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By J. Rhoderick on 04-15-10
A quick, fun read that entertains as it teaches
A Fall of Moondust is sci-fi disaster story that begins by placing a group of people in an impossible situation and follows along as they attempt to survive while awaiting rescue. It is a lot like the popular Discovery Channel show "I Shouldn't Be Alive," or stories like those depicted in the movie "Alive," although much less dark. Clarke's story is unique because of its setting. The Moon, and space is general, is harsh. Life is not suited to its extremes and the challenges we encounter there are vastly different from those we face here on Earth. As with Clarke's other stories, and as is common in disaster stories, the characters here are participants in the story rather than the focus of it. The real star of the show is the Moon and perhaps even the deadly moondust itself.
A Fall of Moondust was published in 1961 and it sometimes shows. The social mores reflect the time period and there is an obvious lack of computers, as if the 1950s had progressed into the 21st century without any further advances in computing technology. Regardless, Clarke certainly foresaw the future, and this novel is probably more relevant today than it has ever been before. With the recent discovery of water on the Moon and with NASA's plan to establish a lunar outpost there, the Moon may soon become a staging point for exploring the solar system and, yes, even a tourist destination. My biggest gripe with this story is that it wraps up a bit too quickly at the end. Many of the characters simply disappear and I didn't feel as if I was ready for the end. The narrator was quite good. His cadence and intonation were perfect and foreign accents were well done.
A Fall of Moondust is a simple story and, while it may not be Clarke's best novel, it is a quick, fun read that entertains as it teaches. It is essential reading for Clarke fans and for anyone who enjoys settings in space. Soon enough, we may find this setting more real than Clarke could have imagined in the 60s.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Jim "The Impatient" on 12-03-11
Old Fashioned Science Fiction
No aliens in this one. No ancient artifacts.
This is as if we actually had people living on the Moon. There is nothing far fetched about it. You actually feel like we could live on other planets. In this story we see what that would take. AC takes no easy ways out. It is a fast paced story with chapters that end with teasers. It totally captured my attention.
No one writes science fiction like this these days. Bova and Baxter come close. It is probably harder to write stuff that could be true, that is well researched then to make up stuff. AC keeps you entertained without the bells and whistles of modern day authors. There is no character development here. There is a small attempt at romance, but it is basically science and at eight hours it is the right size.
A couple of small problems, like the first time the boat sinks it stays horizontal (what are the chances of that?). And we never hear how bad it must smell in a enclosed area with lots of people for days and no shower. And I am pretty sure there is no dust deep enough for a boat to sink in, but ??
If you like science fiction with lots of science then you will love this book. It is also a great adventure.
17 of 20 people found this review helpful