”[Paul] Scheerbart’s book bears the subtitle An Asteroid Novel, and all of its action takes place far from Earth. Not a single human character appears in the story; nor do its protagonists resemble the anthropomorphized aliens of so much science fiction. Rather, Scheerbart populates the asteroid Pallas with a race of newt-like creatures who are capable, when provoked, of expanding their bodies to several times their normal size. Moreover, the Pallasians have eyes that extend on stalks and function as telescopes or microscopes (the latter for reading micro-books: the Pallasians wear, as personal adornment, entire libraries around their necks).”
Speaking of that story from The Atavist we mentioned a moment ago: my favorite bit of US-USSR Space Race history is the fact that the US devoted upwards of $25 million to its chimpanzee research (that later launched Ham into orbit). That money went to training, research, feed, and veterinary care. On the other side of the world, the USSR’s space dog program — including Laika, Strelka and Belka — consisted exclusively of stray dogs the scientists found on their ways to work.
“The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry