Review – A Fall of Moondust

Posted July 14, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. ClarkeA Fall of Moondust, Arthur C. Clarke

Before there was The Martian (and indeed, before Apollo 13), there was A Fall of Moondust. I don’t know if the one influenced the other, but the feel is very much the same: people are stranded in a situation in space in which there are problems of communication, air, sanity, etc. (The exact same situations don’t come up, but the same basic problems apply, as of course they would.) I’m not sure how feasible the science of the Sea of Thirst is, but Clarke makes it work within the story, and as far as I can tell follows all his conclusions through logically — x causes y in the way it should, etc.

Unlike The Martian, a whole group of people are trapped and so it goes into the psychology of that kind of situation; the sniping, the attempts to keep harmony, the struggles for control. For the most part it all feels fairly mild — somehow I never really doubted that they would survive and be saved — but the steps of problem solving are interesting, and the glimpses of character and the way people come together for an issue like this. And the atmosphere of the moon, the eeriness of the dusty expanses and the vastness of space, that is all brought across well too.

It’s quite a short book, and maybe there’s not as much character engagement as in a modern work like The Martian, but I enjoyed it.

Rating: 4/5

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