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Share Your Story • Thomas Wm. Hamilton • December 10, 2013

Space is the final revenge

I was born before WW2, and only a short time after hordes of people were frightened by Orson Welles' vision of an invasion from Mars. I was attracted to astronomy by the time I was four, and discovered science fiction before the age of ten. These interests were not given much respect, and my SF was invariably referred to in the family as my "dirty books" (like science fiction in the 1940s or 50s even knew sex existed). I was taking Introductory Astronomy in college when Sputnik 1 was launched, and when the first bulletin was mentioned put down my fork and left dinner to rush down to the school radio station, where we were the first in the USA to rebroadcast Sputnik's beep. The next morning the FBI dropped by and stole the tape. That same morning I rode the subway to school watching with amusement the shocked look on other riders as they stared at the headlines on Sputnik. I pulled out my most recent issue of Astounding Science Fiction and held it up proudly, a contemptuous sneer for those so shocked. Later I worked for several years on Apollo, and then taught astronomy for 32 years before retiring to write science fiction and several books on astronomical themes. When I heard of the Planetary Society I knew I had to join an organization devoted to furthering space exploration, people like me, not those who rejected the future.

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