About the Author

Jonathan and Kath during The Great American Eclipse - Wyoming 2017

Jonathan and Kath during The Great American Eclipse - Wyoming 2017

 
 

About the author

My interest in the astronomy and science started with my Dad. On freezing cold nights we would squint at dancing planets and bright moons through his ancient telescope. With broad sweeps of his arms he would transverse the heavens identifying constellations and celestial objects.

Even in Runcorn there was a buzz about the sixties, the Beatles were happening in nearby Liverpool and we were still culturally optimistic despite the background threat of The Cold War. Between the age of 8 and 10 two extraordinary things happened; we landed on the moon and England won the World Cup (although the later is now widely believed to be a hoax).

Neither of these events turned out to be the start of either; manned exploration of the Universe; or English football mastery but were their high points. Almost fifty years after the last moon landing no human has been beyond a low earth orbit.

When I was sixteen I bought a proper telescope and suddenly the heavens opened with the rings of Saturn, the red disk of Mars, the crescent of Venus, the moons and cloud bands of Jupiter revealed in all their beauty. Space exploration did not halt with the moon but continued to explore these amazing objects with robots and probes. However the imagined dense swamps of Venus and vegetation and canals of Mars evaporated when the reality of these hostile planets was examined at close range.

At 18 I was lucky enough to leave the provincial confines of Runcorn and arrived London to become an architect, man about town and eventually a father.

Unlike Mars, London is great place to bring up kids and by the time I was in my forties I had three amazing boys, Sam, Adam and Owen. My partner Kath also has three, Nathan, Eva and KayD and if that wasn’t enough, we were unexpectedly joined by Samatha, Luke and Emerald. It’s just as well that I enjoy cooking!

I still love looking at the stars and now have a powerful portable telescope I cart around and have witnessed some extraordinary events from the northern lights, the transit of Venus (Twice) and three eclipses of the sun.

On a long journey to CornwallI heard a radio program about two proposed manned trips to Mars. One was to send an ageing couple there and back without landing and the other was to drop a crew on the planet with no plans to get them home.

The problem was their weight and getting them off the planet apparently. Why not send a really light crew? Why not kids!! They’re, light, smart and enjoy sitting on a sofa for months on end. Perfect crew!

I did lots and lots of drawings to develop the idea as a story board.

The script grew into a novel. It has been an immensely rewarding experience and I’ve also enjoyed designing spaceships and all the drawing and research that goes with it.

The book is not just a tale about a journey, but an examination of two planets, their difference and similarities and the importance of appreciating life and our place in the cosmos.

The Other Things by Jonathan Dransfield

The Author is currently reading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Other books he has enjoyed are:

The Martian by Andy Weir

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams