Rhetoric | Alan Bean Plus Four

A Short Story by Tom Hanks

Sometimes merely following the meandering stream of links occasioned by an original link shared by someone else, leads us to a happy and unexpected revelation.  Serendipity.  Such was  the case when a friend shared a 60th birthday tweet by Tom Hanks, leading my wife to a series of additional clever and creative tweets by  Mr.  Hanks. One thing led to another, and we found ourselves at a short story by Hanks, published in the New Yorker in 2014.  Within the New Yorker story was a link  to a recording of Hanks himself reading the story.  We listened to it together and both enjoyed it, while learning some of the hard science involved in a trans-lunar orbital flight.

Knowing that Tom Hanks was immersed in a study of NASA and Lunar travel while preparing for his role in the 1995 film,  Apollo 13 , I fully expected that the “science” in his little piece of “fiction” would be spot-on.  I was not disappointed.  I immediately thought that the narrative itself, being so well-written and well-delivered, would easily capture and keep the attention of school children, especially since Hanks weaves in references to the e-gadgets that so enamor contemporary kids.  So, I hope that if you know any young people  you will share this link with them.  I think they will find this a science lesson wrapped in a very tasty and colorful shell.