It’s literally a once in a lifetime experience. The blotting out of the sun. A total solar eclipse.
While total solar eclipses do occur every year or two, they can’t usually be seen by people in places like North America, where I live. However, this coming Monday, August 21, the solar eclipse will cut across the entire United States. The last time this happened was 1918.
My state won’t be in the “path of totality.” I live in Northern Virginia and the closest state to see the full eclipse would be many hours away in South Carolina. Still even from Canada to the top of South America, people will see at least a partial eclipse and that is a big deal, not something any of us have seen before or likely will again in our lifetimes.
Although we’re not attending an “eclipse party,” which is all the rage, my family and I did purchase the eclipse glasses and will venture out to see an eerie sight of night descending in the middle of the day when the moon passes between Earth and the sun and blots out all the sunlight.
In honor of this unique event or to get even more excited for it, I thought it might be fun to make a list of 5 books and films featuring a solar eclipse.
5. BOOK: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
I know. I know. The Twilight series is so passé and in my opinion this book is the weakest of the series. Still, Meyer uses the metaphor of an eclipse to reflect Jacob’s overshadowing of Bella’s love for Edward. It’s a pretty decent metaphor and since it might be the most famous book called “Eclipse” that currently exists, I think it’s worth being on the list.
What’s it about? (In case you somehow don’t know.) As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob — knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death.
4. Movie: The Seventh Sign
If you like a good scare, the Seventh Sign, which includes a solar eclipse that will make you shiver.
What’s it about? Around the world, unusual phenomena are occurring that bear resemblance to signs of the Biblical apocalypse; these include a mass death of sea life and a devastating freeze, and at each of these locations, a mysterious traveler opens a sealed envelope just prior to the event taking place. The Vatican tasks Father Lucci with investigating these events, though Lucci advises that they are all either hoaxes or have other explanations.
On the other side of the world, in the US, Abby Quinn, a young pregnant woman, discovers that she and her unborn child play a terrifying part in the chain of events destined to end the world.
3. Book: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Did you know an eclipse features prominently in Twain’s famous novel? In fact, it’s a solar eclipse that saves Hank (the Yankee) from burning at the stake.
What’s it about? A Yankee engineer from Connecticut is accidentally transported back in time to the court of King Arthur, where he fools the inhabitants of that time into thinking that he is a magician, and soon uses his knowledge of modern technology to become a “magician” in earnest, stunning the English of the Early Middle Ages with such feats as demolitions, fireworks, and the shoring up of a holy well. He attempts to modernize the past, but in the end he is unable to prevent the death of Arthur and an interdict against him by the Catholic Church of the time, which grows fearful of his power.
2. Book: Nightfall by Isaac Asimov
This science fiction “novelette” by famed author writer Isaac Asimov features an eclipse that leads to a societal collapse.
What’s it about? The fictional planet Lagash is located in a stellar system containing six suns, which keep the whole planet continuously illuminated; total darkness is unknown, and as a result, so are all the stars outside the planet’s stellar system. However, after a series of scientific discoveries that every 2000 years darkness descends on the planet (an eclipse) and causes a societal collapse (presumably because the people have never known darkness and go a little crazy.) The scientists set off trying to stop history from repeating itself.
1. MOVIE: Fantasia
This famous Disney cartoon movie includes an eclipse as part of the The Rite of Spring segment, fourth and longest segment in Fantasia, which focuses on the Big Bang and the Dinosaur age.
What’s it about? Well, explaining what Fantasia itself is about is a bit difficult. In terms of the eclipse though, this happens toward the end of the piece. Just as the moon begins to form an eclipse with the sun, an earthquake suddenly erupts, wiping the dinosaur bones away. The wind then blows a storm and the sea inland, the lowland and everything around become completely flooded, and everything goes silent once again. At the end, when the eclipse is complete, you see it set over the only piece of land, overlooking a now endless sea.
If you hurry, you can read or watch some of these pieces even before the eclipse happens!!