More gravity parallels. Weird.

I ran across this description of Alfonso Cuaron’s film, “Gravity,” which I had noted earlier had eerie similarities to the plot of my novel, “Gravity.” Here’s how the film is summarized according to “Scriptshadow”:

Everything that can go wrong does go wrong as the movie becomes a series of near death experiences. Ryan must jump from point to point – whether it be to a vessel, a station, or an oxygen tank – and survive long enough to make the journey to the next point after that (and so on). Each destination is accompanied by dangerous debris, dropping oxygen, and the strong chance that whatever she’s trying to get to might not be there. Think Apollo 13, but with the odds stacked 1 million times higher against you, if that’s possible.

Now here’s the eerie similarity. For years, when I’ve been giving lectures about my research for my books Gravity, I’ve used almost that exact same phrase. I used it again in a blogpost I wrote a year ago for the Maine Science Teachers Association:

I started off by months of reading — every book I could get my hands on about astronaut training, the history of NASA, the shuttle program, and aerospace medicine. I found children’s books surprisingly helpful — they often have great illustrations and they focus on just the oddball things I wanted to know, such as how do those toilets in space work? I was also able to pull tons of information off the NASA website. I downloaded blueprints of the space station (which hadn’t even been launched yet.) And I downloaded close to 1,000 highly technical pages from their shuttle flight manual. (After 9/11, however, many of these pages were removed from their website.) I became familiar with how missions are supposed to work in space.

But I didn’t know how things might go wrong. And the theme of GRAVITY is “Titanic in space” — in this story, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. I needed to find out how to make those disasters happen. Clearly, it was time to visit NASA.

Has Cuaron been following me around?

7 replies
  1. cschmit1
    cschmit1 says:


    I know that the bizarre coincidences would make me feel slightly paranoid and quite frankly a bit concerned based on your previous post – though “Everything that can go wrong does go wrong” you highlight is just Murphy’s Law. Or approximately Murphy’s Law. I ultimately suspect and believe that the movie’s research is probably not on par with your work or perhaps they’re research involved reading your book?!? I guess it is difficult to separate the two unless there was like a written note explicitly stating that it had nothing to do with the novel. Good luck with this mystery.


  2. Verity
    Verity says:

    I am half way through your GRAVITY right now. I enjoyed HARVEST and LIFE SUPPORT. I have never been a fan of science fiction but GRAVITY has caught my interest.

    Speaking of LIFE SUPPORT, have you seen NEVER LET ME GO based on the book by Ishiguro? It reminded me of LIFE SUPPORT.

    I am so glad the early books were put on Kindle.

  3. Tess
    Tess says:

    some themes do seem to have universal resonance. And one of them is our exploitation of other human beings, which is what HARVEST and NEVER LET ME GO have in common.

  4. Jenna
    Jenna says:


    I am not so sure that they have been following you around. That conversation that you had said you had partaken in, in your last blog about this subject sounds worked with someone who had some of your information, they knew something about your books..then in turn worked with this current director/producers etc, and passed along in conversation some of what you two had previously talked about. In turn the ideas planted in his mind from you, leaked out into the mind of someone else. Now you have this movie that not only is sounding more and more similar to your story, it very well could be based off of it. This to me really doesn’t sound right. If they are going to make a movie, like your story, you should be given some mention. It’s a big mystery, that I hope gets worked out. Your books, would make some interesting movies, or like the new show Tv. Congrats on that btw. I hope you figure the mystery out, I know as a amatuer writer myself this would not only baffle me but drive me crazy. 🙂


  5. Dustin
    Dustin says:

    Hey Tess,
    Those are some interesting similarities. I do remember that Gravity (the novel 🙂 was pretty intense – I listened to it as an audiobook about 4-5 years ago and will probably re-red it sometime. I might have to check out those Films/Books that have been mentioned and see if I pick up on the similarities in them too. Personally, I see your writing as Patricia Cornwell meets Robin Cook, not that I’m saying you’re following them around of course 🙂 because I also think your books are rather unique.
    btw this Jenna who posted right before me is now Co-Moderator of the Tess Gerritsen Fans Group on – hope you’ll come visit us again when you have the chance. Just wondering – can we plan on a new release from you in 2011?

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