The former House speaker has long been known for his boyish enthusiasm for subjects like dinosaurs, zoos and outer space. And in his 1996 book “To Renew America” he even devoted a short chapter to proposals that are, in some cases, directly inspired by popular science fiction. (RELATED: Full coverage of Newt Gingrich)
“Why not aspire to build a real Jurassic Park?” Gingrich asked on page 190 of the book, adding in parenthesis that such an achievement “may not be at all impossible.”
“Wouldn’t that be one of the spectacular accomplishments of human history?” he continued. “What if we could bring back extinct species?”
In fact, Gingrich argued in the book that we have quite a lot to learn from the works of authors like Arthur C. Clarke and Jules Verne, and despaired those contemporary storytellers like Michael Crichton didn’t have the imaginations necessary to inspire Americans.
“Somehow we must reintegrate the scientific with the popular and reconnect the future to the present,” he wrote. “This is less a job for scientists, engineers, bureaucrats, and administrators and more a job for novelists, moviemakers, popularizers, and politicians.”
Gingrich says that as a boy he was taught by science fiction to believe there was “a whole universe waiting to be learned and explored” and that, having grown older, he still believes “this positive vision of my childhood was the right one.”
However, by 1996 Gingrich thought that the space program had lost its “spirit of adventure” because of the pernicious influence of government bureaucrats. If they were to get out of the way and allow private space exploration, he wrote, private entrepreneurs could be given free reign to explore the heavens at a fraction of the cost.
We could also have sex in space.
“I believe that space tourism will be a common fact of life during the adulthood of children born this year, that honeymoons in space will be the vogue by 2020,” Gingrich wrote toward the end of the chapter. “Imagine weightlessness and its effects and you will understand some of the attractions.”
While proposing items like a permanent moon base make it clear that Gingrich is still intent on blurring the line between science fiction and government policy, there are some differences between the Newt of today and the one who wrote “To Renew America.” The book is dedicated to his ex-wife and current antagonist “Marianne, who made it all worthwhile.”