Elon Musk's Debt To Science Fiction Books

Elon Musk, who developed Tesla Motors, PayPal and SpaceX, has revealed his source of inspiration - science fiction.

During his interview with DnA host Frances Anderton, the SpaceX founder said that science fiction had inspired his wide-ranging career. Naturally, this GalleyCat editor asked what books inspired the entrepreneur. Musk gave a long answer:

In terms of sci-fi books, I think Isaac Asimov is really great. I like the Foundation series, probably one of the all-time best. Robert Heinlein, obviously. I like The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and I like Stranger in a Strange Land, although it kind of goes off the rails at the end.

Take a look at a few of Musk's projects, and their science fiction antecedents:

  • Private Space Flight At 'Inflection Point'
    Science fiction fans have long been comfortable with the private exploration of space.
  • Tesla Model S Not Your Grandfather's Electric Phaeton
    John Jacob Astor IV set forth a marvelous vision of a national fleet of electric phaetons that would truly revolutionize motor transport in his 1894 story A Journey in Other Worlds.
  • Space Junkyard in North Hollywood
    Robert Heinlein looks for a ship in a whole field full of freighters abandoned on the Moon in his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children.
  • SpaceX Dragon To Land On Any Planet
    I thought I'd mention that this private space craft that can easily take off and then land back on a planetary surface sounds a lot like science fictional space craft like Heinein's Joy-boat Junior.
  • SpaceX Grasshopper Rocket Lands On Its Tail
    For decades, sf fans have dreamed of having rocket ships that can land on their tails, like sf writers intended.
  • Via Media Bistro.

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