Only the Astronauts

(Trade paper)
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'Ceridwen Dovey has a rare, wild genius. The stories in Only the Astronauts are extraordinary, funny, delightful and moving. Dovey sees tenderly what it is to be human - from a perspective that is out-of-this-world imaginative.' Anna Funder

Adrift in outer space, a motley crew of human-made objects tell their tales, making real history sweeter and stranger.

Starman, a lovelorn mannequin orbiting the Sun in his cherry-red car, pines for his creator. The first sculpture ever taken to the Moon is possessed by the spirit of Neil Armstrong. The International Space Station, awaiting deorbit and burial in a spacecraft cemetery beneath the ocean, farewells its last astronauts. A team of tamponauts sets off on a perilous mission to Mars inspired by the courage of their predecessors. The Voyager 1 space probe - carrying its precious Golden Record - is captured by Oortians near the edge of the solar system and drawn into their baroque, glimmering rituals.

By turns joyous and mournful, these object-astronauts are not high priests of the universe but something a little . . . weirder. From their inverted perspectives, they observe humans both intimately and from a great distance, bearing witness to a civilisation unable to live up to its own ideals. And yet each still finds in our planet - in their humans - something worthy of love.

'Transmitted to us with a light touch and no trace of sentimentality.' J.M. Coetzee
'Wholly extraordinary.' Michelle de Kretser
'A fable-like surface, and a whole churning world beneath.' The Guardian
'A form of lyrical anthropology.' Canberra Times
'Anarchic brilliance.' The Age