As a writer of science fiction — a label he tried strenuously to shed, not wanting his books to be shelved in the genre ghetto — [Vonnegut] was curiously blasé, even antagonistic, about the moon landing on July 20, 1969. On a broadcast with Walter Cronkite, Gloria Steinem and others, he dissed the entire enterprise and reiterated his view that the $33 billion should have been spent “cleaning up our filthy colonies here on Earth.” The avuncular Cronkite let it go, but CBS was swamped with furious letters. (For the record, many of the writers felt that Steinem too had been “un-American.”)

Christopher Buckley. So on what grounds does one assume that a writer of science fiction is supposed to support the U.S. space program? Do writers sign some sort of pledge when they produce SF novels to cheerlead for moon shots, and I’ve just been unaware of this?