I was living in Colorado and the weather was warm, so that would put the solar eclipse between 1983 and 1987. Near midday, the temperature quickly dipped several degrees, chilling the air. The landscape darkened but not the way it does at dusk. There was no gold-to-copper wash across ground or sky, only a bluish gray shadow. I allowed myself to imagine the fear people must have felt before science revealed the matching of sun and moon in the same arc.
A solar eclipse is awesome. A scientific explanation doesn’t remove its magic or inspiration… especially for writers. Whether or not you’ll be in the viewing path of the August 21st full solar eclipse, you can experience its impact through some wonderful books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Just in time for this year’s rare full eclipse, author David Baron has produced an ambitious non-fiction book, American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World. An extensive list of the best eclipse-related non-fiction books and articles, as judged by members of the American Astronomical Society, can be found at the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force website.
And then there’s great fiction. How many of these novels involving a solar eclipse have you read?
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain (1889)
Nightfall – Isaac Asimov (short story 1941; novel 1990)
Voyage: a novel of 1896 – Sterling Hayden (1976)
Gerald’s Game and Dolores Claiborne – Stephen King (1992)
And for young readers:
Every Soul a Star – Wendy Mass (2008)
A solar eclipse lasts only one to three minutes. Reading a great book entertains and informs for a few hours; its impact lasts a lifetime.