From One Great Enterprise to Another
In 1977 the U.S. space shuttle Enterprise made its first manned flight into space. Remarkably its original name, Constitution, was only changed to the more inspiring Enterprise following an intense letter-writing campaign to President Jimmy Carter by Trekkie fans, attempting to make the fiction of Star Trek a reality. Much of it did, of course, Gene Rodenberry having the foresight to create automatically opening doors, speaking computers, tricorders, and hands-free communication devices.
Thankfully clothes made of tinfoil have not (yet) come to pass.
Marc Bolan, of T-Rex fame, made a different kind of flight – sadly horizontal – when his incapacitated girlfriend drove their Mini straight into a tree, making of him a 20th Century Boy, who would never go on to join the 21st.
Elvis Presley, King of Rock ‘n Roll, also kicked off his mortal coil, though not from Houston, and has never come back, despite the many sightings from that day to this.
Jay Anson published The Amityville Horror, but never fear, for Sarah Michelle Gellar, aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was born in the same year, going on to save us from all the other-worldly and world-ending scenarios that Buffy’s seriously creative inventor, Joss Wheldon, later dreamt up for us. Not his fault, though, that volcanoes erupted in Japan, Italy, and Hawaii, but at least they did not end the world.
It is also 400 years since the publication of one of the most important books in the history of Britain, namely Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, a hugely influential work that was the main source for many playwrights and poets, including William Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser. Despite being known as Holinshed's Chronicles, the work is entirely collaborative, a great many contributing authors and subsequent revisers coming from very many different standpoints, from rampant Protestant to diehard Catholic, and thus giving an extraordinarily comprehensive overview of its life and times, namely Elizabethan and Tudor.
It is fitting, then, that on its opening page we are told that up until a very few years previously, it was believed that the world was divided into three parts: Asia, Europe and Africa, but now they know different, having sent explorers far and wide, discovering new countries and continents, going boldly, in fact, where none had gone before.
Clio Gray, author of crime novels including the Stroop series, based in Scotland