Space history author Jeffrey Kluger launches virtual tour for sci-fi thriller 'Holdout'

"Holdout" by best-selling author Jeffrey Kluger will be released Aug. 3, 2021.
"Holdout" by best-selling author Jeffrey Kluger will be released Aug. 3, 2021. (Image credit: Dutton)

Best-selling writer Jeffrey Kluger, author of "Apollo 13" with astronaut James Lovell, will launch a virtual tour Tuesday (June 1) to promote his first fiction book, "Holdout."

The book, which will be released Aug. 3 by Dutton (an imprint of Penguin Random House), follows the fictional character Walli Beckwith, a "celebrated astronaut" who works to raise environmental awareness during a mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

"The Amazon rainforest is burning and its Indigenous people are being exterminated— and the Brazilian government (and any governments standing by) are to blame," Dutton said in a plot description. "With Beckwith's niece somewhere in the flames that she watches grow every day from her commandeered ISS, and the entire world watching, Beckwith may be the one person who can force the hand of the American president and inspire … collective global action to help the people hundreds of miles below her."

"Holdout" author Jeffrey Kluger.

"Holdout" author Jeffrey Kluger. (Image credit: Dutton)

The "Holdout" book tour, held virtually due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic quarantine restrictions, will "visit" three locations in August and include astronaut conversations at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Commonwealth Club of California. 

Kluger is editor-at-large at Time magazine, overseeing science and technology reporting. He is the author of several books, including a few on space exploration. 

"Having covered the history, the science, and the nonfiction sweep of space for so much of my career, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to tap into that background and spin a tale of pure imagination," Kluger told "'Holdout' is a work of fiction, but its roots are sunk deep in fact. Writing this book was an act of joy and, frankly, just plain fun."

The virtual book tour dates for "Holdout," the first fiction book by best-selling author Jeffrey Kluger. (Image credit: Dutton)

Here are the details known so far; exact website links and event platforms will be released closer to the date on social media and here at

Aug. 3, 7 p.m. EDT (4 p.m. PDT or 2300 GMT): Intrepid Museum, with retired NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, who is now a professor at Columbia University.

Aug. 4, 6:45 p.m. EDT (3:45 p.m. PDT or 2245 GMT): The Smithsonian Institution, with retired NASA astronaut Marsha Ivins, who is now an independent engineering consultant.

Aug. 5, 6 p.m. EDT (3 p.m. EDT or 2200 GMT): The Commonwealth Club, with retired NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, who is now an artist and co-founder of the Space for Art Foundation.

Kluger's most famous space book is "Apollo 13" (first known as "Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13" with Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994). The co-authored semi-biographical book with mission astronaut Jim Lovell inspired the 1995 Hollywood film "Apollo 13," starring Tom Hanks. Kluger's most recent space book before "Holdout" is "Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon" (Henry Holt, 2017).

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: