Friday High Five: Mission to Mars, Mike Nichols and Book Titles

Elmo Keep on a One-Way, Privatised Mission to Mars

In this exemplary piece of long-form journalism, Elmo Keep reports on a one-way mission to colonise Mars, dreamed up, organised and financed by private, not-for-profit company Mars One. ‘It is, essentially, a marketing campaign with two goals: first, to raise enough interest among the global community in a manned Mars mission so that crowd-funding and advertising revenues will be generated to the tune of billions of dollars; and, second, to use this money - largely to be raised through a reality television series documenting the training process and journey to Mars from Earth - to pay for the mission itself.’

Illustration by Josh Cochran, *Matter*.

Illustration by Josh Cochran, Matter.

Daniel Handler’s Racist Joke at US National Book Awards

America’s National Book Awards winners were announced on Wednesday - and presenter Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket books, made at least one major misstep, when he joked about African American author Jacqueline Woodson, winner of the Young People’s Award for Brown Girl Dreaming, being allergic to watermelon.

Hanna Rosin on her former best friend Stephen Glass

Sixteen years ago, Stephen Glass nearly ruined The New Republic when it was revealed that the many bizarre stories that had made his career were - almost completely - fabricated. He’s since been the subject of a thinly fictionalised novel (which he wrote) and a film, Shattered Glass, starring Hayden Christensen. Hanna Rosin worked with Glass on The New Republic and was one of his best friends; in a fascinating piece for the magazine, she confronts him.

Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass in the movie *Shattered Glass*.

Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass in the movie Shattered Glass.

Here’s to You, Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols, legendary Hollywood director (and sixties comedy star, with Elaine May), has died, aged 83. The internet is jam-packed with fond tributes today, but if you’re after some quality reflection, it’s worth reading this in-depth 2008 Vanity Fair piece on the making of The Graduate, his second film. (His first was the marvellous Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton).

Mike Nichols on the set of *The Graduate*, with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft.

Mike Nichols on the set of The Graduate, with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft.

‘Baby’ names for books: On the titling process

What is Trimalchio in West Egg? Well, it was nearly the title of The Great Gatsby. The Millions looks at the process of titling books, asking authors to share their stories of how their books were named.