Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

May 21, 2021 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

Embedded below the fold in two parts.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


  • Mark

    Another informative broadcast episode with Bob and John Batchelor. Like the chronicles of the moon race of the 1960s, fifty years from now there will histories written of this new ‘Mars Race’. When reviewing the PRC Zhurong, those who are brave will agree with Bob’s comment “They stole it”.
    For these weekly broadcasts, we need to nominate Bob and John for a Science Media Award for Best Audio Science. Does anybody know of any institution that handles such awards?

  • Bob, I believe the movie you are thinking of is “Destination Moon” from 1950. Big steel rockets!

  • wayne

    That’s my cue….

    Destination Moon (1950)
    –>very nice print!

  • wayne

    a very nice print as well, can be found here:

    (stream or download, no commercials)

  • wayne

    Can’t forget—-
    (great rocket-launch scene!)

  • wayne

    Oh yeah, John Batchelor is a national-treasure! (Not to mention our own Mr. Z.!)

    Mr. Z.;
    I think “reality television,’ is what you were thinking of. (personally, I only watch Gold Rush, pirated off the interweb, as I have no cable.)

    related to the initial theme:
    ->Great science-fiction Pulp Magazine covers!

  • James Street

    I find myself humming “Flash” by Queen whenever Starship launches.

    Queen – Flash (Official Video) – 2:52

  • James Street

    Meanwhile from the world of Elon Musk:

    Elon Musk @elonmusk
    Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology
    2:22 AM · May 22, 2021

  • Steve Golson: Yup, that’s the movie. In trying to gently correct John, I goofed slightly myself, though I think if anyone wanted to find it, using our discussion as a guide, they can.

  • Wayne: You are the man to ask: Is there a viewable version of “When Worlds Collide” available anywhere on line?

  • Wayne: Heh. You answered my question before I asked it!

  • wayne

    Good stuff!

    Starship looks a lot like…..

    Fireball XL5 (1962)
    Intro & Outro

  • wayne

    If anyone wants to watch Fireball XL5, without utilizing youtube….
    (about 145MB’s per episode in .mp4)

  • Icepilot

    Now watching “Destination Moon” (again) via Starlink (score!), having read the book many years ago. Heinlien’s prediction of Elon Musk is prescient beyond belief.

  • Mark McSherry

    Concerning DESTINATION MOON: hosts the 48 minute TV kinescope of “City at Night”—

    “… (a) TV magazine show, hosted by Keith Hetherington and Dorothy Gardiner.

    “Traveling to a different and unannounced location of interest every week, the program here presents a “live,” behind-the-scenes look at the shooting of the film “Destination Moon”.

    “Based on information discussed within the program and program schedules published in the Los Angeles Times,” someone on the Internet has “deduced that it was telecast on October 11, 1949.”

    Heinlein makes his first appearance at the 12:00 minute mark.

    The RAH collection “Requiem: New Collected Works by Robert A. Heinlein and Tributes to the Grand Master” has three Destination Moon articles-

    – RAH’s novelette ‘Destination Moon”
    – RAH’s piece that appeared in the July 1950 Astounding Science Fiction called “Shooting Destination Moon”
    – RAH’s Guest of Honor speech (1969 Rio de Janeiro Movie Festival) prior to a showing of DM

    Requiem also has RAH’s 1940 first D. D. Harriman story, “Requiem”, but not the 1950 ‘Harriman’ short novel, “The Man Who Sold the Moon.”

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *