Over 40 years after astronaut Buzz Aldrin first become a household name with that whole “going to the moon for the first time in human history” jazz, the 83-year-old is set to step right back into the spotlight. Or at least behind the scenes of the spotlight.
Aldrin is hard at work adapting his celebrated 1996 novel Encounter With Tiber, which eh co-wrote with author John Barnes, into a television series. While it would seem to be a challenging text to transform into episodic TV, don’t let anybody fool you into thinking Aldrin has doubts about it. Here’s what the legendary astronaut has to say:
I believe that it will be better than Star Trek or Star Wars because it is more realistic, it deals with real kind of beings a long time ago that had realistic travel capabilities and they weren’t shooting people up or anything. It is genuine progression of exploration to the point where we are now, in our thinking. And [in the story] we think about getting that new information that the fictitious aliens left that we found and gave us the knowledge to travel from our sun to nearby stars… I think what we are doing will progressively be a lot more realistic.
The futuristic novel tells of the discovery that an advanced alien species visited Earth a thousand years ago, and follows a group of scientists trying to unravel the mystery and reach the aliens’ home planet. This is absolutely the kind of cerebral sci-fi kick in the ass that TV needs. I’m all for shows like Defiance and the science fiction renaissance that The CW will soon be going through, but a lot of those shows’ drama relies on action and face-to-face conflicts. I’d love to see more thoughtful takes on space and alien life on TV. Encounter with Tiber still in its earliest stages, of course, so there are bound to be a few hiccups along the way.
Incidentally, Aldrin was asked which of the two sci-fi stalwarts he preferred: Star Trek or Star Wars. His answer, unsurprisingly, is the more realistic one. “Well I think Star Trek was a little bit better organized for spacecraft operations,” he said. “Star Wars was more of a conflict of different people in space.” Just don’t ask him about After Earth.