Writers and Astronauts

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The Overview Effect – it’s what the space traveling community calls the feeling astronauts get in space when looking down on the Earth from their windows.  Those who have experienced it say it reveals the true meaning of the word awe.  They get to see what our planet is like as a whole, removed from all the little story lines of individual human lives.

Sound familiar?  It does to me.  I can’t help but think about the different ways an author and a first time reader view a book.  The author is the astronaut, with the big picture in mind, and the reader is the person on the ground, going through the storyline of their lives, unaware of what comes next. 

Astronauts think that the overview effect is more beautiful than seeing the Earth from the ground.  What do you think?  Is a book better appreciated by the author or literary expert doing analysis who sees the big picture?  Or is the reader, experiencing all of the surprise and emotion of the character and story they’re following, the more “awe struck” of the two?

Maybe there’s an answer, or maybe the answer is a mix of the two.  Either way I highly recommend watching this video about the Overview Effect – it really makes you think.


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