Help me get lost in space.
December 28, 2009 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Help me get lost in space.

I've recently become enchanted by the idea of being lost in space. Most recently spurned by Shiny Toy Guns covers of Major Tom.

It's mostly these lines:
across the stratosphere
a final message
"give my wife my love"
then nothing more

far beneath the ship
the world is mourning
they don't realize
he's alive

Something so creepy/beautiful about being so completely lost and disconnected from everything you know. It scares the crap out of me while at the same time fascinating me. The way that simple radio signal is the only tether to the entire world.

Couple this with the fact that only a year or so ago did I finally grasp the amount of balls it takes to launch a human being off the face of their own planet. It boggles the mind.

Anyways, that was a tangent there...

OK, so I'm looking for more media, be it songs, books, movies, short stories, whatever, about being lost and alone in space. I'm a slow reader, so huge novels are prohibitive, but I'll take whatever you guys can throw out at me.

Thanks for your help!
posted by toekneebullard to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Apollo 13 was a blockbuster about being semi-lost and semi-alone, if three guys trapped in a tin can too far away from Earth to be rescued with nothing but their radio connection to the surface for comfort and technical help counts.
posted by radiosilents at 7:09 PM on December 28, 2009

and plus with Apollo 13 after you've consumed the big screen blockbuster, there are many books detailing what actually happened to those people during that ordeal as well.
posted by radiosilents at 7:11 PM on December 28, 2009

Stories of lost cosmonauts.
posted by condour75 at 7:15 PM on December 28, 2009

I'm always recommending Contact on MeFi, but a big part of the plot is the main character coming to terms with going into space by herself. If you don't want to read the whole novel, the movie with Jodie Foster is pretty good.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:53 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Silent Running!
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:18 PM on December 28, 2009

2001 (love it) and Moon (haven't seen it yet) both deal with being isolated in space, although not necessarily lost.

Parts of The Stars My Destination feature the protagonist, alone, in a ruined spaceship, with a limited air supply.
posted by puritycontrol at 8:21 PM on December 28, 2009

Rocket Man?
posted by pised at 8:24 PM on December 28, 2009

why I have just the thing:

posted by spacefire at 8:25 PM on December 28, 2009

There were a lot of episodes of Twilight Zone about that. It's constantly in reruns on cable.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:28 PM on December 28, 2009

Jonathan Lethem's story "Lostronaut" is great and terrifying.
posted by equalpants at 8:32 PM on December 28, 2009

Boy, we are on the same page. Love this stuff. The Black Hole. Solyaris. Sunshine. Silent Running. Moon. Robinson Crusoe on Mars.

All of those fall into the same loose category of being 'stranded in space'. Solyaris is hands down the best of the lot. At least pick that up and see if you like it.
posted by OrangeSoda at 8:44 PM on December 28, 2009

If you can find (or download) a copy, The Loneliest of Creatures by Jordan Reyne is a great ambient-electronic-type concept album about a lost little space probe trying to fulfil it's mission. She does a good job of capturing the mood you're talking about.
posted by shelleycat at 8:53 PM on December 28, 2009 [3 favorites]

Play Dead Space ? (at night with the lights out)
posted by querty at 9:03 PM on December 28, 2009

Here's a good recent short: "Recovering Apollo 8."
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 9:23 PM on December 28, 2009

Planetes. You can get the whole thing on Netflix; none of the standard anime cliches apply.

One major character's story arc is based on the psychological changes that come from his experience being lost in space.
posted by pts at 9:32 PM on December 28, 2009

Ray Bradbury's short story Kaleidoscope came to mind. The link says "scary for kids," but it's pretty scary for adults, too.
posted by tyrantkitty at 9:53 PM on December 28, 2009

If you can find (or download) a copy, The Loneliest of Creatures by Jordan Reyne is a great ambient-electronic-type concept album about a lost little space probe trying to fulfil it's mission. She does a good job of capturing the mood you're talking about.

Holy cow, it's available for free at her website.
posted by codswallop at 10:36 PM on December 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

Regarding the Twilight Zone recommendation, SyFy is having a marathon for New Years... 40 hours or so I believe. If you have a digital program guide, it should be easy to find any relevant episodes, and there's always TV Guide's or SyFy's.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:18 PM on December 28, 2009

This may not be exactly what you asked for, but this 60 meg JPG from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field makes me feel that way.

Those things in the image are galaxies, and that photo is of a part of the sky about one-tenth the size of the moon.
posted by Jairus at 12:20 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you have an Imax theater near you, check out Magnificent Desolation. I think it's also on DVD, though the experience won't be the same.

Among other amazing scenes, there's a shot of the lunar landscape with a tine little lander on it. Imagine... a whole world with only two humans on it! There's also another scene where they show the procedure for getting back to the LEM after a lunar rover accident.

It's a little dated, but Arthur C. Clarke's A Fall Of Moondust is about a group of tourists stranded under the lunar dust.

Come to think of it, Rendezvous With Rama, another Clarke novel, might also do the trick. It was the first book that made me think about just how huge the universe is.
posted by bondcliff at 5:51 AM on December 29, 2009

This episode of Stargate SG-1.
posted by geekchic at 6:53 AM on December 29, 2009

In the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins talks about being referred to as "the loneliest man in the universe" while orbiting the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the surface. The other astronauts in the film also talk about the overwhelming feeling of seeing the whole circle of the Earth from deep space. Pretty moving stuff.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:55 AM on December 29, 2009

Oh, and check out the 1969 film Marooned. I read somewhere (probably Apollo 13/Lost Moon) that Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell's wife did not enjoy watching it prior to his launch, for obvious reasons.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:08 AM on December 29, 2009

Spiritualized's "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" from the album of the same name.
posted by herbaliser at 9:14 AM on December 29, 2009

Kool Keith's Album "Black Elvis/Lost In Space" has a song on it called Lost in Space, which is pretty cool. Also a few other good tracks on that album (some of which may be relevant).

Speaking of cool (and relevant) hip-hop albums, Deltron 3030 is an awesome concept album all about space travel and the future.

Also Sun Ra's Space is the Place.
posted by rosswald at 9:50 AM on December 29, 2009

Response by poster: This right here, this is why I love Metafilter so very much. You guys are the awesomest. I'm gonna spend months working through all this stuff. THANK YOU!

To add, there's a band, BraveSaintsaturn, that released a 3 concept albums.
So Far from Home - about getting lost on a mission to orbit Saturn
The Light of Things Hoped For - about getting found again
Anti-Meridian - about coming home.
posted by toekneebullard at 12:13 PM on December 29, 2009

FM's album Black Noise deals with space travel and the loneliness involved. Lyrics here.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 1:40 PM on December 29, 2009

If you're interested, you can watch the MST3K episode of the repackaged version of "Marooned," which is re-titled as "Space Travelers." Featuring Gene Hackman and James Franciscus. ...Or is it Tony Franciosa?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:02 AM on January 1, 2010

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