Lunarian shows are famous and they are not for export since the low surface gravity is of the essence. Expert Lunarian gymnasts can perform ”gravity-defying” feats that are simply impossible on Earth, even for gibbons. Tourists cannot fail to be enthralled.

A Tourist’s Guide to the Moon

Isaac Asimov


Isaac Asimov, one of the world most popular Sci-Fi authors, and a formidable scientist, wrote many fictional yarns about journeys to the moon. His highly plausible and entertaining Tourist’s Guide to the Moon, which appeared in the New York Times in 1982, paints a lovable picture of lunar tourism in the year 2082. But Asimov’s many Moon-based novels and short stories are but grains on a cosmic beach of popular culture Moon references.

Popular culture is mythology for the modern age and in it the position of the Moon has been no less significant. Eye-adhesive novels, audio-visual movie spectacles, quirky cartoons, dynamic T.V. shows, heart-wrenching tunes and weird and wonderful dance moves have daily served us the Moon, dramatically festooned, on a platter.

As a symbol, darker literary and cinematic material has played upon the myths of old, bashing on primitive heartstrings with a gamut of diabolical creatures. It’s ghostly illumination, setting the mood for a dazzling theatre of primitive instincts manifested.

Horror movies and novels feature homicidal humans, anthropomorphic creatures and wild forest predators who howl, cackle and grin at their shining Moon accomplice before embarking on maniacal and/or blood thirsty attacks on our heroines and heroes. Freddy Kruger, Frankenstien and Dracular are but a few in a bloody smorgasbord of fictional horror characters.

But as the champion of the night, the Moon is also a champion of romance and feeling. As a poetic image in songs and sonnets it harnesses our love and lust, motivating acts of seedy predation, chivalry and courage or helps with the nursing of wounded egos and painful emotions. The classic 1934 song Blue Moon, by Rodgers and Hart is a perfect example, conjuring to mind a lone traveler, sitting horseback on a rugged desert promontory singing to the Moon of lost love and misery. And in the classic 80s adventure comedy, The Jewel of the Nile, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) and Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) though separated by space, look longingly at the same time at the Moon, a brief symbol of their love for one another.

But when the work of Gallileo proved Copernicus right, dislodging the notion of the Earth as the centre of the Universe, the galaxy and the moon took on a whole new meaning. The potentials of an infinite Universe soon entertained our greatest minds, and adventures of galactic discovery burst into popular culture.

Lyrically described journeys to magically formed planets, with strange flora and fauna, complex social formations and titillating technological inventions are many. And in all of them Moon has featured prominently. A stepping-stone journey in its self, where space tools are sharpened, minds adapted and all manner of space-related physiological and psychological problems resolved, it appears in galactic colonization back-stories or as the story’s prime location.

Jules Verne took us to the Moon in From the Earth to the Moon in 1865. H.G. Wells gave us Moon-dwelling insect-like creatures in The First Men in the Moon in 1901. And the many novels that followed included plot lines from the sublime to the ridiculous. There are now literally thousands of Sci-Fi novels featuring the Moon. From Stephen Baxter’s Moon Six in which Astronauts arrive on the Moon and start shifting between realities to Athur C. Clark’s 2001: A Space Odyssey which was soon transformed into an enduring Sci-Fi classic of the silver screen.

Indelibly imprinted on many a Western mind, Stanley Kubrick’s cinema version opens with the first signs of primitive intelligence in a rag-tag gathering of cave dwelling Neanderthals (to the best musical accompaniment ever given to the dawning of a great idea) – monkey smarts somehow sparked by the presence of a big black monolith. Then it takes us to the Moon. Here, astronauts in the then future have found yet another big black monolith, the strange transmissions of which will ultimately lead mankind to Jupiter and beyond.

The Moon, as a symbol and fictional or very real place has, and will continue to feature prominently in all forms of popular culture. Here at we’ll be devouring it enthusiastically.

We’re compiling a Moon in popular culture database and we’d like you to help.

Visit The Moon in Popular Culture Database Forum [LINK], tell us about your favourite thus far unlisted novel, movie, T.V. show, cartoon, comic book, computer game, board game, song or dance in which the Moon features prominently (or perhaps just a good one not listed), and we’ll add it. We also have editors’ picks and a star rating system allowing you to rank each popular culture reference presented.

Project Moon aims to be the greatest repository of Moon pop culture the world has ever known.

                                  The Moon in Popular Culture Database


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