If you read one thing about the Atlantis shuttle launch, read this first-hand account by Karen James.

It's beautiful and vivid writing. The attention to detail (the bit with the shadow) and sense of place ("It begins when the white noise of nervous chatter around me gradually coalesces into a ragged chant") are marvellous. Also, note the economy of phrase. Eight words at the end of paragraph four remind us of tragedy amidst the excitement. The quote in the antepenultimate graf ("My job is now obsolete") reminds us that this is the last shuttle mission, leaving us to ponder the implications without shoving it down our throats.

For me at least, it's so much better than Norman Mailer's purple prose http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/07/norman-mailer-on-a-rocket-launch-more-of-a-miracle-than-a-mechanical-phenomenon/241652/
Shared publiclyView activity