them that Rush is referring to in their dedication of the song.
“Countdown” was also played for STS-134 Space Shuttle Endeavour astronaut, Mike Fincke, on its final mission which launched May 16, 2011.
So you see, even just pointing to the example of one song, NASA’s 30 year Space Shuttle program has been an inspiration to the hearts & minds of more than just those of the United States. From the beginning & evolving with every mission, it has been & continued to grow into a global symbol of the endless possibilities of what humanity is capable of through cooperation.
Just as amazing as the Space Shuttles themselves, this touching video demonstrates the incredible spirit of the people who made them possible. Read those cards. Did you see it? There they are, thanking us, the American people for the 30 years of the Space Shuttle Program.
Every single person ever involved in making our Space Shuttles the beloved & cherished icons of American ingenuity they are & always will be deserves our thanks. Since I was 5 years old, these countless individuals, through whatever job they’ve done, have given America an incredible source of inspiration, pride, & the knowledge that if we can dream it we can do it. These people taught us that, even in the face of tragedies, Americans get back on their feet & off the ground–moving forward, up, above & beyond. Not even gravity can keep us down for long!
What began as a competitive space race years before, eventually evolved, with our Space Shuttle Program, into something even more magnificent–international cooperation for the expansion of humanity’s knowledge of the vast Universe in which live. Yes, I find the genuinely happy faces of all those different nationalities of people greeting the Space Shuttle crew at the International Space Station as they open those hatches at docking to be a symbol of hope in a world that often seems hopeless.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis launched in all her glory into low-earth-orbit at 11:29am EDT on July 8th, 2011 to begin STS-135–the final NASA Space Shuttle mission ever &, at wheels down, the end of an era. To see the people in this video, who may very well be joining the ranks of the unemployed soon, putting forth the effort to say an honestly heartfelt ‘thank you’ to America is one heck of a shining example of exactly what they’ve given us with our Space Shuttles all along–the message that, even when all seems lost, there is always something to be grateful for & there is always hope.
On July 13, 2011 the STS-135 & Expedition 28 astronauts sent their own video of appreciation to the Space Shuttle Workforce while NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis was docked to the International Space Station.
(Post edited by Cari on July 14, 2011 to include thank you video from STS-135 & Expedition 28 astronauts)