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Adrift on the Sea of Rains (Apollo Quartet Book 1)

Adrift on the Sea of Rains (Apollo Quartet Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Ian Sales
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"one of the most outstanding self-published books of the year" --The Guardian

"scrupulously researched, written with an expert blend of technical precision, descriptive vividness and emotional penetration" --Adam Roberts

"this is probably the best piece of science fiction I've read so far this year" --Lavie Tidhar

"scrupulously researched, written with an expert blend of technical precision, descriptive vividness and emotional penetration" --Adam Roberts

"this is probably the best piece of science fiction I've read so far this year" --Lavie Tidhar

Product Description

WINNER OF THE BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION AWARD. A nuclear war has killed everyone on Earth, leaving stranded on the Moon nine astronauts at Falcon Base. With them they have a "torsion field generator", a mysterious device which they hope will find them an alternate Earth which has not succumbed to nuclear armageddon. But once they've found such an Earth, how will they make the trip home? They have one Lunar Module, and that can only carry four astronauts to lunar orbit...

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 208 KB
  • Print Length: 75 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Whippleshield Books (26 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Y4CWZG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #124,232 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ian Sales was only three when Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, but he didn't see it on television because he grew up in the Middle East. He lived in Qatar, Oman, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, before returning to the UK for schooling, spending only the holidays abroad. After graduating from university, he returned to Abu Dhabi to work - first for the Higher Colleges of Technology, and then for a national oil company. He came back to the UK in 2002 and settled in Yorkshire, where he now works as a database administrator for an ISP.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be an astronaut! 6 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I read this book a few months ago and was captivated by the wonderful details and use of language. The descriptions of procedures and technology were so good, I felt I was actually there. Being an avid space junkie, I watch documentaries all the time and I got the feeling that Ian Sales was either an astronaut himself or worked in NASA, his descriptions were so very good.

The whole story revolved around a small lunar base and the people on it and what they did as they watched the Earth die.

I found this story incredibly detailed and believable. The details did not mask the story nor make it too wordy, they added a depth and colour to the story that made it real for me.

I cannot wait for the next books!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
'Adrift on the Sea of Rains' is the first in a four-novella series of alternate reality hard science fiction stories by British writer, anthologist and reviewer Ian Sales.

This first volume of the Apollo Quartet tells the story of Colonel Vance Peterson and his crew, condemned to a slow, lingering death on a US Moonbase after nuclear war obliterates all life on Earth. Their one hope is 'The Bell', a piece of Nazi-era technology that is able to throw them into parallel universes. If they can jump to a parallel timeline that precedes the nuclear exchange, perhaps they will be able to look up at an Earth that is a living blue once more? But can they survive the endless tedium and an almost total breakdown in the relationships between the astronauts while they're waiting?

This is definitely a novella for the hard SF fan. It is well researched and stuffed full of Apollo-era terminology - so much so that the book includes a list of acronyms and a glossary, explaining not just what the APS (Ascent Propulsion System) is, for example, but also the launch schedule of the real and imagined Apollo missions that created the Moonbase which Colonel Peterson commands.

Sales is adept at switching between detailed descriptions of the technical equipment that keeps these few remaining humans alive in the hostile environment of the Moon's surface and haunting evocations of the emptiness of their daily routines, carried out in the increasingly vain hope that the mysterious Bell machine will rescue them from despair. You can almost taste the claustrophobia.

Colonel Peterson comes across as a man who is barely holding himself together in the face of their likely fate.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A stretch too far 27 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a relatively easy read, and is quite short, not bad to occupy some time without requiring too much thought. There is a fair amount of technical jargon, to the extent that a glossary is included, though that didn't detract from the narrative for me, though I'm one of those geeky people who lived through the Apollo programme as a schoolboy and soaked this all up back then - it may be offputting to someone new to this. It's really an Apollo 'fan-fiction' novel of an alternative future timeline when the programme wasn't cancelled, when there was a 3rd World War, and there was some incredible Nazi technology to give the few remaining survivors hope. Personally I think the stretch is too big to accept when it comes to 'secret Nazi technology', and jarred with the otherwise meticulous attention to technical detail. If Dr Who had come strolling across the moon with sonic screwdriver in hand I wouldn't have been surprised.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Too real to be alternative history 23 Sep 2014
I have a problem sometimes with alternative histories, in that they tend towards extremes. It’s natural. Authors try to show why its good the Axis powers lost or bad the native Americans did. But the exaggerations can overwhelm. This is not one of those times. The seams here are so tight someone reading ‘Adrift’ 80 years from now will be double-checking their history. One of the ways Ian achieves this is through craft. This book reads like a story from the actual time (a time that doesn’t exist, but, you know, if it did) akin to reading James Michener’s Space had things unfolded differently. (It is thankfully much shorter and, the writing a little more to my liking.) It is also more taught. The tension that propels this story is not over-the-top, Hollywood style. No robots and laser rifles. It is the kind of tension that exists in the real world, making this one feel that much more authentic. Loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Science Fiction We Should Have Had 5 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
An excellent read from cover to cover. And reading Adrift on the Seas of Rains in its entirety is necessary, if one wishes to experience the full richness of the novella. Sparse prose, rich imagination, and a story that is contained as much in the clever appendixes as in the titular story - taken as a whole this is a breath of fresh oxygen pumped into a fatally stale environment.

With only a handful of fiction commercially available, Ian Sales is proving to be a unique voice in science fiction, whose work harkens back to a science fiction we were promised, but never delivered.

By this I don't mean a bloated space opera or the cumbersome work of some of the seminal authors, for both good and bad, that established science fiction as a genre separate from the wider fantasies of pulp fiction. Rather, this is lean hard-science fiction that ties our greatest current achievements in space exploration, to a guardedly hopeful, future.

Not one to be missed and a writer not to be overlooked.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars ok, promising start but...
Promising start and love the initial idea but the ending feels rushed and poorly handled.
Published 29 days ago by P. Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and rewarding. Unusually well-done "hard" science fiction
Sales has produced a clever little novella that mixes all technical detail beloved of "hard" science fiction fans with smart, character driven storytelling. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mac
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet.....
An interesting read with some good ideas. Well written and an unexpected ending. An original SF story. An enjoyable way to spend an hour or so....
Published 5 months ago by Sub-o
4.0 out of 5 stars Glorifying the details where salvation lies
Ian Sales' Apollo Quartet is an unabashed glorification of the heydays of NASA infused with speculative science fiction. Read more
Published 6 months ago by 2theD
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent, Exciting Piece of Science Fiction
To start with this is not the normal type of book that I would choose to read, and it is not a full length, rather a novella. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Perpetual Man
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic story with an amazing backdrop!
A great SciFi story!

From the outset we find ourselves in the moon, as good as captive, staring at a death earth... when are we? How will we leave the moon? Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad what if
Great story that evokes a strong feeling of what might have been. Also manages to convey in few words the desperation and feelings of futility the astronauts feel. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Mr Lee R Werrin
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best SF books of the year. Just need to know where to get...
I bought this book because of a review in Interzone magazine, the problem I found is getting hold of it. Read more
Published on 23 Oct 2012 by P. D. Ackerman
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