Mrs Moore in Space Paperback – 14 Oct 2002
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A whimsical view of life on other planets by the late Gertrude Moore, mother of famous astronomer Patrick Moore, who provides the foreword. Her drawings and descriptions are humorous, yet informed. She paints a picture of a universe inhabited by exotic beings, often with amorous intentions. The paintings were made over an extended period, between 1900 and 1974.
Top customer reviews
I'm writing this on the day Patrick Moore - "Mrs Moore"'s son - died, and it feels like part of the vision and fancy which inspired him to become such an eminent astronomer can still be found on the pages of this little book. Beautifully illustrated, and packed with whimsy, this is a treat for children and adults alike.
Read it and be moonstruck. I still am.
This book will delight children of all ages!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
First published in 1974 by Cassell and Company Ltd, this book contains nearly 50 pages of exciting and imaginative artwork from an author who married her artistic talent to her interest in astronomy. Since in the Forward to this book ( p.5 ), Sir Patrick Moore, son of the author, states that the creatures depicted by his mother in artwork extending from 1900 to 1974, “……may not be either scientifically or anatomically correct…..” we do therefore have to ask the somewhat penetrating question as to what is and is not “anatomically correct” in the light of advances made in the biological and astrobiological spheres since the book’s first publication. Flora and fauna have been found to adapt to environments once thought completely inhospitable to life: from the weird plants and bizarre creatures that inhabit the depths of the oceans, strains of bacteria that survive extremes of heat and cold and others which thrive on radioactive waste from atomic power plants, holoparasitic plants which totally rely on their hosts for all energy and nutrients but do not require sunlight, and are often without any chlorophyll, to the Rhizanthella gardneri, an underground orchid, which grows completely underground apart from the flower, which partly emerges above ground, when taken together, all render Mrs. Moore’s incredible creatures quite credible.
It was this amazing ability of life forms to adapt to environmental extremes that gave added impetus to the theories of Sir Fred Hoyle and N. Chandra Wickramasinghe, and which were published in a book “Diseases from Space” ( First published in 1979 by J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd ) five years after Mrs. Moore’s book first came out. The discovery of complex organic molecules in space, spectroscopic analysis of interstellar gas clouds which give readings which indicate the presence of desiccated bacteria, and the discovery of bacterial spores in the stratosphere – and even as high up as the mesosphere, ( see“Our Place in the Cosmos” by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, published by Phoenix, 1993 ) all increasingly point to life throughout the Universe and evolution occurring on a cosmological scale.
Mrs. Gertrude L. Moore captures the principle of adaptability well in the captions in which she explains the nature of the creatures she has painted. On page 17, for example, the author writes of birds with “short stumpy wings,” being able to achieve “aerodynamic lift” owing to the thick atmosphere of Venus. Her lunar creatures presented in winter wonderland backdrops from pages 11 to 13, may not be too far off the mark considering that around 2009/2010 NASA discovered ice deposits in areas of craters that are permanently devoid of sunlight. Who can say that there are no dormant colonies of bacteria trapped in these ice deposits? Under selective evolutionary pressure, the creatures on Mars ( p.25 ) have developed larger than normal eyes to help them see better in a dimmer sunlight, and the creatures of Uranus dance to the tunes played on pipes as a way of keeping warm in this cold region of the solar system ( p.30 ).
After a tour of the solar system, Mrs. Moore takes us on a journey to extra-solar planets which themselves have life forms adapted to their own specific conditions. In this vast Universe of ours, especially one that corresponds to the Steady State model, who knows what evolution is going to throw at us in the way of weird and wonderful life forms? In such a universe, with neither beginning nor end, who can be so bold as to dare say that the life forms presented to us in the artistic endeavours of Mrs. Gertrude L. Moore never have existed, do not exist, and never will be products of the evolutionary process which is prevalent throughout the cosmos.
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