In Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Have Space Suit, Will Travel, his teenaged hero, Kip, enters an advertising jingle writing contest for Skyway Soap, for which the first prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the Moon. Kip doesn’t win, but instead gets a consolation prize, a used space suit, and ends up having incredibly adventures that take him a lot further than the Moon.
I had one of those moments when I realized I’m living in the science fictional future of my childhood when I went into Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick up some Dixie Cups and found myself face to face with a poster advertising a contest: “Hitch A Ride to Outer Space” it said. “Enter for a chance to win a sub-orbital space flight.”
The sponsor isn’t the fictional Skyway Soap, but the very real Gilette. And the company providing the spaceflight? Space Adventures, the very people who have already sent several tourists up to the International Space Station.
I wonder if they knew about this at the Heinlein Centennial?