A bird’s-eye view: Orbital, by Samantha Harvey, reviewed

This slender, gleaming novel depicts a day in the life of six astronauts at the International Space Station – but a day isn’t a day for a crew orbiting Earth at more than 17,000 miles an hour. Space ‘takes their 24 hours and throws 16 days and nights at them in return’. Weaving a line of philosophical enquiry through her luminous prose has become something of a trademark for Samantha Harvey, who probed the elasticity of time through a portrayal of Alzheimer’s disease in her prize-winning debut The Wilderness and, in All is Song, transported Socrates to the 21st century. In Orbital, her sixth book, she explores time again, especially

Two hours of kitsch tomfoolery: Amélie at the Criterion reviewed

The latest movie to turn into a musical is Amélie, from 2001, about a Parisian do-gooder or ‘godmother of the unloved’. Some rate Amélie as the worst film ever made in France. Some consider it the worst film ever made. Our heroine is a 20-year-old waitress, a sort of proto-Greta, who plays truant from her restaurant job and wanders around Paris doing nice things to random strangers. Her inspiration is a box hidden by a child in her apartment 40 years earlier which she wants to restore to its original owner. Or, as the clunky narrator puts it, ‘Why is she holding that box like her future is inside it?’

Life on Earth is too tame for eccentric American billionaires

For many of us, Elon Musk is a hard man to like. He’s the richest man in the world (or second richest, as he and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos whirr back and forth in top spot), but acts online like a bratty teenager astonished by his own intelligence. He proposes underground tunnel networks as a transport solution for Miami (which is a swamp less than 10ft above sea level), moots takeovers of his companies with 420-themed weed jokes and hypes cryptocurrencies. Yet as you read Liftoff you can see what so many people find to admire in the man — at least for a while. The story of SpaceX’s early