Leaving Earth cover

In 2019 I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I sold about half of these, and with only a handful left in stock I have raised the price. To get your own autographed copy of this rare collector's item please send a $75 check (includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

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

I will likely raise the price again when only ten books are left, so buy them now at this price while you still can!

Also available as an inexpensive ebook!

Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.


Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.

"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

Maurice Jarre – Building the Barn

An evening pause: From the 1985 film, Witness.

Collective action can be a great thing, as long as it is done voluntarily and with good will. Makes a good introduction to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hat tip Danae.

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.


  • vonmazur

    Very nice scene, but I think I think Weird Al Yankovik’s “Amish Paradise” covered this as well..

  • Andrew_W

    Recognize the guy on the right?

  • I used to live right down the road from the farm used in the movie Witness. Some of the old landmarks are gone now – the Dairy Queen has been replaced by a Waffle House, but a lot is still recognizable. Now I have to watch the whole movie again.

  • Andrew_W

    LOTR, obviously much loved in NZ (though not as much as Hasselhoff is in Germany).

  • wayne


    “The Hoff Burger” (1/3lb.)
    Carl’s Jr. 2007 (parody)

  • wayne

    totally tangential….
    Q: Do you folks a national holiday, along the lines of Thanksgiving?

    President Trump pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey

    “Trump isn’t sure if the 9th Circuit will rule against the pardon. It’s sorta hilarious listening to him stick the knife in democrat’s.”

  • Andrew_W

    Wayne, so far we’ve escaped Thanksgiving, other American events like Halloween are gaining a foothold though.

  • Andrew_W: A poor choice. If you had to pick one American holiday to copy, Thanksgiving is probably the best. There is something both humble and noble in a tradition that calls for families to gather and give thanks for what they have, and to wish for better in the coming year.

    To pick Halloween, which increasingly is celebrating the ugly parts of human nature (when it originally was a vehicle for giving the young a taste of independence), is definitely going in the wrong direction.

  • Andrew_W

    I agree Mr. Zimmerman, the problem is the kids, they’re inundated with American children’s programs that push Halloween, all timed to hit the screens in the run-up to the event, so the propaganda effort is on, targeting the most innocent, and trying to use kid power to bully the parents into submission. We resist of course, and I can boast that there was no Halloween at our place, not even a knock at the door, but I fear that in the long term the war will be lost.

  • Andrew_W

    Mr. Zimmerman, we do have fathers day, which I consider to be the most appropriate Thanksgiving, it’s just a pity that I’m still the one that has to pay for it all.

  • wayne

    Andrew/Mr. Z.:
    Personally, I like Halloween! It’s one of our better quasi-religious/Civil Holidays.
    I look at Halloween in the same vein as when the Coke-a-Cola folks invented the modern caricature of Santa Claus and turned Christmas into a commercial/civil-holiday. (I don’t recall Reindeer being mentioned in the Bible, and since when did Jesus Christ’s birthday, morph into December? The (ancient) tax-collecting/census stuff, didn’t happen in December, did it?)
    What other day allows you to approach your neighbors and by agreed upon convention, receive free snacks? (I always considered that quintessential Americana!)
    Normally, I get about 50 trick-or-treater’s, but that is heavily dependent upon the weather. (This year= zero, it was cold & it rained. And, the demographic in my immediate neighborhood consists of older folks without younger children, and newly marrieds’ with infants.) (and a bit of “dinks,” –dual-income no-kids.)

    (sorry– not communicating clearly today, sleep deprivation!)


    “Lincoln’s Timeless Thanksgiving Proclamation”
    October 3, 1863.
    By the President of the United States -A Proclamation:

  • wayne: You are describing Halloween as it used to be. In the big urban cities and in the culture today it is no longer this. Kids nowadays do not go trick-or-treating on their own. They go with their parents, if they go at all, and they usually go to the mall. And older kids, the ones who used to take the lead, don’t go because the act now appears to be for little kids.

    We have gotten so few trick-or-treaters since moving to Tucson that we didn’t even bother buying candy this year. And got none.

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “Collective action can be a great thing, as long as it is done voluntarily and with good will. Makes a good introduction to the Thanksgiving holiday.

    This year, we had a two-day Thanksgiving, with Wednesday being pie baking (and a movie night), and Thursday being turkey baking, final preps, and the main dinner and desert.

    Wednesday’s dinner was not a feast, but we tried a piecaken ( https://www.delish.com/cooking/videos/a56418/wtfood-piecaken-video/ ), a desert inspired by the turducken (AKA three bird roast). It was a good first try, but we need to polish up our technique before we go commercial with it, like inventor chef Zac Young seems to have done.

    Both days, the kitchen was full of (probably too many) people working together (collective action) and full of conversation. The movie scene reminds me very much of our holiday.

    But maybe next year we should bake fewer pies.

  • wayne

    That Piecaken sounds interesting!!

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