I think we all love playing the desert island game with books, movies and albums from time to time. You know the deal: "If you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island, which three titles would you want with you?"
I thought today might be a good opportunity to take a cosmic spin on the idea and imagine ourselves trapped on the International Space Station. Here's the key stipulation: You can only pick from the books ALREADY in orbit.
The good folks over at GovernmentAttic.org filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and received an official listing of all the books, movies, TV shows and albums in the ISS library. Hey, it's not all experiments and international lunchroom drama up there. Astronauts need to unwind after a hard day's work just like the next guy.
So let's look at the list, shall we? You can view the original PDF of the list right here. It's a few years old, sure, but it's a good starting place. If any astronauts happen to be reading this, do let us know how things might have changed. Robert Pearlman at Collect Space reports that the list is missing a handful of known additions to the ISS library: "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein, "Faust" by Johanne Wolfgang von Goethe, the "Firefly" series, as well as the movie spinoff "Serenity."
For now, take a look at what they have and share which three books, DVDs and albums you'd gravitate toward if marooned in orbit.
These are my picks:
Books: I've been meaning to read Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" for ages. Sadly, ISS only has "Foundation & Empire," the second book in the series. I suppose that will have to do, eh? Besides that, it looks like orbital confinement might be as good a place as any to finally read Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov." For my third pick, I guess I'll go with Dan Simmons' "Winter Haunting." I've been meaning to read him as well.
DVDs: The ISS movie selection is far more impressive. I'll take "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?," "Serenity" and one of the "Sealab 2021" discs. But if they still have their screener copy of the new "Star Trek," then that will work.
Albums: This is where things get really tricky. The list only has 20 albums on it and some of them are just a recipe for space madness. I guess I'd go for "The Very Best of Sting & The Police," "Pop Masters: Buona Sera, Magic Bus!" and Beethoven's 9th Symphony -- but I would not be happy about it. Thank God they allow iPods up there (which also helps explains the limited music selection). Here's the full list:
The Best of Me (Bryan Adams) Opera Chillout Vol. 3 The Age of Aquarius (The 5th Dimension) Butterfly Kisses (Shades of Grace)(Bob Carlisle) Karaoke - Pure Pop, Vol. 101 Comatose (Christian rock band Skillet) Good News for People WHo Love Bad News (Modest Mouse) Down with Love (movie soundtrack?) American Patriot (Lee Greenwood) Speakin' Out (jazz album?) Woven in Time (Steve Green) Elvis: 30 #1 Hits College Fight Songs Vol. 1 College Fight Songs Vol. 2 College Fight Songs Vol. 3 Pop Masters: Buona Sera, Magic Bus! Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 The Very Best of Sting & The Police Texas A&M University Elephunk (The Black Eyed Peas)
By the way, I can't help but wonder what kind of mix a space-savy DJ might be able to build from these musical elements -- you know, Apollo 13-style. Surely DJ Yoda could pull it off. Any takers?
So there you have it. Which astronaut is responsible for all the David Weber books (13 volumes!)? And who seriously wants to watch "Armageddon" up there?
Need more space music? You'll find it all right here.