Quite clearly the disaster story that Irwin Allen didn’t have the money to make, Arthur C. Clarke’s A Fall of Moondust is a fairly economical tail of a group of lunar pleasure cruisers trapped under tons of suffocating dust after a freak Moonquake tears a gaping hole in the landscape.
Of course, all the usual ‘disaster flick’ elements are here in force: the victims vacillate between heroic stoicism, paranoia and absolute hysteria; whilst above the surface a plethora of super-brained scientists and square-jawed heroes combine forces to first locate, and then rescue the hapless day-trippers (who presumably have too much money to spend).
As is the case with most Arthur C. Clarke novels, A Fall of Moondust’s characterisation finishes a distant second to the evocation of ‘grandiose spectacle’. And it is in author’s remarkable descriptions of an arid, airless landscape that we find the true star of the book: the moon itself.
Quite frankly, I lost interest in the fate of the victims early on, instead I found myself pleading for more and more Moon imagery.
Almost certainly not one of Clarke’s best, but interesting nevertheless; its un-taxing approach makes it an ideal distraction for one of those depressingly long train journeys.