Teaser – Icarus and the Wing Builder, by Robert William Case
My mother (Djaynn-net) once read somewhere that you can tell within the first minute of a movie whether you’ll like the movie or not. Or maybe she just said that. In any case, thanks to her provocative idea, I am now unable to begin movies or read books without wondering if it will prove true–again. This is relevant because my friend, Robert Case, wrote a book. And I helped him edit it. We’re both very excited about it, and I told him I’d publish a bit of it, as a teaser of sorts, on here. He told me I could pick whatever section I wanted to. I’m going with the first minute of the book. Enjoy! Then click the link I provide below (and here) and buy it. My honest review will be tomorrow’s post.
Oh, and I guess for this to work, you need to have some idea of what you’re getting into to. So, as if a movie teaser, picture these images flash across the screen: a rocky beach landscape that can be nowhere other than Ancient Greece; an unfairly wronged man finding hope in a bird’s effortless flight against a cerulean sky; a young orphan boy answering, “Icarus,” when asked his name; a strong captain sailing a ship that’s carrying an unlikely pair across the Mediterranean; a tribal king leaning back on his over-sized throne with authority after having just pronounced a passionate, yet never uncontrolled, decree; willing courtesans listlessly walking by, hinting at nights filled with passionate love-making; the man concluding a fatherly wisdom spiel with a look which says, “Don’t you know I love you?”; the young man Icarus leaving on a walk-a-bout that he just might not return from; a back-lit image of the man standing on a cliff wearing giant clearly hand-made wings that somehow possess a they-just-might-work quality to them; the man wearing wings falling off a cliff out of sight then rising up as background music enhances his extraordinary success; then the words “Icarus and the Wing Builder” accompanied by a deep percussive sound and an authoritative voice saying, “Read it this weekend on your favorite couch.”
Okay, that should do it–now read!
Long ago, on a verdant island in the middle of an azure sea now called the Mediterranean, a man named Daedalus designed and built wings. Naturally, inevitably, he had to test them.
On that momentous sun-ﬁlled day he stood on a ledge of earth and stone beneath a cloudless sky, long cumbersome wings of his own design draped across his arms, shoulders, and back. The wind was steady and strong and blowing directly into his bearded face. It was a perfect day for ﬂight. But he stood on the ledge of earth for a long while, anxious and uncertain, staring out at the distant gray fusion of water and sky.
The harness and wings carried an unnatural bulk and he constantly shifted his weight to compensate and keep his balance. If he slipped now or was knocked oﬀ his feet, the fall onto the rocks and dirt would likely damage the wings. He had labored too long, journeyed too far for that. So he leaned forward with bent knees, opposing the wind’s power and keeping his weight over his feet.
Far below and before him, as far as he could see, sparkling waves reﬂected the sun’s warmth and light. The majesty of the seascape called out its siren song, clear and serene. High on this remote perch he could not help but feel it. The attraction was irresistible, enticing him into the sky. As he stood on the shared boundary between the sea, sky, and land, it pulled on him as if his ears were at the center of his heart. But once again he was able to shake his head and look away, shifting his weight and keeping kept both feet ﬁrmly on the ground.
How long do I stand here, waiting?
In silence, Daedalus turned his gaze back toward the sea, compelled to feel the power of the sky just one more time; that place where the wind caught under the wings and the uplift began. He rotated his shoulders and held the wings fast. The steady breeze blew across the outstretched wings, its energy ﬂowing through them into the muscles of his shoulders and back. It teased and taunted him, assuring him that now was the best of times–possibly the only time there would ever be–for making this essential leap of faith.
He leaned forward once again and braced against the force, testing the limits of his fragile equilibrium. Once more he opted for the safety of the rocky ledge. But this time, and before he could look back down to the earth beneath his sandaled feet, a burst of windblown sand struck his face and chest. Instantly he closed his eyes and shifted one foot back for balance, squaring his shoulders into the gust, the wings fully extended.
The wind did not relent. It tore across the surface of the wings. Uplift gripped at his shoulders and spine. And now, instead of struggling for balance the wingbuilder pushed hard against the earth, up and away from the rocky ledge. Heart pounding, he dove into the sky. At the apogee of the leap he hung suspended, balanced between time and the jagged rocks of the shoreline below. Gravity, it seemed, had released its hold. Filling his lungs with an intake of breath, he willed his chest forward into an awkward glide, arms and wings outstretched, reaching for the currents of air. Daedalus soared.
The moment was sublime, the splendor of ﬂight on wings of his own design. The sky responded, greeting him with a mighty thermal, lifting him into its invisible spiral and carrying him into the cerulean heights far above the island. Sweat streaking down his face, he banked away like a great soaring bird. It was a dream realized. He felt so alive, his heart singing with joy, so loud and so strong. He never wanted it to end.
Okay, so it was more like three minutes. Sue me. If you like what you read, or you are simply up for something a little off the beaten path, purchase the book from Amazon by clicking here: Icarus and the Wing Builder
Mars One Rejection Letter (well, email…technically)
If you’re on your computer, it’s best to set the tone with a little mood music: open in new tab.
Dear Mars One applicant,
Did you know US astronaut Clayton Anderson was rejected by NASA for its astronaut training program 15 times, yet in 2007 he boarded the Space Shuttle Atlantis for a trip to the International Space Station. He proved anything can happen and no door is ever completely closed.
You, and just over 200,000 other aspiring astronauts around the world, took a bold step in applying to be one of our first heroes to leave Earth permanently for a new life on another planet. We cannot thank you enough for your daring effort.
At this time, we’ve made the decision to reduce our applicant pool down to just over 1000 and your application has been declined. Let’s talk about what that means.
This is not the end of your dream. We will be reopening the application process for you at a date to be determined in 2014. We want you to seriously consider re-applying. Each and every applicant, including yourself, who was not chosen in in this initial round, will have many other chances to re-enter the selection pool and try again. Don’t give up.
If you’re wondering why you’re applicant was put on hold, please review the selection criteria here. This is the criteria we used when considering your application.
Our goals are the same – human life on Mars and advancing humankind’s evolution as a multiplanetary species. Let’s continue our mission together!
Mars One Selection Committee
What do you say? Should I keep applying? I say…Yes!