Follow TV Tropes


Literature / The Cassandra Project

Go To
The Cassandra Project is an(other) Ancient Astronauts book by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick, based on a short story of the same name written in 2010.

Fifty years since Apollo XI's "One Small Steps for a Man"note  and approximately sixty-one years after NASA's inception, Jerry Culpepper, the head of NASA's Public Affair Office department, received a surprise during the press conference on that day: the tape that was supposed to play Neil Armstrong's speech was switched to a guy named Myshko getting ready to land on the lunar surface. Naturally, this attracted drama from the press and a very rich person named Morgan (Bucky) Blackstone who owns a private space company. Morgan intends to dig deeper - after all, he started the space company just to give a middle finger to NASA - using every single resource, even landing on the moon. That resource pile includes Jerry, who at first turn down the offer but later accept it after getting harassed by the media and NASA's administrator Mary Gridley after finding out about a secret project known as the Cassandra Project. And thus the adventure begins!

Compare/contrast Deception Point.

Tropes includes:

  • Author Filibuster: As with most literature after the successful flight of SpaceShipOne, the book took an NASA-should-be-abolished stand.
    Morgan Blackstone:"I'm a capitalist. I think it's a shame that we ever needed NASA in the first place."
    • Anarchy is NOT chaos, the government is BAD.
    • If humanity does not explore space, they will go extinct before they knew it.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The real plate reveal that Jesus is an alien.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: Mary will shame others to save her ass.
  • Curse Cut Short: Averted in some chapters, played straight in others. The book is by two different authors, you see...
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Morgan decide not to reveal the actual content of the alien plate. George Cunningham didn't post FAA regulation to Morgan's flight. Mary allowed Morgan to enter Marshall Space Flight Center.
  • Government Conspiracy: Watergate is not what is written on history books. Rather, it's an attempted to keep others from receiving a transcript of the alien plates without others to even know such plate's existence. Morgan himself believe in other government conspiracies, been an anarchist himself.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: NASA's budget is sliced to almost zero point zero and zero percent, with a budget cut bill in the House. Its headquarter was relocated to Cape Canaveral as to severe its connection to D.C. The head of the agency is a Jerkass who only cares about her paycheck from the president (a.k.a. keeping NASA alive). The only reason NASA is alive it is because defunding it means thousands of contractors employed under its pork projects (SLS) suddenly lose their job and unhappy voters. Marshall Space Flight Center is now a museum. JWST is defunded with public's approval.
  • Historical Domain Character: Eugenio Martínez gave his account of what actually happened during Watergate.
  • Jerkass: Mary Grindley and Milicent Vanguard. Is not hard to guess what the authors think of their real life counterpart.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Morgan is a carbon copy of Elon Musk, except maybe the porn part.
    • President George Cunningham is Obama with socialism ideals, like that conspiracy theory.
    • Millicent Vanguard is Stephenie Meyer.
    • Mary Gridley is Lory Garver.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Averted, Friends of NASA is a real community. Except they are an international community.
  • Only in It for the Money: Jerry have to take a job in a publishing company since he ran out of money after he ragequit PAO. He did some editing, found an amusing manuscript about the space program, only getting it turn down because it won't sell well, contrast to another horrible written paranormal romance series. He rage quitted again.
  • Running Gag: Bucky "firing" his staff.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous. There is one on Enterprise, Casablanca, Moriarty, many classical musicians, and even that infamous series!
  • Space Amish: the aliens are first hinted to be of this kind, but later it's reveal that it is just a falsified claim to stop the Cold War. Or try to.
  • Stealth Pun: Sending NASA to Pluto = defunding NASA completely, as Pluto is the god of Death.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Jerry was raised to second in command of Blackstone Enterprise.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: So, in the end of The New '10s, we are supposed to have (with most on its way to real life):
    • Skype taking over the usage of telephone.
    • U.S. more in debt with a higher unemployment rate in comparison to the Obama administration.
    • The War on Terror got more intense, with chaos spread to other parts of Africa.
    • Politicians finally recognize overpopulation as an issue.
    • Global warming debunked.
    • More exoplanets in the Goldilocks zone with a habitable atmosphere.
    • A complete ban of nuclear weapons signed by ALL sovereign states in 2018 at Hiroshima.
    • Obama getting a second term note and replace Charlie Bolden with an yes-man named Stephen Goldman.
    • Sun is proven to be a binary star system.
    • public completely withdraw support for NASA. NASA doing nothing, nothing at all, beside hosting Glory Days parties. JWST was defunded. Curiosity is still there. SLS is hinted to be still drawing federal funding.
    • It is hinted that Gun control is no longer a flaming topic among a majority of Americans, with major shooting incidents such as the Tucson shooting forgotten.
    • Group marriage is legalized in California.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The book automatically assume the reader knows what happened during the Watergate Scandal, reads NASA Watch from time to time, and cares about the Arab Spring.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jerry never remembered Barbara, who was Jerry's assistance for his entire time at PAO, after he leaves PAO. Not even a mention. Vanessa, Jerry's backup, got mentioned in about two lines in the novel. Jerry's ex-girlfriend got one chapter and forgotten.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: The same guy that publishes an underground porn magazine is now an anarchist billionaire who scammed a few Middle East governments for the lulz and is now kicking the U.S. government's ass.