February 23, 2017

Readers of Earth unite: let’s shoot Elon Musk’s favorite books into space


Artist’s rendering of the recently discovered planetary system Trappist-1. Via Wikipedia.

Yesterday, following the incredible news that astronomers had discovered seven Earth-sized, and possibly Earth-like (i.e. life-supporting), planets orbiting a star just thirty-nine light years away from Earth, we here at MobyLives decided, given humanity’s long history of responding to such discoveries by imagineering, westward-hoing, and all-around boldly-going-where, that it’s about time we turned our attention to the serious question of space libraries: namely, what to stock them with (space books, natch, but which ones?), how those space books might be delivered (by space rocket), and who will frequent these space spaces of free and independent thought (judging by the available data, this will likely be current entrepreneur and noted non-Peter Thiel, and future space patron, Elon Musk).

Getting the books to the aspiring Mars colonizer’s new vacation home in TRAPPIST-1, which is what the newly discovered planetary system is called, will be pretty easy, we think. We’ll just blast them. Into space. Willy-nilly. Like rockets—idea rockets, you could say—in the general direction of Musk’s space house.

That’s how it’s done.

Once the books are there, we can rely on Musk to fetch them from the space roof of his space home, probably using a space broomstick or space ladder or whatever. He’ll then take them to the library, and properly shelve them.

But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Before we can stock Elon Musk’s space library for him, we must first ask: what books does Elon Musk like to read? And what books were essential to “launching his history-making career”? Thankfully, NBC’s Marguerite Ward has already done this work for us, giving us more time to focus on what’s really important: shooting some of these highly influential books into outer space.

Since Musk has been holding up his end of the deal, we thought we’d share these fresh design plans from MelvilleXLabs, where the future of spacefaring literature is being born as we speak. We have devised a mathematically rigorous flight proposal for each of Musk’s favorite books, and we are proud to share them with you here. Enjoy, friends — and welcome to the future.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

Merchants of Doubt by Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes

Lord of the Flies by William Golding


Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov



Chad Felix is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House, and a former bookseller.